Massimiliano Allegri Hails Display of Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong as Juventus Held to 1-1 Draw

​Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri admitted his side were ‘shocked’ by conceding Ajax’s equaliser so soon into the second-half, but was otherwise content with ​the 1-1 draw in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final. 

Making his first appearance for I Bianconeri since his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 of the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo gave the visitors the lead against the run of play with his 125th goal of the competition, on the stroke of half-time. 


Their lead didn’t last long however, as David Neres equalised for the hosts one minute after the restart, leaving the tie finally poised ahead of the second leg in Turin.

Speaking to ​ after the game, Allegri conceded that Neres’ goal saw a dip in ​Juventus’ performance levels, but was pleased with how they responded and finished the game. 

He said: “Ajax have great qualities. They keep the ball well even when there are no spaces. I think we defended well even if we had to be better when we won the ball in midfield.

“We suffered after their goal because we were a bit shocked to concede immediately after the break but we defended well and finished the game better.”

One player praised by the Juve manager after the game was Ajax midfielder and ​Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong, with the Italian describing the 21-year-old as the ‘source of their game’.

Allegri added: “De Jong is the real source of their game. We tried to control him with (Rodrigo) Bentancur in the early stages but, when he understood that, he moved deeper, and the forwards had to work hard on him. He played very well.”

Another player to be singled out by Allegri post-match was ​Ronaldo, who returned to action for Juventus for the first time since his round of 16 heroics on March 12. 

The Portuguese forward’s fifth goal in the competition this season was a textbook header after finding space inside Ajax’s penalty area, with Allegri delighted to have the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer available once again. 

He stated: “Once again Ronaldo proved to be on a different level. His movements and his sense of timing are simply different from the others.’


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