Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus: Late Herrera header earns Group D draw for Atleti

Maurizio Sarri's Juventus drew his first Champions League game in charge as Atletico Madrid came from behind in a Group D draw on Wednesday.

Hector Herrera's late header earned Atletico Madrid a 2-2 draw against Juventus in a Group D encounter of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.   -  Getty Images

Hector Herrera came off the bench to score a 90th-minute equaliser as Atletico Madrid fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Juventus in the Champions League.

Juan Cuadrado's stunning strike and a Blaise Matuidi header looked to have earned Maurizio Sarri's side victory in Group D on Wednesday.

However, Atletico produced a wonderful fightback as set pieces proved Juve's undoing, Stefan Savic nodding home from close range to set up a grandstand finish at the Wanda Metropolitano.

With injury time beckoning, substitute Herrera rose highest in the box to superbly flick home a header from Kieran Trippier's left-wing corner, leaving the spoils shared.

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Making his Champions League debut for Atletico, Joao Felix took only nine minutes to make his mark on the contest, a dazzling solo run from 10 yards inside his own half ending with Wojciech Szczesny making a low save to his left.

Jose Gimenez headed the resulting corner over the crossbar and the defender failed to profit again from another set piece, a warning Juve would later fail to heed.

Cuadrado shattered the deadlock with a thunderbolt in the 48th minute, collecting a pass from Gonzalo Higuain, cutting inside Renan Lodi and unleashing a stunning 20-yard drive.

Atletico should have levelled when Koke raided down the right and cut back a low cross to Gimenez, who sliced a poor first-time finish over the crossbar.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Alex Sandro combined to superbly set up Matuidi for Juve's second, but within five minutes Atleti halved the deficit as Savic nodded home.

And the comeback was completed when Herrera brilliantly converted a corner, although Ronaldo almost snatched all three points at the death, driving just wide after a superb solo run.


What does it mean? Defensive weaknesses cost Juve

Juve was seeking winning football - played beautifully - when it appointed Sarri, but this result showed how much work there is for him to do with the Serie A champion.

Atletico was far too reliant on Joao Felix, who shone sporadically but does not look ready to carry its attack, and it needed set pieces to force a way through a Juve defence badly missing its inspirational captain Giorgio Chiellini, who is out long-term with a knee injury.

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Herrera shows Atleti still fight to the end

This is a new-look Atletico following Antoine Griezmann's sale to Barcelona, but Diego Simeone's team remain forged in his image.

Herrera, one of the new arrivals for 2019-20, demonstrated his team's fighting spirit perfectly by nabbing a late equaliser for his side.

Costa struggles to shine

Given little service, Diego Costa found himself unable to make an impact in attack for Atletico, in contrast to counterpart Higuain who provided the assist for Cuadrado's goal out of nothing.

Without a competitive goal since March, Costa looked low on confidence.

Ronaldo can decide any encounter - Simeone

Cristiano Ronaldo, whose hat-trick knocked Atleti out last term, almost won it for Juve at the death when he fired just wide. Simeone was relieved that Ronaldo's late chance narrowly missed Jan Oblak's goal.

"It was a tremendous piece of play," Simeone told Movistar of the Juve superstar.

"We know the player he is, that he can decide an encounter at any moment."

"Hector was working really well and it's no accident that he came on and scored," Simeone said.

"In life, work always has reward, and more so in football. The competition is very good and that makes us grow.

"We started well, although without chances to score, but in the second half they hurt us twice; Cuadrado and Matuidi took the game from us, but we didn't lose face.

"I like this draw because we haven't lost face and because we recovered from being 2-0 down. When the youngsters evolve, we'll be closer to winning."

Sarri accepts Juventus must improve defending set-pieces

Maurizio Sarri accepted Juventus must work on defending set-pieces after surrendering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

"I think we played well but we have a bitter taste in our mouth now because we felt we had the game in our hands," Sarri said.

"We need more attention and focus on set-pieces. We will work on that.

"I opted to start with Cuadrado because I thought it could have been an open game with spaces for him to use his pace.

"I think we are working well and I could finally see the things we are trying in training."

Key Opta Facts

- Atletico has lost only one of its last 19 Champions League home games (W14 D4 L1), against Chelsea in September 2017.
- Juventus started just one Italian player in a Champions League match for the first time in its history (Leonardo Bonucci).
- Aaron Ramsey became the first ever Welshman to play for an Italian team in Champions League history.
- Savic netted his first Champions League goal in his 28th appearance in the competition.

What's next?

Celta Vigo is the visitor for Atleti in La Liga on Saturday, when Verona goes to Juve in Serie A.

In a fortnight, when the group stage resumes, Juve hosts Bayer Leverkusen and Atleti is away to Lokomotiv Moscow.

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