Juventus qualified for the 8th final of the Champions League on Tuesday by defeating the Hungarians of Ferencvaros (2-1) with a decisive header in added time from Alvaro Morata.
Long held in check at home by combative Hungarians, the “Old Lady” had been brought back into the match by Cristiano Ronaldo, who had equalized with a pure strike from the left (35th), while Ferencvaros had surprised a fairly passive, by Uzuni (19th).
Andrea Pirlo, appointed this summer on the bench the day after the elimination in the round of 16 of Juventus Maurizio Sarri against Lyon, thus passes without too much trouble his first examination in the most prestigious of European competitions, which he has twice won as a player (2003, 2007 with AC Milan).
If his team had a difficult start in the championship, with many lost points, it enforced logic in a rather accessible group of C1, by winning at Dynamo Kiev (2-0) and twice against to the Hungarians (4-1 on the way there).
Only the defeat against Barcelona by Lionel Messi (0-2) underlined the room for improvement of this rejuvenated team and the game largely remodeled by the “Maestro”.
With an animation entrusted Tuesday evening to Paolo Dybala, still short of form, and Federico Bernadeschi, in search of confidence, Juventus started too slowly, purring in the middle, under the eye Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot, left on the bench to breathe after having played a lot in club and national team.
Heading for Barcelona
And she was surprised on the first real Hungarian foray: Danilo then Alex Sandro were caught in speed and Cudrado too short to prevent Uzuni from deceiving Szesny (19th).
She was not far from being surprised again on a distant strike from Zubkov (25th), diverted by Matthijs De Ligt, who became indispensable again in the absence of Bonucci and Chiellini.
Cristiano Ronaldo therefore had to take matters into his own hands to equalize with a magnificent strike.
For the first European goal of the season for the top scorer in the history of the Champions League (131 goals now, against 118 for Messi).
Juventus set off to attack the Hungarians on the restart but struggled to create opportunities until the post found by Bernardeschi (60th).
It was the moment chosen by Pirlo to renew the offensive animation by bringing in Morata, Chiesa and Kulusevski.
The entry of the Spaniard, in full success since his return to the foot of the Alps will be decisive: after finding the post (76th), it is he who sprang to score in added time the goal synonymous with qualification.
Ronaldo-Morata, the duo on which Pirlo Juve depends a lot: the coach will however need everyone in the chain of matches which awaits Juventus until the end of December.
With two goals: to continue the comeback in Serie A and take revenge against Barcelona, with Ronaldo this time on December 8, for the first place in the group, and especially for the honor, after the defeat in Turin, the only setback as trainer for Andrea Pirlo.
Champions League standings