Amauri 31, 58
Ajax fans would have felt hard done by, as Martin Jol’s men seemed to come into this game with the right attitude dominating the first 10 minutes.
On 16 they got their much deserved opening goal by Miralem Sulejmani, not to deny him of his brilliance, but this goal was more to do with a mistake made by the Bianconeri than Sulejmani. Ajax were dangerous on the counter and it was Sulejmani who ran from his own half and found himself in a scoring position, but more importantly it was Jonathan Zebina who had failed to close him down and actually started to give him space to shoot. This setback spurred Juventus to fight on and to everyone’s surprise it was Amauri who levelled things up half an hour later. The Brazilian, who had been struggling in front of goal, managed to grab the all important advantage of an away goal.
The second half brought much of the same Ajax pressure with clumsy Juve tackles coming in from all over. There was not long to wait for the second goal when brilliant play by Alessandro Del Piero met an Amauri header which than found itself in the back of the Ajax goal and Juve were ahead. The game ended with a fairly comfortable lead for Juve, with a brief scare by Siem de Jong who hit the post on 75 having beaten Gianluigi Buffon. But luck was not on their side and they must now travel to Turin knowing they have to score at least twice.
Referees have been under a lot of scrutiny lately after the recent howlers in the Champions League and with everyone having different perspective of what is right, this can be a challenge in itself. With that in mind, the two extra officials in the tie last night still managed to let the shirt pulling and rugby-style tackles in the box go unpunished.
Even though the Old Lady won this game it is still too soon to claim that Juventus and Amauri are back to their best. Spectators will be quick to label it as the beginning of “the great come back,” just like they did when Juve beat Inter in Week 15 of their domestic league. That was not the case and everything went downhill from then on. The defence is still a work in progress and the goal by Sulejmani is further proof that Juve have a lot to do before they can announce they are back. The fact that Juve were so slow to get back into position is a weakness that teams will look to exploit.