04.11.2014 23:09 - in: Champions League S

    Rousing Juve response reignites UCL hopes

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    Two goals in 46 second-half seconds enable Juventus to draw level on points with Olympiacos following this evening's 3-2 win over the Greek outfit in Turin

    Two goals in 46 second-half seconds enabled to breathe new life into their Champions League campaign with a 3-2 win over Olympiacos on a scintillating night of European football at Juventus Stadium.

    All seemed to be going according to plan when Andrea Pirlo raised the roof in Turin courtesy of a trademark free-kick on 21 minutes, only for the visitors to draw level 180 seconds later as Alberto Botia nodded home from a corner.

    Another header, this time from Delvin Ndinga, turned the game on its head just past the hour-mark, but substitute Fernando Llorente pulled the Bianconeri level four minutes later with a header that ricocheted off the post and then Roberto before trickling over the line.

    With the wind now fully in the hosts’ sails and an electric atmosphere at Juventus Stadium propelling them further forward, Paul Pogba slammed home from the edge of the area on 66 minutes to complete a pulsating comeback that takes the Bianconeri level on points with the Greeks in second place of Group A.

    Operating with a back four for the first time this season, Juventus began with plenty of purpose and vigour, taking the game to Olympiacos from the very first instance.

    Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez looked particularly bright in the opening stages, but it was Claudio Marchisio, deployed behind the front two, who fashioned the first genuine chance on goal with a rocket from range that was touched over the bar by Roberto on 14 minutes.

    Two minutes later, Olympiacos fired a warning sign of the counter-attacking potential that caught the Bianconeri cold in Athens, but this time Ibrahim Afellay’s low strike from distance was comfortably fielded by Gigi Buffon.

    With the Bianconeri continuing to press, Pogba’s skill earned a free-kick 25 yards from goal -  perfect territory for Pirlo. And so it proved when the midfield maestro stepped up to pick out the top corner with a trademark set piece, his second in as many games, to send Juventus Stadium into raptures.

    However, there was barely time for the hosts to celebrate taking the lead, as Olympiacos immediately dusted themselves down to draw level within 180 seconds. Botia it was who did the damage, rising highest to head Alejandro Domínguez’s across goal and into the far corner.

    Back came Allegri’s men and Morata will perhaps felt he should have done better when sent through on goal by Tevez, dragging his shot wide of the mark under pressure from chasing defenders with 30 minutes played.

    As the first half drew to a close, Pogba, making his 100th Juventus appearance in all competitions, also had an opportunity to restore the lead but was unable to guide a low attempt on target after wriggling his way into a promising position on the edge of the box.

    Olympiacos regrouped at the break and controlled possession during the opening stages of the second half, but with Tevez continuing to hassle and harry in forward areas, Juventus remained a threat. The Argentine it was who broke from deep to send Arturo Vidal in on goal, only for the midfielder to unselfishly return the ball to his fellow South American and hand the visitors the chance to clear their lines.

    There was to be no similar reprieve for Gigi Buffon, who found himself picking the ball out of his net moments later when Delvin Ndinga nodded Giannis Maniatis’ cross into the top corner with 61 minutes played.

    This setback provided the stimulus for a rousing Bianconeri response, orchestrated first by substitute Fernando Llorente’s header, which hit the post and then Roberto before rolling over the line on 65 minutes, and then Pogba, who lashed an emphatic finish home from the edge of the area less than 60 seconds later.

    There was, however, to be further late drama in store when Vidal was thwarted from the spot in added time thanks to a superb Roberto save, but Juventus held on to revitalise their Champions League aspirations with a crucial three points. Next stop, Malmo.

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