Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic broke a Champions League record for the quickest goal scored by a competition debutant in his side’s 1-1 draw against Villarreal.
Vlahovic took just 33 seconds to get off the mark in the competition – the fastest ever goal at the start of a match from a debutant Europe’s premier club tournament.
It was a fast-paced start to the game caused by the chaos of the early opener with Giovani Lo Celso shooting wide when well-placed while Alvaro Morata fired an effort wide of goal for the visitors.
However it was largely a game of few chances with Juve’s ultra-defensive approach after the break slowing the game down.
Villarreal midfielder Dani Parejo fired home an equaliser midway through the second half after ghosting into the visitor’s penalty area unmarked to steer home.
Mirror Football covers the five main talking point from the Round of 16 first leg tie in Spain.
Vlahovic lightning start
Dusan Vlahovic fired Juventus in front after just 33 seconds ( Image: Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
It took Juventus and Dusan Vlahovic just 33 seconds to break the deadlock and stun Villarreal.
Alberto Moreno carelessly conceded possession in the middle of the pitch allowing Juve’s Danilo to loft a ball forward into the path of Vlahovic, who expertly timed his run and cushioned the ball down on his chest before firing a right-footed effort across Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli and into the far corner.
Having scored on his Serie A debut with Juve – following his switch from Fiorentina last month – he also netted on his first Champions League experience.
Vlahovic’s only previous Champions League experience had been in a preliminary match for Partizan Belgrade as a 17-year-old, meaning this was his debut in the full competition.
His 33 seconds from the start of a match broke Andreas Moller’s long-standing record of 37 seconds (ironically scored against Juventus, for Borussia Dortmund) from 1995.
Absent attacking talent
Dani Parejo netted Villarreal’s equaliser midway through the second half ( Image: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Villarreal were without their star striker Gerard Moreno this game and their lack of a focal point in attack was evident.
The Spain international has scored 41 goals for the side since the start of last season with former Bournemouth ace Arnaut Danjuma taking over a central position, which he was not accustomed to.
It meant that for all of Villarreal’s possession and attempts to attack from width, there was little by way of the ball sticking centrally.
That the visitors were without impressive attacking trio Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernandeschi and Paulo Dybala ensured that this game was robbed of its top attacking talent.
Lo Celso shows his worth
Lo Celso was in the thick of the action for Villarreal throughout having joined on loan from Spurs ( Image: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Giovani Lo Celso was the major January arrival at Villarreal as he joined the club from Tottenham until the end of the campaign.
The Argentine represented a significant outlay for Spurs, who signed him from Real Betis in 2019, but he never settled into an established role in North London.
Lo Celso was industrious in Tuesday night’s encounter having similarly impressed in his first four games for his new club – in a role linking midfield with attack, but hassling defenders and breaking up play.
Lo Celso is due to return to Spurs this summer, whereby they can either cash-in on the player whose market value may be on the rise or he can battle his way into the starting line-up.
Timid tactical battle
Allegri was happy for his Juventus side to sit deep and soak up Villarreal pressure ( Image: Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)DON’T MISS
Juventus came into this match without a host of important first-team players yet managed with a rigid 4-4-2 formation with two deep banks of four.
There was no Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernandeschi, Paulo Dybala or Kaio Jorge to call upon in attack while defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani were both unavailable, with Leonardo Bonucci only fit enough to play the second half.
It was not a particularly innovative approach from Juve coach Max Allegri to sit deep, soak up pressure and hit their hosts on the counter-attack, but it led to a timid game with neither side taking any risks.
Villarreal lacked the pace and innovation in the final third to cause the Bianconeri major problems for the first hour as Unai Emery’s side lacked potency.
Eventually, Juve’s conservative tactics were punished after a spell of pressure and individual defensive errors as Dani Parejo found space in the middle of the penalty area to equalise.