Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa scored as Juventus saw off 10-man Freiburg to reach the Europa League quarter-finals, winning 2-0 in Germany to claim a 3-0 aggregate triumph.
Having established a slender lead in the Turin first leg, Juventus saw a Vlahovic effort disallowed for offside in Thursday’s rematch before Manuel Gulde was dismissed for blocking a shot with an outstretched arm.
Vlahovic stepped up to convert the subsequent 45th-minute penalty and ease any Juventus nerves, before Chiesa came off the bench to add gloss to the scoreline late on.
Juventus were ultimately comfortable as they booked a place in Friday’s last-eight draw, keeping hopes alive of European silverware – and qualification for next season’s Champions League.
HOW AWESOME IS THIS PHOTO? #SCFJUV [0-1] #UEL pic.twitter.com/ARIuDNj59m
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 16, 2023
Freiburg penned back Juventus early on as they looked to level the tie, with Matthias Ginter forcing Wojciech Szczesny into a flying save with a downward header 22 minutes in.
The visitors thought they had the lead five minutes later as Vlahovic volleyed in after Gleison Bremer’s header rattled the crossbar, but the Serbian’s celebrations were cut short when a VAR review ruled him offside.
Juventus had better fortune with another VAR review as half-time approached. Federico Gatti’s goal-bound shot struck the arm of Gulde as he attempted to block, earning the defender a second yellow card and allowing Vlahovic to score from the spot.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Freiburg continued to press after half-time, Michael Gregoritsch firing a free-kick wide before Szczesny turned Lucas Holer’s volley away.
Chiesa saw a stoppage-time effort tipped onto the crossbar by Mark Flekken as Freiburg tired, and the substitute had his goal less than a minute later as he drilled a low effort in off the left post.
10 – #Juventus have reached the Quarter Final stage of a UEFA European Competition for the 10th time in this Century, more than any other Italian team since 2000. Presence.#UEL #FreiburgJuve pic.twitter.com/EETmiCSMiV
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 16, 2023
What does it mean? Rescue mission on for Juve
Juventus’ season has hardly been one the club will cherish, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men suffering a humiliating Champions League group-stage exit and seeing a 15-point deduction leave their hopes of a top-four Serie A finish in tatters.
While a first major continental title since 1996’s Champions League win would be welcomed in Turin, lifting the Europa League may be a requirement to salvage their season, with a spot in next term’s Champions League the real prize in terms of financial gain.
Vlahovic ends drought
Vlahovic entered Thursday’s game looking to end a six-game goal drought across all competitions, with the striker’s recent displays attracting criticism in Italy.
The Serbian hit the post with a penalty in Sunday’s thrilling 4-2 win over Sampdoria, but he enjoyed more luck from the spot in Germany as Flekken failed to keep his effort out despite getting a touch to the ball with his legs.
Visitors hold firm
Freiburg’s task always appeared a difficult one after Angel Di Maria handed Juventus a first-leg lead last week, and the Italian giants have now progressed from 10 successive European ties when winning the first match.
Juventus’ most recent second-leg collapse came in the 2009-10 edition of the Europa League, when they were crushed 4-1 at Fulham after taking a 3-1 lead to Craven Cottage.
Juventus travel to San Siro to face Derby d’Italia rivals Inter in Serie A on Sunday, while Freiburg visit Mainz in the Bundesliga on the same day.
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