Juventus were sent crashing out of the Champions League on Tuesday after another humiliating European night for the Bianconeri, adding further pressure to coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Juventus lost 4-3 to Benfica at the Estadio da Luz and it was a scoreline that flattered the Old Lady after a late fightback from a position in which they went inches away from being 5-1 down.
Going into the match in Lisbon knowing that only a victory would suffice if they were to have any realistic hopes of qualification, Juventus were timid from the off and found themselves deservedly behind when teenage centre-back Antonio Silva headed home.
Despite Moise Kean immediately equalising, Juan Cuadrado‘s handball allowed Joao Mario to restore the Portuguese’s lead, and a magnificent Rafa Silva brace put paid to Juventus‘ slim hopes of qualification.
Despite two late goals, Juventus could not find an equaliser their play did not merit, and were fortunate to see Rafa Silva squander a fine chance to make it 5-1 prior to that late impact.
Group stage to forget
After a spirited performance in a 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in Matchday 1, hopes were high that Allegri could mastermind a smooth passage out of Group H, even as domestic form lagged.
It was all looking rosy when Arkadiusz Milik put them ahead against Benfica in the first home game, but the Eagles turned it around in the second half to snatch victory.
An unconvincing 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa allowed Juve to get their first points on the board, only for a stunning 2-0 defeat in Israel that heaped the pressure on the return match against Benfica.
Bianconeri breaking records
And so to Lisbon. With a result a necessity, Juventus crumbled in the Portuguese capital and were considerably second best and deservedly dumped out at the group stage for the first time since 2013-14.
The Bianconeri had never conceded three goals in the first half of a Champions League game before, whilst they were also condemned to a fourth defeat in their first five games for the first time in their history.
As the night progressed, the records kept on tumbling; Juve becoming the first Italian team to concede four goals to a Portuguese opponent in 40 Champions League encounters, Juventus seeing their goals against column hit double figures after five games for the first time.
It also marked another miserable night in a long list of eliminations, after Ajax, Lyon, Porto, and Villarreal dumped them out of the competition in the previous four seasons.
Hope for the future
If there is a positive to take from the defeat, Juventus‘ crop of young talents showed that they have the potential to help rebuild the Bianconeri into a title-challenging outfit again.
Samuel Iling-Junior stepped off the bench to deliver a magnificent cross for Milik to volley in for 4-2, whilst the English teenager was again on hand to whip in a delivery from out wide minutes later that ultimately culminated in a Weston McKennie goal.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Argentine Matias Soule was also given the opportunity to impress as a substitute, but the responsibility to put more trust in an attacking style and make use of the young talent at the club is a must if Allegri is to remain in charge.