Juventus and Villarreal drew 1-1 in a match marred by an injury to United States midfielder Weston McKennie. Dusan Vlahovic scored the fastest-ever Champions League goal by a debutant starter.
Vlahovic, a Serbian international, joined the Bianconeri in January after a phenomenal 18 months with Fiorentina, and immediately proved his worth on Europe’s greatest stage, scoring just 32 seconds.
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Vlahovic gathered Danilo’s long ball and fired with his weaker left foot past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
On 66 minutes, Villarreal equalised when Dani Parejo scored from close range.
Etienne Capoue’s cross was played in from close range.
The early goal put Juve in command, and they kept Villarreal at bay for the duration of the game. Arnaut Danjuma came closest for the hosts, but Wojciech Szczesny saved his improvised backheel.
On 38 minutes, McKennie came close to adding a second goal for Juve, but his effort was stopped by Villarreal defender Raul Albiol.
Juve, who were eliminated in the round of 16 the previous two seasons by Lyon and FC Porto, failed to build on their early lead and allowed Villarreal back into the game.
Unai Emery’s team equalised through Parejo and then appeared to be the more likely to grab the lead as their confidence mounted.
Adrien Rabiot was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card for a terrible challenge on Samuel Chukwueze on 73 minutes, while McKennie was forced off eight minutes later with an ankle injury. McKennie suffered fractures to the second and third metatarsals in his left foot, which will keep him out of the game for 8-12 weeks, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge of the incident.
Vlahovic said after the draw that he was pleased with his goal but unhappy not to have won.
“My goal has come true at Juve,” Vlahovic told Mediaset, “but I’m not happy since we didn’t win, and we all really wanted to win today.” “We’ll move on because it didn’t happen.
“I believe we did everything we had planned in the locker room, but a lot depends on the opposition. We congratulate Villarreal on their success, and we sought to keep going in the same direction.
“I’ve already forgotten about this game; all we have to do now is look forward to the next one.”
The return game will be held at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium on March 16.