09.12.2014 23:11 - in: Champions League S

    Juve book spot in Champions League last 16

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    This evening’s goalless draw with the reigning Spanish champions enables the Bianconeri to wrap up a place in the competition’s knockout stages.

    A goalless draw with Atletico Madrid in this evening’s clash at Juventus Stadium took the Bianconeri into the Champions League last 16 as Group A runners-up on 10 points.

    Massimiliano Allegri’s men enjoyed the better of the affair as they took the game to the reigning Spanish champions from the very off but were ultimately forced to settle for a share of the spoils after the visitors held out to top the group.

    An intense start to the game saw the Bianconeri immediately exert early pressure on the Atleti rearguard but it was Diego Simeone’s men who carved out the first chance to open the scoring, Koke drawing a decent right-handed stop from Gigi Buffon on six minutes after breaking into the area from deep.

    Despite that early scare, Juventus remained positive in their approach and worked tirelessly to break down an Atletico team who seemed more than content to sit back and absorb early pressing before looking to break on the counter.

    A rare foray into opposition territory on 22 minutes enabled the visitors to create a half-chance for Jose Gimenez, whose looping header was pushed up and over the bar by Buffon.

    Back came the Bianconeri and after a Andrea Pirlo free-kick from 35 yards that arched wide of the target, Fernando Llorente directed his header straight at Miguel Angel Moya following Paul Pogba’s exquisite cross with the outside of his boot.

    But Atletico’s threat again reared its head as the first half drew to a close, with an increased spell of possession leading to an opportunity for Mario Suarez, who found Buffon equal to his drive from 25 yards with 42 minutes played.

    The intensity that characterised the first half understandably tailed off when both teams renewed hostilities for the restart, but Juventus continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock.

    This proved to be the case as first Pogba then Arturo Vidal tried their luck from just outside the area, only for Gimenez and Moya to repel their respective attempts.

    Another blockbuster strike from the French midfielder on 62 minutes proved too hot to handle for Moya, who needed two bites of the cherry to stop the ball before a clutch of defenders rode to the rescue.

    With the tempo now restored to the frenetic levels of the first half, Vidal was next to pull the trigger with little over 15 minutes remaining, this time drawing a smart save from Moya who caught cleanly whilst diving to his right.

    Despite continuous one-way traffic, further attempts to make inroads into the Atletico rearguard proved in vain as the game eventually fizzled out into its goalless conclusion.

    The result sees Juventus take their place among Europe’s top 16 teams for the second time in the last three years, meaning all eyes will be glued to Monday’s draw to discover the next stop of this season’s Champions League adventure.

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