Dynamo Kiev 0-2 Juventus: Morata gets Pirlo off to winning start in Champions League

By Sports Desk October 20, 2020

Andrea Pirlo claimed his first Champions League win as Juventus coach as Alvaro Morata's second-half double secured a 2-0 victory at Dynamo Kiev.

Juve have made an unconvincing start to life under the legendary former midfielder and are four points behind Serie A leaders Milan after four games. 

They were held to a 1-1 draw Crotone last time out but there was rarely any sign of a slip-up in their Group G opener, in which the Bianconeri, still without Cristiano Ronaldo, found little resistance from their hosts. 

Morata, on target at the weekend, earned the three points with a simple finish in the first minute of the second half and a header six minutes from time, with the only blot on Juve's performance an injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini.

Federico Chiesa was Juve's most dangerous player throughout the first half and his arrowing strike drew Georgi Bushchan into an impressive diving save in the 12th minute.

Bushchan misjudged a corner soon after but Chiellini was unable to take advantage, drifting his header wide of the unguarded net.

Chiellini's evening was brought to a premature end when he limped off to be replaced by Merih Demiral, though Juve's rhythm was unaffected by that setback.

Indeed, Dynamo were grateful to Bushchan for maintaining parity 11 minutes before the interval as he kept out Dejan Kulusevski's flicked close-range finish after good work from Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey and Kulusevski combined as Morata gave Juve the lead they deserved 49 seconds into the second half.

The former Real Madrid forward tapped in from point-blank range after Bushchan failed to handle Kulusevski's effort following neat build-up play from Ramsey.

Dynamo did attack with more energy in the closing stages but a scarcely deserved equaliser was not forthcoming and Morata made the game safe with a fine header from Juan Cuadrado's right-wing cross.

 

What does it mean? Pirlo defeats former boss Lucescu

In facing Dynamo, Pirlo was going up against the coach who gave him his professional debut as a player at Brescia, Mircea Lucescu.

Lucescu became the oldest coach to take charge of a match in this competition, aged 75 years and 83 days, but despite all that experience his side never looked like causing an upset, with Barcelona sure to provide sterner European opposition next week.

Ramsey helps ensure Ronaldo is not missed

Ronaldo is still self-isolating after returning a positive test for COVID-19 but his influence was not required as Ramsey played a significant role in helping Juve dictate matters.

The former Arsenal midfielder provided three key passes, including a critical one for Kulusevski in the lead-up to the opening goal.

Dynamo anything but dynamic

A long trip east to face a team enjoying what is nowadays a rare benefit of having home fans in the stands promised to make it a tough evening for Juve.

That never materialised as Dynamo offered precious little as an attacking force and, after producing two shots on target in the first half, did not have another until the 75th minute.

The fact forward Vladyslav Supriaha managed just 19 touches, having played the whole match, underlines the struggles the hosts had up top.

What's next?

Juve return to Serie A action with a home game against Hellas Verona. Dynamo host Oleksandriya in the Ukrainian Premier League.

Related items

  • 'Tired' Ronaldo rested for Juventus' trip to Benevento 'Tired' Ronaldo rested for Juventus' trip to Benevento

    Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo was being rested for Saturday's trip to Benevento.

    Ronaldo, 35, has made a good start to the season, scoring nine goals in seven games in all competitions.

    However, the star forward will miss the trip to Benevento due to fatigue.

    "Cristiano Ronaldo will take an agreed rest session because he was a bit tired after so many games," Pirlo told Juventus TV.

    "It was planned that he would not come to Benevento."

    Since the start of November, Ronaldo has played eight games for Juve and Portugal.

    Only Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic (10) has scored more Serie A goals than Ronaldo's eight this season.

    Ronaldo has converted 75 per cent of his big chances, compared to Ibrahimovic's 60, while he has created six chances.

    Juventus are fourth in the Serie A table, four points adrift of Milan, ahead of their trip to Benevento.

  • Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones

    Pep Guardiola praised "special guy" John Stones and said the defender was set for further opportunities with Manchester City.

    Stones started alongside Ruben Dias in the centre of defence as City booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win over Olympiacos on Wednesday.

    The 26-year-old won all five of his duels and his three clearances were a team-high.

    While the defender has made four appearances in European competition, he has been limited to just one in the Premier League – against Wolves in September.

    But Guardiola expects Stones to get more chances for City after finding some form.

    "At the end I judge the players on what they do right now, in the present. John played with Ruben, they played well," the City manager told reporters.

    "I'm happy, especially, especially, especially, happy with John because he's a special guy for me. We arrived together here, we spend all the time together.

    "He was injured, had personal issues and now he's settled again, with his confidence and performance like last time he will have chances to show his quality in this team."

    Dias, meanwhile, has settled quickly at City after arriving from Benfica in September, making nine starts in all competitions.

    As City prepare to host Burnley on Saturday, Guardiola praised the defender's form.

    "Ruben is playing every week and every game because he doesn't make mistakes. He leads the line and does absolutely everything almost perfectly. That's why he plays," he said.

    "It doesn't depend on what he has done in the past and who you are in the past. We have to win in our position every three days. As a manager, when a guy plays good you have more chance [to play] of course.

    "There will be some players who are playing well but I will rotate the team so they don't get injured, they will be rotated. But with other issues when they are playing well they have more chance to continue on the pitch."

  • Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come

    Gerard Pique hopes Barcelona can convince Lionel Messi to stay at the club for years to come.

    Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants during the close season, but ended up staying at the club.

    However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is linked with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

    But Pique hopes Messi will remain at Barca, where he has spent his entire professional career.

    "We will have to ask Leo. It is his personal decision … and we will see what happens," the defender told Radio Marca on Friday.

    "I believe that as long as he continues to wear the Barca shirt there is always hope.

    "We hope they can seduce him so that he stays more years."

    Messi has struggled to live up to his usual form so far this season, scoring six goals in 11 games – including three in eight in LaLiga.

    He is without an assist in LaLiga, while he has created just 2.1 chances per 90 minutes – his lowest since 2012-13 (1.6). His 0.4 big chances created per 90 minutes is also the lowest since that campaign.

    It comes with Barcelona struggling in 13th in the table and awaiting a presidential election next year.

    Pique, who suffered a knee injury earlier this month, said he had previously thought about one day becoming the club's president.

    "If I see that I can contribute things that can help the club then I will decide," he said.

    "It is an illusion that I have always had, but I don't know if it will come true."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.