Thursday, January 20, 2022

Juve coast into CL group stage

SoccerNews in Serie A, UEFA Champions League 26 Aug 2008

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Juventus cruised into the Champions League group stage following a controlled 1-1 draw against Slovakians Artmedia Bratislava on Tuesday.

That completed a 5-1 aggregate victory that ensured the Old Lady of Turin's return to the top table of European competition after a two-year absence.

Juventus were as good as home and dry following their 4-0 victory at home two weeks ago and left both Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet on the bench.

Artmedia faced an uphill battle from the off and the signs weren't good on 11 minutes when Czech veteran Pavel Nedved fired into the side netting from the left.

But the Slovaks responded in style a minute later through Branislav Fodrek, who met a cross from the right with a spectacular acrobatic bicycle kick to fire the ball past a static Gianluigi Buffon into the top corner.

Artmedia could briefly dream of making a game of it but Juve immediately upped the ante and on the quarter hour Amauri met a Nedved cross with a downward header that bounced up and came back off the post.

Two minutes after that and Vincenzo Iaquinta escaped through the middle but the ball got stuck under his feet and then he scuffed a weak shot into a defender.

The hosts' Brazilian forward Anderson showed his ability as he beat two players in midfield before lashing a shot from distance past the post.

But soon after that Juve were level.

And it was the same combination that had come within a lick of paint of restoring parity that did so on 25 minutes.

Amauri peeled off to the back post to meet a Nedved cross and his header back across goalkeeper Lubos Kamenar found the back of the net.

Juve were again in the ascendancy after the break as young midfielder Claudio Marchisio forced Kamenar into a smart stop and on the hour mark Nedved screwed a shot wide.

But Stanislav Velicky proved that Artmedia had not turned up just to lie down and he got on the end of a cross but couldn't direct his shot on target.

Thereafter, though, Juve controlled matters and barely had to break sweat to secure their passage to the next phase.

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