Post subject: Higuain leads Juventus to victory
27. Sep 2017, 22:18
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|Juventus got their Champions League campaign back on track thanks to a 2-0 win over Olimpiacos at the Allianz Stadium.
After a three-goal defeat to Barcelona on matchday one, the Bianconeri were in need of a victory at home.
They were dealt an early blow as Miralem Pjanic was injured in the warm up, so Rodrigo Bentancur was a late replacement for the Bosnian. While, Gonzalo Higuain was left on the bench for the second consecutive match.
Not that it mattered as Higuain came on after an hour and had scored within nine minutes, then Mario Mandzukic doubled the lead with 10 minutes left.
There was also a landmark for Gianluigi Buffon who became the first Italian footballer to reach 110 appearances in modern Champions League history.
As expected Juventus had most of the ball, but the Greek side were dangerous on the counter-attack and had the first real chance of the game.
A poor pass from Alex Sandro was pounced upon by Olympiacos and eventually the ball founds its way to Seba, who blasted over the bar from close range.
Buoyed from that early chance, a dinked ball to the back post was halfheartedly cleared to the edge of Juventus’ penalty area, but Diogo Figueiras was unable to get his strike on target.
Eventually Juventus settled and started to cause some issues of their own. Juan Cuadrado crossed to the back post and Mario Mandzukic was denied by the reflexes of Silvio Proto.
The Olimpiacos goalkeeper had to be at his best again, this time producing an excellent stop against Stefano Sturaro’s downward header.
Paulo Dybala missed a guilt-edged chance as the ball fell to the Argentinian just inside the box, but scuffed the shot he tried to curl into the top corner, and Proto made a decent save.
Then the best opportunity of a frustrating first half came as Bjorn Engels deflected Douglas Costa’s low cross onto his own upright.
Juventus started the second period as they finished the first, and Dybala laid off a free kick to Douglas Costa who could only blast just wide. The Argentine also glanced a header off target.
Still looking for a goal, the turning point came on the hour mark as Cuadrado was replaced by Higuain. It took the €90 million man nine minutes to opening the scoring.
Mandzukic played a lovely ball behind the defence for Alex Sandro, whose low cross was volleyed into a defender by Higuain, but he was alert and made no mistake with the rebound.
Higuain looked to turn provider as he sent Dybala in on goal, but his chip over the goalkeeper was cleared off the line by Engels only to hit Mandzukic and end up in the back of the net.
Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Sporting CP, means Juventus are third in Group D on goal difference.