KRC Genk suffered a heavy defeat in Italy as Napoli beat them 4-0 in the final round of Champions League fixtures. The result was enough for Napoli to qualify for the Round of 16, but resulted in the Partenopei sacking Carlo Ancelotti.
For Genk, the likes of Mbwana Samatta, Paul Onuachu and Joakim Maehle were disappointing. Sander Berge was decent, as was Joseph Paintsil.
Rising Dutch star Matthijs de Ligt has finally ended months of speculation by officially opting to sign for Serie A champions Juventus. De Ligt was linked through out the summer to both Barca and PSG, but has chosen to further his career with the Bianconeri. He was an integral part of the Ajax side that reached the semifinals of the Champions League last season and beat Real Madrid, and somewhat ironically, Juve themselves, in the knockout stages of the tournament before being eliminated in heartbreaking fashion by Tottenham Hotspur. The reported value of the deal is £67.5m (around 75 million euros)
Tuttosport lead the way, dedicating their front page to the young defender. Gazzetta had a smaller welcome, but nevertheless had him on the front page, as can be seen below.
Here are the reactions from the Italian press after Erik ten Hag’s Ajax knocked out Max Allegri’s Juventus in Turin last night. Juve were the better rested side, but apart from the first 20 minutes, didn’t look like one as Ajax booked their spot in the last four of the Champions League for the first time in 20 overs. Ronaldo’s “throne” (see the GOT style headline before the game), was conquered.
The Juve side this year has been dependent on three players- goalkeeper Szczesny, defender Chiellini and striker Ronaldo. Chiellini was not available for this fixture, Ronaldo scored Juve’s only goal of the game and Szczesny produced several top class saves to prevent what could’ve potentially been a 5-1 or 6-1 to Ajax instead of the 2-1 they won by. A classic example of poor Juve defending was for Ajax’s match winning goal- a fantastic header from De Ligt, that saw him first to a corner despite two opposition players marking him.
Gazzetta went with the headline “Fine Corsa” (end of run), a play on the popular Juve phrase Fino alla Fine (until the end).
CdS went with “Apocalisse”- pretty self explanatory.
Tutto played tribute to the visitors, calling them “Grande Ajax” (Great Ajax). They carried a photo of De Ligt, unlike GdS and CdS, both of whom went with Ronaldo.
Ajax will now play either Man City or Spurs in the last four.
Here is a look at what the Italian papers have to say ahead of Juventus’ second leg Champions League clash against Ajax Amsterdam. The Bianconeri drew 1-1 in Amsterdam, and Ajax will be hopeful of doing a Bernabeu encore in Turin. Juve though will draw strength from their stunning 3-0 win over Atleti, and the architect of that magnificent win- Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gazetta ran a Ronaldo Game of Thrones newspaper headline today (My throne cannot be touched). The Portuguese superstar also features prominently in TS and CdS- he’s very much the face of Juve’s Champions League campaign in the press there.
There are also mentions of Conte being a potential target for Bayern as well as the Empoli goalkeeper (Dragowski)’s stunning performance to keep Atalanta at bay.