Juventus
    05.12.2017 23:05 - in: Match report S

    Juve through to the last 16!

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    The Bianconeri book their place in the Champions League knockout rounds after beating Olympiacos 2-0 in Athens

    Juventus will be in the Champions League last 16 draw next Monday after coming away from Tuesday night’s final Group D game against Olympiacos with a 2-0 victory.

    Goals by Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi either side of half-time were enough to secure the win that the Bianconeri required to make completely sure of their place in the knockout rounds for a fourth consecutive season.

    CUADRADO’S CRUCIAL INTERVENTION

    From the kick-off, Juve embarked on a number of free-flowing passing moves: in the seventh minute, Mattia De Sciglio and Paulo Dybala linked up nicely down the right, La Joya curling an effort towards the far corner to bring out a smart save from Silvio Proto.

    And the Bianconeri built on their bright start with the opening goal on the quarter-hour mark with a well-worked team move: Blaise Matuidi played the ball out left to Alex Sandro, who capped off a strong run to the byline with a precise cross into the box that Juan Cuadrado obligingly tapped into an empty net.

    Juve had their lead, but they instantly showed intent on extending it: Cuadrado was very nearly played through by Gonzalo Higuain only for Proto to clear the danger. Then Pipita pulled the trigger in the box after showing some great close control, but the Argentine’s effort was deflected out for a corner.

    OLYMPIACOS UP THE ANTE

    Kept at arm’s length for the majority of the first half, Olympiacos began to pose an attacking threat just minutes before the break and Wojciech Szczesny – making his first Champions League appearance for Juventus – did brilliantly to block Uros Djurdjevic’s header from point-blank range.

    The Greek champions brought on former Germany international, Marko Marin, for the start of the second half and the substitution seemed to breathe new life into the hosts’ cause.

    The winger was at the heart of Olympiacos’ best chance of the match so far on 58 minutes, when he broke forwards into the box and forced Szczesny into an excellent reflex save.

    Felipe Pardo had been enjoying a certain degree of freedom down Olympiacos’ right side and the Colombian fired an effort from the most acute of angles into Szczesny’s embrace.

    The hosts came closest to equalising in the 81st minute, when El Fardou Ben Nabouhane headed against the crossbar, but this was the Bianconeri’s night.

    BERNARDESCHI’S BIG MOMENT

    After soaking up sustained pressure down the other end of the field, Juve ended up doubling their lead in the final minute of regulation time through second-half substitute, Bernardeschi.

    Picking up the ball on the right wing, Berna cut in on his left foot to send a stinging drive past Proto and inside the far post for his first ever Champions League goal.

    With Barcelona beating Sporting CP 2-0 in Group D’s other game, Massimiliano Allegri’s men were now able to reflect on a job well done after meeting their first objective of the season.

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