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The Bianconeri threw away two more points to leave themselves chasing their tail ahead of a key double-header with Real Madrid

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By Kris Voakes

This was meant to be Galatasaray at their lowest ebb. It was supposed to be Juventus’ moment to shine in Europe. But Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw leaves the Italian champions needing another last-gasp surge in their bid to qualify from their Champions League group.

While both of these clubs boasted a place in the last eight of last season’s competition, there was no question who went into the game as favourites. Gala were beaten 6-1 at home by Real Madrid in matchday one and sit 10th in the Turkish Super League having won just a single game in the last six weeks. Juve were flying, Johan Wiland’s Superman efforts for Copenhagen a fortnight ago notwithstanding.

But Juventus were a long way off their best for far too long on Wednesday. In fact, in the final third they were abysmal. The midfield three made too many wrong decisions on the ball, with Paul Pogba having his worst game yet for the club. Fabio Quagliarella and Carlos Tevez found the Gala defence too big and strong to bisect when on the ball, and Mauricio Isla spent most of his time after replacing the excellent Stephan Lichtsteiner passing to red shirts instead of black and white ones.

GROUP B TABLE & FIXTURES
Galatasaray
Real Madrid

Copenhagen
Juventus

Juventus
Real Madrid

Copenhagen
Galatasaray
23/10
23/10

05/11
05/11

27/11
27/11

10/12
10/12
Copenhagen
Juventus

Galatasaray
Real Madrid

Copenhagen
Galatasaray

Real Madrid
Juventus
Team
1. Real Madrid
2. Juventus
........................
3. Copenhagen
4. Galatasaray

Played

2
2
...........
2
2


Points

6
2
...........
1
1

GD
+9
0
.......
-4
-5

The lack of clear decision making was upsetting in the least. This looked like the Juve of early 2011-12, the one that would dominate possession in Serie A but more often than not were drawing instead of winning due to the lack of a killer edge. That was supposed to have been overcome, but here they looked far too short on ideas as soon as Gala presented a united front defensively.

That said, they got themselves into a winning position but were made to pay for two awful moments at the back which deserve a thorough rethink on the training ground. Antonio Conte has done many things for Juve, but tactically they looked short, both defensively and up front. Only when he threw on Fernando Llorente for Leonardo Bonucci and sent the ball into the box quicker did their fortunes change.

After Bonucci’s dreadful backpass caught Gianluigi Buffon cold and allowed Didier Drogba to slot home, it looked for a long time as though Juve would never deliver any kind of response, but then Quagliarella sprang into action. Just as he had come up with a key equaliser in Copenhagen, the Italian striker first won the penalty from which Arturo Vidal levelled, then headed home a second which looked to have got the Old Lady out of jail.

But, crucially, criminally, they immediately switched off at the back and one simple ball caught them out, Drogba flicking on for Umut Bulut to fire home, with Isla nowhere to be seen when Andrea Barzagli needed cover after being drawn into the centre.

Just as happened last term, the Bianconeri have collected only two points from their opening two fixtures in Europe, but this time around there is one big difference. Twelve months ago they had already faced Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk, leaving them with a double header with Nordsjaelland to come.

This year’s Nordsjaelland are Real Madrid.

If Galatasaray can display the same character against Copenhagen as they did at Juventus Stadium, then the next two games could well yield six points for the Turks, and the pressure is now on Juve to come up with at least four points from their double-header with the Spanish giants in order not to leave them staring at a win or bust trip to Turkey in their final group game.

Juventus got out of jail before, but escaping a second time will be a very tall order indeed. Yet again, the Old Lady faces a long, tough autumn on her European travels. It should not have come to this.

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