The first impression was one of amazement, not due to the high level of football, however, but due to the extreme amount of people that occupied the mall in connection to Friends Arena in Stockholm. The Swedish national stadium and the area around it was crowded half a day before kick-off, filled with Juventini, some fans of Atletico, but mainly families with football crazed children hoping to see Cristiano Ronaldo in the flesh for the first time in their lives. If we make a comparison with last year's game against Arsenal and Lazio at Friends Arena, we can conclude that Juventus and Ronaldo are far more popular and attractive than the other duo.
Perhaps it’s obvious that one of the biggest superstars the sport has ever had would be an attraction, but this looked more like a circus attraction than the preparation for a game of football. Nevertheless, it was going to be an interesting fight at Friends Arena between two gargantuan powers in world football.
The first half began with some flamboyant moves from Cristiano Ronaldo and Douglas Costa, both trying to dazzle the full stadium. But the king of the game would never be Cristiano, but instead his heir to the Portuguese footballing throne. Everything Felix did came off well, every move lead to something, every touch was pivotal for the movement and development of the game. His small touches moved the game forward in a scintillating way way. His first goal was a volley from within the penalty box, a real ”fox-in-the-box” moment from the starlet.
But Juve were dangerous whenever they approached Atleti’s area. Simeone’s men managed to keep them out, but for no more than 25 minutes when Khedira’s smooth finish strolled across Oblak’s line in a tantalizing, but yet fascinating fashion. Another good goal from a very well-constructed attack sequence from Sarri’s men.
But 1-1 was not something Joao Felix felt content with and met a brilliant ball from Thomas Lemar in Juve’s area, touched it enough to deflect it into Szczesny’s right corner. A very good goal from a very good player, but the greatest thing about the goal wasn’t Felix’ surprisingly calm finish, but instead Lemar’s brilliant ball over the top.
Some gaps in Atletico’s defence that a creative Douglas Costa almost managed to exploit, but Oblak and his men managed to keep themselves cleansed until the ref blew his might whistle.
Second half. Juve off the blocks with a few small chances, but nothing major. The best chance of the first quarter fell to Gonzalo Higuain, but the Argentinian dismissed the rather decent idea of trying to find the net. A lacklustre finish and Oblak needed not even care. The second half was rather patchy in general, mainly due to the vast amount of substitutions being made. Only one substitution actually made a difference, but not on the pitch. The substitution of Gigi Buffon for Wojciech Szczesny probably break the sound barrier
The closing ten minutes had much to offer. Newly substituted Angel Correa’s pressing pays off and he’s one on one with Gigi, but misses. Juve use the counter attack opportunity and created a wonderful chance, but Mario Hermoso managed to block Cuadrado’s clear cut effort. The game ends 2-1 to Madrid. Simeone’s men played a good game and were rewarded for their resilience in defence, as often is the case.