The second quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu was one of the most impressive knockout matches in the history of Champions League. Not because Juventus scored three goals until the 61st minute of the game, but from the fact that in both quarter-finals we understood the uniqueness of Champions League: The club with the fewer mistakes, wins the trophy. This is the primary rule of this competition, and the history of Champions League has revealed it plenty of times. Precisely, at the Santiago Bernabeu Juventus did a fantastic and almost a perfect game with a tremendous tactical balance between the lines in contrast with the first leg where the absence of Pjanic and Matuidi created a significant gap in the central midfield. However, the only mistake of Benatia and Chiellini in the 90th minute of the game has destroyed the effort of the Vecchia Signora. Even if the penalty was right or not, the major point is that both Juventus’ central defenders lost Lucas Vazquez and they could not stop him. The following image demonstrates the gap between Chiellini, Benatia and Vazquez.
Highlight of the penalty on Lucas Vazquez and the absence of Chiellini from the central defence.
The controversy around the penalty on Vazquez is a secondary issue for people who understand football. The significant point of this moment and generally in knockout matches is that every minute and every mistake is crucial. Especially for Juventus which has made serious mistakes in the finals against Real Madrid last year and Barcelona in 2015, they should have been more concentrated in the last minute after such a historical come back.
Massimiliano Allegri made many mistakes in the first leg. The formation of 4-4-2 with two central midfielders Khedira and Bentancur against Casemiro, Kroos and Modric was a complete failure. On the other hand, in the second leg, the tactical approach of the Italian club was perfect, but the mental concentration was lost at the last minute. As it happened in Cardiff last year in the second half and in 2015 against Barcelona after Morata’s goal, Juventus made the same mistake in the second quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu. The mental development is a very crucial part in the knockout stages and Juventus should work more on it to win UEFA Champions League.