Juventus traveled to Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night looking to qualify for the next round of the UEFA Champions League by eliminating Tottenham, and sure enough they pulled it off.
The Bianconeri did not look good in the first half and it was the Spurs who struck first. However, a short window of just three minutes saw ‘the Old Lady’ score two goals in the second half in order to qualify for the quarterfinals. Let’s examine Juve’s player ratings.
Gianluigi Buffon (6): The leader of this Juve team made a couple of really important saves in the first half. Tottenham could have had more than one goal in this match. The goal he did concede was due to a premature dive in the box expecting Christian Eriksen to shoot. However, Gigi did what he had to do in order to hold the lethal Spurs attack to one goal.
Andrea Barzagli (6): The home side really targeted Barzagli’s side of the pitch through Son Heung-min. The veteran couldn’t keep up and Son was eventually left open for the Spurs’ lone goal of the match. Barzagli didn’t get burned as much in the second half once he switched back to the center-back position. The Italian made the all-important goal line clearance on Harry Kane’s header in the closing minutes of the match.
Medhi Benatia (5): Benatia did not have his best performance in a Juventus shirt this season. The defender seemed late in some instances in the first half and he wasn’t too sharp on the ball. Benatia also received a yellow, so he will be suspended for the next match.
Giorgio Chiellini (5.5): Chiellini struggled against Kane in the first half. The English striker almost made Chiellini pay after getting by him and shooting wide on an open net. However, the defender did better after picking up a yellow at the beginning of the second half.
Alex Sandro (6): The Spurs attack didn’t really target Sandro’s side for the most part of the match. The Brazilian didn’t do much in the first half like the rest of his club. However, he improved in the second 45.
Sami Khedira (5.5): The German midfielder had a rough first half as did his teammates. However, Khedira played better in the second half after Juve returned to a 4-2-3-1. The 30-year-old picked up the assist on Gonzalo Higuain’s game-tying goal.
Miralem Pjanic (5): The Bosnian international did not play the sharpest of games today. Juve looked to him to play out of the Spurs’ pressing. Pjanic picked up a yellow, which will cause him to miss the next Champions League match.
Blaise Matuidi (5.5): Matuidi had some shaky first-touches in the midfield tonight, but the effort was there. He ran all over the pitch and tried to interfere with Tottenham’s surging midfield.
Douglas Costa (6.5): Costa can easily be labeled as one of Juve’s best players of the game. Even in the first half when Tottenham was dominating, Costa appeared dangerous. The Brazilian constantly tried to dribble past Spurs defenders on the wing and create moving forward. Costa’s havoc almost drew a penalty in the first half, which would have possibly changed the game.
Gonzalo Higuain (7.5): The service to Higuain was nonexistent until the second half tonight, but when his teammates found him, the match changed. The striker poked in the game-tying goal before finding Dybala three minutes later to set up the game-winner. A goal and an assist in an important window of opportunity for Juventus.
Paulo Dybala (7.5): Once again, Dybala proved to be decisive. The Argentinian didn’t have an abundance of touches on the ball tonight, but when he did, they often caused trouble. The youngster scored the winning goal in a one-on-one with Hugo Lloris. Another exquisite finish.
Kwadwo Asamoah (6.5): Asamoah entered the match in the 60th minute in place of Matuidi. The change helped instantly as Costa moved up more in the attack and the midfielder did his job.
Stephan Lichtsteiner (6.5): Lichtsteiner came on in the 61st minute for Benatia and seemingly changed the game on the flank. His substitution allowed for Juve to play with a natural fullback and Allegri was able to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation. The change allowed Juve to draw out the Spurs and it was his cross into the box that resulted in Higuain’s goal.
Stefano Sturaro (N.A): Sturaro replaced Higuain in the 83rd minute. The midfielder didn’t have enough playing time to warrant a rating.
Massimiliano Allegri (7.0): Allegri made the right substitutions after a terrible first half. Lichtsteiner changed the game, allowing for a switch to a 4231 formation. After that adjustment, two goals came in three minutes of each other, Juventus locked it down in the back and the ticket was punched into the quarterfinals.