Bradley Wright-Phillips missed his penalty as Juventus beat the MLS All-Stars 5-3 in a shootout at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday night after the two sides were tied 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Andrea Favilli opened the scoring in the 21st minute, only for local hero Josef Martinez, who was named MVP of the match, to bundle home from a goalmouth scramble five minutes later.
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The two teams traded chances thereafter, but neither side could find a breakthrough. In the shootout that followed the teams traded conversions through the first three rounds before the All-Stars Wright-Phillips saw his shot bounce off the post. Mattia De Sciglio then converted his attempt to give Juventus the victory.
Much of the pregame hype centered on the players that were absent as opposed to those present. The LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic opted to skip the event, while Juventus’ contingent of players who reached the knockout stages of the World Cup — including new signing Cristiano Ronaldo — were back in Turin having just started preseason.
Nonetheless, the match proved to be plenty entertaining, with each side generating chances in front of a crowd of 72,317, an MLS All-Star Game record.
The Bianconeri went on top on a relatively simple play. Matheus Pereira was left in plenty of space on the left wing, and his cross was redirected by Favilli via a glancing header to put the visitors up 1-0.
It didn’t take the All-Stars long to respond. Wojciech Szczesny pushed Carlos Vela’s volley onto the bar, but Ignacio Piatti was first to the rebound. His header went across the face of goal, but Martinez — risking life, limb, and a boot to the face — was on hand to nod home from close range, to the delight of those Atlanta United supporters in attendance.
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Szczesny was sharp again in the 39th minute, parrying away a volley from substitute Ezequiel Barco.
Alberth Elis was denied by Juventus keeper Mattia Perin in the 46th minute, but overall the pace cooled in the second half, due in part to a parade of substitutions.
Both teams had chances to win the match late. Diego Valeri had a golden opportunity to put the home side ahead in the 82nd minute, but his goal-bound shot was cleared by Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia. Luca Clemenza’s rebound attempt from his own free kick flew just wide deep into second half stoppage time.
Penalties ensued with De Sciglio playing the role of hero to give Juventus the victory.