Juventus vs Villarreal 0-3: There Is Just No End to Juve UCL Woes

The curse will last one more year. Juventus crashed out of the Champions League Round of 16 once again – for the third year in a row. They did so in the worst possible way, humiliated by a Villarreal side that took advantage of a Gerard Moreno spot-kick before hitting the dazed Bianconeri twice more with Pau Torres and then with a second penalty from Arnaut Danjuma.

It was an absolute rout for Massimiliano Allegri and co. and a heavy setback for the whole world of calcio as once again there will be no Italian representatives in the Champions League best eight.

But while Inter at least gave Liverpool a run of their money, the Champions League night was an authentic psychodrama for the Bianconeri. They had an encouraging start but threw it all away with an insane last quarter of the game – when basically they lost their focus and their face as Villarreal mercilessly raided the Allianz Stadium.

Juventus paid a price – a hefty one – for not making the best out of the few chances they had in the first half. The Villarreal goalkeeper Géronimo Rulli saved the day from an Alvaro Morata close-range header on 11 minutes, then defused a Dusan Vlahovic shot from outside the box.

The Serbian had the best occasion in the first half as he hit the crossbar on 21 minutes from a Mattia De Sciglio cross. Villarreal’s answer was all in a Giovani Lo Celso left-foot curl that went of target. The Submarino Amarillo were organized in defense but didn’t manage to give Wojciech Szczesny any reason for concern.

At half time, the score was still nil-nil but the Bianconeri gave the impression they could have the upper hand if they kept increasing the pressure. Which they didn’t do.

The second portion of the game followed a similar pattern and there were no real chances to report until the fatal last 12 minutes. Villarreal’s coach Unay Emery had sent Gerard Moreno in on 64 minutes and that turned out to be the move that changed the fate of the match – but not Juventus’ destiny in Champions League, which ended up same as in the past few years.

Moreno picked Francis Coquelin with a brilliant filtering pass in the box, where Daniele Rugani pushed him down with a naive tackle. A VAR review confirmed a penalty for the Spanish side, which Moreno converted despite Szczesny touching the ball.

With 11 minutes to go, Max Allegri tried a desperate reshuffling of his cards as he sent in Paulo Dybala for Rugani and soon also added Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi.

But Juventus’ Champions League ghosts had already reappeared by now and Pau Torres was quick to punish the faltering Bianconeri with a right-foot tap in from a corner kick. That was already a heavy punishment for the home side but, since when it rains, it pours, Villarreal added a third from the spot during stoppage time.  

This time, it was Dutch sensation Danjuma to bury the spot after a horrendous defensive blunder from Danilo triggered Moreno’s counterattack and Matthijs De Ligt served the specialty of the house – a handball in the box – in a desperate attempt to block Danjuma’s first shot.

At that point, Juventus could only hope for referee Szymon Marciniak to blow the final whistle and prepare for another night spent wondering what on earth is wrong with them every time they hear the Champions League tune. 



March 16, 2022 – UEFA Champions League 2021-22 Round of 16
JUVENTUS – VILLARREAL 0-3 (Villarreal advance 1-4 on aggregate)

SCORERS: 78′ Gerardo Moreno pen., 85′ Pau Torres, 92′ Danjuma pen.

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Rugani (78′ Dybala), De Sciglio; Cuadrado, Locatelli (82′ Bernardeschi), Arthur, Rabiot; Vlahovic, Morata (85′ Kean) (Pinsoglio, Perin, Chiellini, Lu. Pellegrini, Miretti) Coach: Allegri
VILLARREAL (4-4-2): Rulli; Aurier, Albiol, Pau Torres, Estupinan; Yeremy Pino (64′ Coquelin), Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros (64′ Chukwueze); Lo Celso (74′ Gerard Moreno), Danjuma (Asenjo, Gaspar, Foyth, Iborra, Dia, Pena, Mandi, Moi Gomez, Pedraza) Coach: Emery

REFEREE: Marciniak (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: De Ligt (J); Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 5′