Juventus
    16.03.2016 23:55 - in: Match report S

    Juve bow out with heads held high

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    Bayern Munich prevail in a pulsating last 16 second-leg tie with the Bianconeri, winning 4-2 after extra-time at the Allianz Arena

    A brave performance in Bavaria by the Bianconeri saw them come within two minutes of beating Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, but two extra-time goals from the hosts ultimately sealed a 4-2 win that sees the Germans reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

    With the tie dramatically poised at 2-2 from the first leg, Juventus began brightly and took a deserved fifth-minute lead when Paul Pogba swept home with his first Champions League goal of the campaign.

    As Bayern pushed forwards in search of an equaliser, the Bianconeri were always dangerous on the break and took the hosts by storm in the 28th minute, when Juan Cuadrado slotted past Manuel Neuer after Alvaro Morata had carried the ball halfway up the pitch in a brilliantly crafted counter-attack.

    The visitors came close to adding a third when Neuer somehow kept out Cuadrado on the stroke of half-time and, after the interval, Morata’s strike was deflected whiskers over the crossbar by David Alaba.

    For the remainder of the second half, Pep Guardiola ‘s men pressed persistently and eventually clawed their way back into the match through Robert Lewandowski’s 72nd-minute header before Thomas Muller levelled proceedings, thus extending the encounter by a further 30 minutes.

    Taking the momentum built over the previous 25 minutes into extra-time, goals from Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman ultimately handed Bayern a victory that puts them in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

    Knowing that they needed to score at least once on the night, the Bianconeri began on the front foot, with Pogba occupying a particularly advanced position and, after just five minutes, he tucked home coolly into the bottom corner following a mix-up between Alaba and Neuer.

    Already destined to be an attacking affair, the strike sparked a spell of end-to-end action, as Muller headed harmlessly into Gigi Buffon’s arms before Morata fired over the crossbar from an acute angle on the quarter-hour mark.

    On 22 minutes, the Spaniard very nearly doubled the visitors’ lead when Sami Khedira won the ball off Joshua Kimmich high up the pitch and fed the forward, who chipped sublimely over Neuer and in, only for the effort to be chalked off for offside, with mere centimetres between him and the last defender.

    Just six minutes later, however, Morata would play an integral role in Juventus’ second goal, as he skipped past four Bayern players from deep within his own half to the edge of Neuer’s penalty area and laid the ball into Cuadrado’s path, the Colombian sidestepping Mehdi Benatia before arrowing with pinpoint precision inside the near post.

    As Bayern bid to reduce the deficit before half-time, Buffon would produce heroics in the 42nd minute, diving low to his left to block Lewandowski’s point-blank drive.

    Just two minutes later, Neuer too exhibited the extraordinary in preventing Cuadrado from doubling his personal tally, denying the Bianconeri winger from a matter of metres.

    Massimiliano Allegri’s men started the second period as they began the first, looking to add to their tally, as Morata raced from the left flank into the box, but the final shot lacked sufficient power to trouble Neuer.

    His effort in the following minute, in contrast, was well-struck but was deflected only inches over the bar by Alaba’s foot.

    For all their pressure and possession in Juventus’ half, Bayern were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances, Buffon comfortably collecting Franck Ribery’s searching cross and Muller scooping over from range.

    In the 73rd minute, however, the hosts eventually broke down Juve’s resistance when Lewandowski guided Douglas Costa’s cross into the top corner from inside the six-yard box.

    From that point on, Pep Guardiola’s charges would not let up one bit in their pursuit of an equaliser and, following some stout Bianconeri defending, Muller shattered Juventus hearts by taking the game to extra-time with a header at the far post.

    Despite being penned back for long spells, Juve fashioned a fine goalscoring chance three minutes into the next half hour, as Stephan Lichtsteiner curled low towards the far corner, only to be thwarted by the gloves of Neuer.

    Having built up a certain degree of momentum from their goals at the end of normal time, the hosts continued to launch wave after wave of attack and took the lead when Alcantara scored following a one-two with Muller. Just two minutes later, they put the game beyond sight courtesy of Coman’s left-footed strike.

    While Champions League elimination naturally brings disappointment, Allegri’s men can keep their heads held high for the way they fought until the very end away to one of the tournament's favourites.

    Needless to say, the spirit and talent shown provides plenty of optimism for the remainder of Juve’s Serie A and Coppa Italia campaigns, with the hunt for a domestic double still firmly on.

    JUVENTUS

    Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra; Cuadrado (Pereyra 89), Khedira (Sturaro 67), Hernanes, Pogba, Alex Sandro; Morata (Mandzukic 71)

    Unused substitutes: Neto, Rugani, Asamoah, Zaza

    Coach: Allegri

    BAYERN MUNICH

    Neuer; Lahm, Kimmich, Benatia (Bernat 46), Alaba; Xabi Alonso (Coman 60); Costa, Mueller, Vidal, Ribery (Alcantara 99); Lewandowski

    Unused substitutes: Ulreich, Rafinha, Goetze, Rode

    Coach: Guardiola

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