Juventus convincingly defeated Shamrock Rovers in Dublin last night with a defiant two-nil victory that left the Dublin boys with the near impossible task of having to score two away goals in Italy to even equalize.
The Italians were quick and graceful last night, and didn’t really give the Rovers a chance to even launch an attack in their side of the pitch.
De Oliveria Amauri was on form twice for the Italian side, with his first goal coming after just a few minutes on the clock, though most of the Juve fowards were dominant and Rovers were in truth lucky to get off with just a two- nil defeat.
Michael O’Neill, the Shamrock Rovers manager, betrayed his pessimism early in the game, saying “Our lads are young players. They're part-time players. Playing against players of that calibre, they need to settle into the game to get belief in their game. We never got that. We never got into the game long enough to get enough belief."
The second Amauri strike happened on the 75th minute and put the Dublin part-timers well and truly out of contention.
By the time the whistle blew there was no doubt who was the better side. "We could have been hammered 4-0 by a Welsh pub team," whined one unhappy Rovers supporter to Dublin’s Herlad newspaper, while another said that the team “couldn’t beat a bunch of old agers!”.
In the dressing room after the game was over, a tired looking O’Neill tried to encourage his players to learn some lessons from the encounter with the men from Turin: "At this level you can't waste time in terms of your recovery," he explained. "You've got to get back the shape of your team and make life difficult for the opposition. As good as Juventus were in possession of the ball, they made quick decisions in possession of the ball. They didn't allow themselves to be caught with the ball. At times I felt we were standing watching a wee bit," he said.”
Coming on the back of a sprightly victory against Israeli side Bnei Yehuda this defeat will likely come as a disappointment.
Team bookie William Hill is offering odds of 2500-1 for the side to win the Europa League.