The Italian giants Juventus FC were stunned by the current UEFA Europa League Champions in the Champions League Round of 16. Villareal beat them 3-0 in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals with a 4-1 victory on aggregate.
With three different coaches in three seasons, the result remains the same for Juventus, three straight eliminations at home in the Champions League round of 16. Villarreal reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.
Things were going in a calm mood till the 75th minute. But after that, it was a smash in the head for the Juventus players when Villareal changed the gear. All three goals came in the second half.
“For 75 minutes the squad did well,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Then a single episode changed the match. These things happen in soccer and we have to accept this heavy loss,” he added.
“I knew that people would talk about a failure in case of elimination, but that’s intellectual dishonesty,” Allegri angrily told reporters when questioned about Juve’s campaign.
“We are disappointed and we’ll make our assessments to improve the team. We do that every year. We also need to be realists. There are 10 teams in Europe superior to Juventus. It’s no shame, it’s a fact.”
The Bianconeri were eliminated by Lyon and Porto at Allianz Stadium the last two years under Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo, respectively. With Massimiliano Allegri having returned as coach this season, the trend was expected to be broken.
But after a solid first half, Juventus was broken down midway through the second half. The penalty was awarded after a VAR ruling determined that Juventus defender Daniele Rugani fouled Francis Coquelin.
Villarreal manager Unai Emery has also progressed from a tie in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time, having previously been eliminated in the last 16 in each of his three attempts, with Valencia in 2010 11 and PSG in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Gerard Moreno opened the scoring in the 78th minute through a penalty. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has saved three straight penalties in Serie A and got his gloves on Moreno’s kick but couldn’t stop it. “We’re here at Juve’s stadium, we were always going to suffer,” Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli said.
“We defended incredibly and we have to applaud that. We’re happy to still be in the competition.” Torres netted from close range in the 85th after a corner was flicked on. Then a handball from Matthijs de Ligt in stoppage time set up Danjuma’s spot kick.
“That’s the script. We wanted to make it a long game for them,” Torres said. “We had a number of important lads on the bench and Gerard changed the side completely when he came on because he’s a top player.”