Five Takeaways from European Action: Juve’s Demise, Leao’s Class

For the second week in a row, the Seven Sisters of Calcio had midweek appointments in Europe, and the outcome was mixed between thrill and agony. In the most prestigious competition in club football, three Italian clubs emerged victorious in the Champions League, while the fourth suffered a devastating defeat. The capital sides once again had contrasting results in the Europa League, but with the roles reversing this time around. So here are five takeaways from the action of the second matchday of European competitions.

Top Class Leao

Following his exploits last season, Rafael Leao cemented himself as the MVP of the Italian league. But outside Serie A, his reputation remained relatively humble, despite some approaches from the likes of PSG and Chelsea.

Nonetheless, the Portuguese is now displaying his prowess at the continental scene, leading Milan towards an important victory over the resilient Dinamo Zagreb. While he didn’t score himself, he earned the spot kick that resulted in the first goal and set up Alexis Saelemaekers with a fabulous assist for the second.

The Rossoneri faithfuls will be hoping of more of the same against bigger European opposition.

On Another Low

While Inter, Milan and Napoli all collected wins on Matchday Two, Juventus fans were left to wonder whether their club has officially hit rock bottom or is there another low left.

The Bianconeri’s chances of reaching the knockout stages are now hanging by a thin thread after a home defeat to Benfica who are now six points ahead of the Italians. This latest defeat is the latest example of the Old Lady’s fall from grace in the space of a few years.

What a sad demise.

Not There Yet

Kudos to Napoli who collected another Champions League win, this time at the expense of Rangers on Scottish soil. The Partenopei are now sitting on top of their group with six points and +6 goal difference. A perfect start indeed.

However, we must remember that the southerners are the holders of an unwanted group stage record: Napoli is the only club in the competition’s history to get eliminated after collecting a haul of 12 points.

Therefore, this should act as a stern reminder for Luciano Spalletti’s men who mustn’t put their guard down, especially with two crucial double encounters against Ajax coming up. After all, the Dutch are only three points behind.

Trouble in the Capital

For one reason or another, Serie A clubs have a knack for collapsing in European fixtures against barely recognizable opponents. Remember Roma against Bodo/Glimt last season?

Well, their arch rivals pulled off their own version of the embarrassing act by collapsing to a 5-1 defeat at the hands of another Scandinavian host.

Despite playing almost their best formation, Lazio looked unrecognizable against Midtjylland. But the most worrying aspect in the whole debacle might just be Maurizio Sarri’s post-match comments.

The former Napoli and Juventus manager accused his players of being arrogant, while even tacitly threatening to quit the club.

So much for a boring Thursday night!

Viola Out of Depth

After settling for an opening matchday draw at home, Fiorentina were comprehensively beaten by Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in what was a mostly-uninspiring encounter.

At this point, it appears that the Tuscans are out of their depth while competing on two different fronts. They’re also consuming their energy in Europe, which is taking its toll on their domestic form.

At the end of the previous campaign, the Viola were ecstatic after sealing a spot in the Conference League, but it appears that Atalanta remain significantly more equipped for the job.

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football