A late goal from Mexico's Hector Herrera rescued a point for Atletico Madrid against Juventus in an entertaining affair at Wanda Metropolitano.  

By Luis Miguel Echegaray
September 18, 2019

A late goal from Mexico's Hector Herrera rescued a point for Atletico Madrid against Juventus, with the two playing to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Champions League group opener at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. After a cagey and scoreless first half, the action erupted in the second, as Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi secured the lead for the Serie A champions, but Diego Simeone's side kept pushing and in the end deservedly saved a point.  

Aware of how physical Atletico can be, especially at home, Maurizio Sarri's team looked to match its opponent in physicality. A free kick in the first few minutes allowed the home side to attack early but Juve managed to defend against early threats.

In the 10th minute, Atletico Madrid's 19-year-old sensation, Joao Felix, was fed a lovely, delicate ball by Diego Costa from his own half and his fantastic solo run made it all the way to Juve's box, only for Wojciech Szczesny to push his low chance away.

As the game developed, Cristiano Ronaldo looked to make himself more dangerous and took an optimistic shot in the 22nd minute, but it went straight into the hands of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak. 

By the time they reached the half-hour mark, Atletico kept pushing and producing most of the offensive threat, with Juve looking to counter through Cuadrado and Matuidi. As the referee blew his whistle, however, both sides went to their respective locker rooms at 0-0, perhaps thinking they could do more in the second, especially Atletico, who looked more dangerous. 

Cuadrado broke the deadlock with a fantastic goal just after halftime, a strike the opened up the game and gave Juve a 1-0 lead.

The goal gave Juventus a new sense of confidence, as it was able to contain and protect its lead against Simeone's side, despite its ongoing efforts. In the 59th minute, Jose Gimenez had a glorious chance to equalize from close range, but his shot went high above Szczesny's goal. 

The missed chance would prove costly, as Juventus doubled its lead thanks to Matuidi, who capitalized on a great cross by Alex Sandro. 

But Atletico kept fighting and thanks to a floating free kick inside the box, Stefan Savic took full advantage and headed in from close range to get one back for the hosts.

Atletico's goal rattled Juventus's nerves, and the last 15 minutes delivered a more open game as both searched for a decisive strike. 

In the 81st minute, Vitolo's fantastic effort from outside the box looked like a certain goal, but Szczesny tipped it over the bar. Moments later, it seemed as if Leonardo Bonucci committed a handball inside the box after Matthijs de Ligt tried to clear danger, but the referee waved to play on.

In the 90th minute, Herrera, who had come on late to try and rescue a point for Atletico in his debut for the club did exactly that, as his header from a corner made it 2-2. 

Ronaldo thought he had taken all three points back to Italy, but his fantastic solo effort in stoppage time went just wide off Oblak's goal.


Here were the lineups for both sides:

Juventus continues group play at home against Bayer Leverkusen, while Atletico Madrid heads to Russia to face Lokomotiv Moscow on Oct. 1.

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