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02 Oct 2012

All square against Shakhtar

The Bianconeri play out an entertaining 1-1 draw with the Ukrainian champions at Juventus Stadium

The Bianconeri returned to Champions League action with an entertaining 1-1 draw against defending Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk at Juventus Stadium.

The visitors, who will have been well-briefed through Stanescu’s strong knowledge of the Italian game, took the lead on 23 minutes when Teixeira slotted home at the back post.

But Juventus stormed back with a quick-fire response two minutes later, with Bonucci driving Pirlo’s short corner into the roof of the net to bring the fans to their feet.

An edgy, yet intriguing second period saw both sides go close to nicking a winner, but the draw was probably the fairest result from this meeting of reigning domestic champions.

Antonio Conte retained ten of the eleven who ground out a impressive point in Juve’s opening Group E clash with Chelsea, with Matri’s inclusion at the expense of Giovinco the only change from September’s starting line-up at Stamford Bridge.

Juve began by controlling possession but were required to pay attention to Shakhtar’s well-known threat on the counter. This became evident after six minutes, when Rat’s cross from the left-hand side eluded the home defence and was blazed over by Mkhitaryan arriving late at the far post.

As the Bianconeri began to gain the upper hand – Marchisio hooking over after a fine pass from Pirlo – their visitors broke with pace to snatch the lead on 23 minutes. Willian, a thorn in the hosts’ defence for large spells of the evening, saw his persistence on the edge of the area pay off and laid the ball on for Teixiera to slot home at the back post.

But Juventus are made of sterner stuff and found themselves on level terms just two minutes later. In a move straight off the training ground, Bonucci caught the Shakhtar defence napping and spun off his marker to smash Pirlo’s low delivery beyond Pyatov.

Increased home pressure at the beginning of the second-half almost resulted in the Bianconeri edging their noses in front, only for Matri to see his shot blocked after good work from Lichtsteiner.

In fact, the Swiss full-back was Juve’s most useful outlet of the night, causing Rat several problems with his forages deep into Shakhtar territory.

Juventus continued to knock on the door but were frustrated in their attempts to find a way through the visitors’ stubborn rearguard. This frustration saw added bodies committed forward, a move they were almost made to pay for when Willian was found in space and placed a low shot inches wide of the post on 59 minutes.

Undeterred, the Bianconeri kept on probing and could have snatched the lead when substitute Giovinco – on in place of Vucinic – teed up Matri in the area. The striker’s attempt, however, was always rising and looped over to the visible relief of Pyatov. 

Buffon enjoyed a relatively quiet evening between the posts, but was required to make a solid stop on 73 minutes, parrying Srna’s dipping free-kick away to safety.

As Juventus swarmed forward in a bid to grab a late winner, the visitors almost silenced the home faithful with a last-gasp strike. This time there was nothing Buffon could do about Willian’s close-range thunderbolt, which rattled off the crossbar and looped behind for a goal-kick.

After coming through two tough tests unscathed, the Bianconeri will hope it will be third time lucky when they visit Danish champions Nordsjaelland later this month.


GOALS: Teixeira 23, Bonucci 25

Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Pogba 84), Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Matri (Quagliarella 65), Vucinic (Giovinco 58).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Lucio, Caceres, Giaccherini.
Coach: Carrera.

Pyatov; Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Hubschman, Fernandinho; Mkhitaryan, Willian, Alex Teixiera (Ilsinho 83); Luiz Adriano.
Substitutes not used: Kanibolotskiy, Stepanenko, Eduardo, Shevchuk, Kobin, Gai.
Coach: Lucescu.

REFEREE: Nijhuis (NED)
ASSISTANTS: Van Der Ven, Boonman (NED)
GOAL-LINE OFFICIALS: Van Boekel, Janssen (NED)

BOOKINGS: Lichtsteiner 42, Chiellini 73, Hubschman 76, Ilsinho 91