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Bonucci gets by with a little help from his friends

Leonardo Bonucci made it a memorable night for his friends who made the trip to Lyon as he fired Juventus to a 1-0 UEFA Europa League win.

The runaway Serie A leaders looked set to endure another frustrating night following their 2-0 reverse at Napoli on Sunday as Lyon provided dogged opposition.

But defender Bonucci popped up to slam home a corner with five minutes to play in the quarter-final first leg before vaulting the advertising hoardings to share the moment with the travelling Juventus fans – some of whom he knows personally.

“My celebration? It was aimed at some of my friends who were in the stands tonight,” he told Mediaset.

Juventus now have four clean sheets from five European matches since dropping down from the UEFA Champions League, bringing the tantalising prospect of a contesting a major final in their home stadium next month.

On the back of the Napoli loss, Bonucci questioned the team’s hunger, meaning he took particular pleasure in a largely workmanlike display at Stade Gerland.

“In the first half we struggled to find the right spaces to play our football, while after the break we didn’t risk anything other than on set plays,” the Italy international added.

“Lyon ran so hard in the first half, but in the second we were able to bring home a very important victory.”

Juve midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah also credited an improvement after the interval by Antonio Conte’s men.

He told Sky Sports Italia: “Above all in the second half we played well. The first half was alright, but we didn’t do enough of the movements we had practiced in training.

“We also did better out of possession and weren’t pushed back so much.”

Thu 3 April, 2014
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