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Champions League Recap: Villarreal the better team in first leg draw with Juventus

The visitors scored early through Vlahovic but then created little else all night.

Villarreal CF v Juventus: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Well, that was QUITE a football match. Like all of you, I’m sure, I felt an absolutely absurd amount of dread when Vlahovic put Juventus ahead in the very first minute of the match. I don’t really know that too much could have been done differently by the men marking him or by the keeper, he just collected the ball really well, turned, and fired.

Villarreal didn’t panic, though, and showed the sort of composure they’ve had over the entirety of Unai Emery’s reign when playing in European competition. Albiol, with all his experience, adjusted quickly to Vlahovic and the striker only got off one more decent attempt all night.

There were early chances for Villarreal, with Lo Celso hitting the post and Danjuma nearly pulling off an incredible backheel, and though Pedraza had a good match overall he had two different cutbacks that were behind his target that should have been much better and could have led to more goals.

Ultimately, it was Dani Parejo who slipped in behind the Juve defense after a turnover created by Capoue. The Frenchman then sent a ball over the top and Parejo was completely unmarked as he leveled the score.

We continued to create the better chances after that, and Juventus clearly just wanted to get out of there and go home, wasting time and diving whenever possible. Alvaro Morata clearly has no self respect after that performance.

Two big moments in the second half will likely impact the second leg. First, Rabiot got away with only a yellow for a foul on Chukwueze that was an obvious red, a play that once again underlined how much of a farce the existence of VAR is in its current iteration. Then, later, Weston McKennie badly twisted his ankle and if he’s out that will be a massive second leg blow for an already wounded Juventus side.

We’re better than this team, we outplayed them today, and I have confidence in our ability to get things done in the second leg.