Tactical Galatasaray manage a draw at Juve's home

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Drinking the poison chalice of mediocrity, Juventus played a miserable game on home turf, allowing Galatasaray to manage a vital away draw. Disinterested and imprecise in the first half, the Old Lady improved in the second as her opponent tired but failure to manage the lead for more than 71 seconds saw the Turks rejoice.

- Report: Juventus 2-2 Galatasaray

Once again we find the Old Lady reprise her role as Queen of the draws in Europe. Comfortable in her big bubble, she has failed to truly resurrect that intensity that took her so far in previous years. Imprecise passes, long balls to the top and failed crosses were really all Juve managed in the first half.

Possession was given away cheaply while the manner in which they conceded the first goal was abysmal. That moment was enough to provoke enough pain to last for months. This isn't quite what one expects from Antonio Conte's team. The predictability of their game and the incessant need to always attempt intricate passing in the box -- every required action took too long to be executed.

One need only watch the match between Arsenal and Napoli to realise the value of mobility in a team. There was no one capable of dragging players out position, so instead Juve were forced to deal with a huge number of men in the penalty box -- all in their rightful position; all eager to halt their play.

Moreover, there were never enough Bianconeri players to offer support in attack. Lacking in courage, the Old Lady was simply not good enough. To make matters worse, they lost two players to injury: Mirko Vucinic and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Galatasaray played a tactically perfect game. Their perceived weak back-line proved effective while spaces were quickly shut down. Compact and defending in numbers, they reduced Juve to distant shots. They knew how to frustrate the attack that goes through the middle and were confident and comfortable on the ball.

In the second half, the home side played with more purpose and greater intent. As if possessed, their early start was full of purposeful shots and heavy attacking pressure. Unfortunately the quality was simply not there. Again it was taking too long to release the ball, to take the shot or simply pass to a teammate. The Old Lady was again reduced to shots from distance.

Nonetheless, new Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini's men were barely doing anything more than defending. They used their strength in the air and clever anticipation to stop anything attempted by the opponent, but the pressure was increasing.

It was time to gamble and Conte had no option but to remove a defender, Leonardo Bonucci (who played an atrocious game) and replace him with a forward -- Fernando Llorente. The Old Lady were now deployed in a 4-3-3 formation and more desperate than ever to clinch a goal.

The game was somewhat transformed. The Spanish forward nearly managed a header only moments after his arrival on the pitch while Gala's tiring legs and split focus allowed Fabio Quagliarella more space to threaten.

The equaliser finally came, albeit via a penalty. A silly challenge was committed in the box and Quagliarella was awarded the penalty. Beautifully and powerfully struck by Arturo Vidal, the burden was lifted but Juventus didn't stop. They kept going hoping to score another to win the match. Three points had to be achieved considering the draw against Copenhagen.

A beautiful cross from Andrea Pirlo found Quagliarella and the Old Lady thought she won the game until 71 seconds later, when Galatasaray equalised via Umut Bulut.

If Juventus had done anything right this season, it was the manner in which they've controlled the game once in the lead. Maturity, possession and calm play has seen them close out matches in a sensible manner even if there were some nervy moments in Serie A. However, to not even manage a lead, not even for two minutes, proved disastrous.

The once solid Italian defence is now a wall that is easily penetrated and easily overcome. This is not only a worry for the Old Lady but for the Azzurri as well. When chances are squandered, they can somewhat be tolerated when the defence is tight. However, considering the ease with which the Juve back-line concede goals this season, the sudden lack of oomph in the final third is proving to be more of a problem than ever.

A dismal draw when a win was needed; Juventus must achieve something against Real Madrid in three weeks' time to keep Champions League dreams alive.


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