MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images
Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain has hit out at critics who are “sitting on a sofa” following the team’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
A brace from Higuain put Juve in a commanding position in Turin before goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen completed an excellent fightback from Spurs.
Despite his goals, Higuain has come in for some flak after he was profligate with other opportunities. Afterwards, he posted the following message on Instagram:
“Good morning everybody,” it read, per Calciomercato. “It’s easy to talk after the game, sitting on a sofa or on a chair. Everything was perfect when we were 2-0 up but judgement changed too quickly after the 2-2. We don’t care about the noise, we’ll go to London to qualify for the next stage. I send a big hug to everybody who really loves Juventus.”
The result means the Premier League side are in a commanding position ahead of the second leg at Wembley, with the two away goals vital and momentum on their side.
Higuain was a topic for discussion after the game, and as journalist Nooruddean Choudry noted, the match was in keeping with his reputation:
Fair play to Higuain condensing his career into 45 minutes
Indeed, the Argentina forward has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in the game for a long time, and after joining Juventus in July 2016, he was key to their Serie A domination.
The criticisms of Higuain have come based on his displays on the biggest stage. The striker has missed key chances in a number of major finals for Argentina, most notably the FIFA World Cup in 2014, while he was also anonymous in the UEFA Champions League final last season having helped Juve get there.
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
After grabbing his first-half brace against Spurs, the striker missed a sitter to make it 3-0, and then on the stroke of half time he rattled a penalty against the bar with the score 2-1.
The Howler Twitter account had their say on the latter incident:
Howler Magazine @whatahowler
Smart of Lloris to tell Higuain it was a final before that penalty
Meanwhile, journalist Adam Digby was quick to defend Higuain based on the brilliant position he had put Juventus in:
Adam Digby @Adz77
Higuain scored twice in 8 minutes. If you’re still calling him a choker it’s not analysis, it’s to feed your narrative
Given the manner in which Juventus have defended this season, at 2-0 the game did appear to be done. And it was their sloppy work at the back that eventually allowed Spurs a way back in.
For Kane’s goal, the Bianconeri were static, while the usually peerless Gianluigi Buffon should’ve done more with Eriksen’s free-kick. So to lay the blame at Higuain’s feet for Spurs’ recovery feels harsh.
Goal’s Carlo Garganese suggested Higuain was Juve’s standout performer on a night when others didn’t produce:
Carlo Garganese @carlogarganese
And for those criticising Higuain. He was a monster tonight, Juve’s only player who performed despite being cast away in the middle of the Ocean on his own. Yes, he missed a penalty that was crucial in the tie but he was a one man attack tonight with no midfield behind him
While Higuain has sometimes faltered in big moments, there have been times when the striker has made huge contributions.
Last season he netted twice away from home in the semi-final first leg against Monaco, effectively securing Juventus’ progression into the final. The Bianconeri, you sense, will require something special from the Argentina man on the road again if they’re to keep their hopes of glory alive.