Morata’s brace help Juve beat Dynamo Kyiv. Morata followed up Dejan Kulusevski’s shot to fire in the opener and sealed the win with a well-taken header. Alvaro Morata scored twice as Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus opened their Champions League campaign with victory at Dynamo Kyiv.
Juve were without Cristiano Ronaldo following his positive coronavirus test and initially struggled in his absence. Federico Chiesa and Ronaldo’s replacement Kulusevski both had first-half shots saved by Georgi Bushchan.
The Italian champions also lost experienced defender Giorgio Chiellini to what appeared to be a hamstring injury before the break, shortly after he had headed just wide from a corner.
But the second half saw a much-improved display, with Spaniard Morata’s alertness and prowess in front of goal the launchpad for their campaign. He was quickest to react after Bushchan had saved Kulusevski’s shot early in the second half and predatory in steering in his headed second from Juan Cuadrado’s cross late in the game.
The double made it three goals in four days for the striker on loan from Atletico Madrid, after he scored in draw against Crotone at the weekend. Wales’ Aaron Ramsey also impressed playing just behind the front two in his 50th Champions League appearance, and it was his back-heel that set up the Kulusevski shot leading to the opener.
The game had an air of ‘master against apprentice’ to it, with Pirlo making his Champions League managerial bow against Mircea Lucescu, the man who gave him his professional debut as a 16-year-old at Brescia in 1995.
Italian champions for the last nine seasons but without a Champions League title since 1996, Juventus turned to their former player after sacking Maurizio Sarri in the summer.
They have been inconsistent in Serie A so far, dropping four points in their four opening games, but this is is an encouraging start in continental competition, which also included the first appearance for Paulo Dybala under the former Italy international.
He will be hoping to have Ronaldo – scorer of 130 Champions League goals and owner of five winners’ medals in the competition – back for the visit of Barcelona to Turin in the next round of Group G fixtures.
Juve make it six group wins on the bounce
- Juventus have won their past six Champions League group stage matches, their best such run since a run of six between December 2003-November 2004.
- Juventus have avoided defeat in their opening match in 20 of their previous 21 Champions League campaigns (W12 D8), losing only against Barcelona in 2017-18.
- Dynamo Kyiv have faced Juventus more often without winning in the Champions League than they have any other opponent (five – D1 L4).
- Alvaro Morata scored his first Champions League goals for Juventus since September 2015 vs Sevilla. He has been involved in four goals in his past three Champions League games overall (three goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 21 in the competition.
- Dynamo Kyiv’s Mircea Lucescu became the oldest manager to take charge of a Champions League game in this match, aged 75 years 83 days.
- Juventus’ Aaron Ramsey made his 50th Champions League appearance in this match, the third Welsh player to reach the milestone in the competition (Ryan Giggs 141, Gareth Bale 64).
Source – BBC News