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NEWSOlympiacos 0 Juventus 2


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5. Dec 2017, 23:09

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 Post subject: Olympiacos 0 Juventus 2
#1PostPosted: 5. Dec 2017, 23:09 
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Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi found the net as an understrength Juventus clinched a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win away at Olympiacos.

Despite being without injured stalwarts Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, Massimiliano Allegri's side coped comfortably in Piraeus to reach the knockout stages for a fourth successive season.

While they needed two second-half goals to win the reverse fixture in Turin, Cuadrado's close-range finish in the 15th minute set them on course to complete the double over their Greek opponents.

Wojciech Szczesny, standing in for Buffon, who was ruled out with a calf complaint, was required to make two smart saves to preserve a clean sheet, though El Fardou Ben Nabouhane hit the crossbar as full-time approached.

But late substitute Bernardeschi capped a solid display by curling home a fine finish in the 89th minute, ensuring it was Sporting who dropped into the Europa League.

While Juventus finish behind Barcelona in Group D, the Serie A champions - beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid in last season's final - will be one of the second seeds to avoid in the draw for the next round.

Any concerns in the visiting squad about missing out on qualification were eased when the busy Cuadrado popped up in the right place to break the deadlock.

The Colombia international was left with the simple task of tapping home Alex Sandro's low cross from the left to score his fourth goal of the season but his first in Europe.

Silvio Proto had already turned aside a curling effort from Paulo Dybala before conceding, while an unconventional slide tackle from the Olympiacos goalkeeper prevented Cuadrado doubling both his and Juventus' tally midway through the first half.

At the other end, Szczesny enjoyed a comfortable ride in the visiting goal until Uros Djurdjevic forced him into a smart reactionary stop four minutes before the break.

The Poland international - who had fumbled his only other save during a tepid opening half - stretched out a leg to impressively keep out the striker's close-range header at the back post.

Olympiacos coach Takis Lemonis sent on Marko Marin for the start of the second half in the hope of inspiring his side to an unlikely comeback.

The change so nearly had the desired effect when the substitute broke clear of an attempted offside trap to get a clear sight of goal, only for the alert Szczesny to race from his line and smother his attempted chip.

The hosts felt they were also denied a clear penalty soon after when Bjorn Engels collided with Blaise Matuidi at a corner, though the contact appeared accidental as the Juventus player only had eyes for the ball.

When Ben Nabouhane sent a header against the woodwork in the 82nd minute, Olympiacos must have realised their luck was out.

Juventus rubbed salt in the home side's wounds too, adding a second before the final whistle as Bernardeschi – who had replaced Cuadrado in the 84th minute – found the far corner of the net with his left foot after cutting in from the right wing.


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