Paulo ​Dybala's sublime free kick was the difference at the Allianz Stadium as Juventus edged out Atletico Madrid 1-0.


Dybala gave I Bianconeri the lead in first-half stoppage time, curling a sublime free kick beyond Jan Oblak from an acute angle. The Atleti goalkeeper was slightly unsighted, but will certainly feel that he could have done better on this occasion. It was no more than Juventus deserved after dominating possession against a resolute Rojiblancos.

Atleti were a different animal in the second half and dominated the hosts without creating clear chances. Federico Bernardeschi almost added a Juve second in the 67th minute, cutting in from the right flank and hitting the post from distance against the run of play.


Atleti nearly had a far greater mountain to climb, with Felipe lucky not to be dismissed for what looked like a stamp on Cristiano Ronaldo's calf. VAR, however, deemed that the challenge had been sufficiently fair.

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Alvaro Morata had a chance to level with seconds to spare, but misjudged the cross and allowed the ball to squirm past him. He may well have been ruled offside, but the Spaniard will have been disappointed with this effort nevertheless.


Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.


Juventus

Key Talking Point


The Allianz crowd witnessed two distinctly different Juventus sides on Tuesday, the attacking force of the first half and the resolute defensive unit of the second.


Their domination of the opening 45 was all about the movement of their front three, with Dybala and Ronaldo finding space in the wide areas and Aaron Ramsey joining them in support. The only criticism could be that intensity was lacking in forward areas, understandable given that ​Juventus' progression was already confirmed.

Hector Herrera,Matthijs de Ligt

As Atleti roared out of the traps, the second half was all about the Old Lady's defensive capabilities - the collective certainly rose to the challenge. Matthijs de Ligt was at the heart of this and read a number of dangerous situations to perfection, the shining example a sliding challenge at speed that prevented Angel Correa from shooting. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Szczesny (7); Danilo (6), Bonucci (7), de Ligt (8), De Sciglio (7); Pjanic (7), Bentancur (6), Matuidi (7), Ramsey (7); Ronaldo (7), Dybala (9*)


Substitutes: Bernardeschi (7), Higuain (5), Khedira (5)


STAR PLAYER


Juventus fans must be thanking their lucky stars that Paulo Dybala's proposed move to Tottenham fell through - as the Argentine was world class on Tuesday evening. He plucked the ball from the sky effortlessly on two first-half occasions, much to the delight of the Allianz Stadium, before producing a back-heeled nutmeg to embarrass Mario Hermoso.

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When the Old Lady won a free kick on the brink of half time, the angle seemed impossible for a strike on goal. Such is the current confidence of Dybala that he whipped the ball in with enough precision and pace to incapacitate a goalkeeper of Oblak's quality.  


It wasn't simply about those moments of magic, Dybala's movement off the ball and link up play were a joy to watch at times. Sarri's midfield diamond allowed the Argentine the freedom of the flanks and he drifted into excellent wide positions to create space. This movement was at the heart of some excellent pass-and-move passages with Ramsey and Ronaldo.




Atletico Madrid

Key Talking Point


Los Rojiblancos have now failed to score a first-half goal in 13 of their last 16 fixtures, and they simply didn't show enough attacking intensity in Tuesday's opening 45 minutes. Simeone's game plan focused on frustrating Juve by being compact, but all of their hard work was undone by Dybala's wonder goal.

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Atleti dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second half and their fans must have been so frustrated that this desire or intent wasn't on show before the interval. El Cholo essentially admitted that he'd got it wrong by making all three substitutions in the same 20 minute period. 


Despite an improved showing as the game wore on, Juventus were able to protect their lead and limit Atleti to plenty of shots from distance. The lack of goals has been a thorn in their side this season, and Simeone's pragmatism is at the heart of the problem. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Oblak (6); Trippier (7), Felipe (6), Hermoso (5), Lodi (5); Koke (6), Herrera (6), Partey (7), Saúl (7); Morata (6), Vitolo (5)


Substitutes: Felix (7), Correa (6), Lemar (5)


STAR PLAYER


In all honesty, ​Los Rojiblancos were lacking a star player on Tuesday evening. The first half was a solid team display, and the second saw attacking substitutes trying to create some fluidity against the clock.

Thomas Partey,Rodrigo Betancur

However, Thomas Partey certainly put in an admirable midfield shift. The Ghanaian's tenacity to win the ball back was at the heart of several failed counter attacks in the first half, while his eye for a pass almost set Atleti on their way on other occasions.


Defensively, Partey was excellent at choosing when to press and when to drop deep - it's like he has a sixth sense for knowing when the danger has passed. There were several occasions that he tracked a runner just as far as he needed to, before pressing the player on the ball within an instant. It's a shame that his endeavour reaped no reward. 


Looking Ahead


Sassuolo and Lazio await Juventus in Serie A, ahead of their final Champions League group fixture away to Bayer Leverkusen.


Atleti face another huge test on Sunday and welcome table-topping Barcelona to Wanda Metropolitano. Los Rojiblancos will then travel to Villarreal, before the visit of Lokomotiv Moscow on matchday six of the Champions League.