Di Maria treble seals Juve's place in Europa League last 16

Di Maria treble seals Juve's place in Europa League last 16
Di Maria treble seals Juve's place in Europa League last 16
Di Maria treble seals Juve's place in Europa League last 16

Ángel Di María supplied the finishing touch, not once, but three times as Juve powered to a 3-0 win at the Stade de la Beaujoire to send Nantes out of the Europa League and the Bianconeri through to the last 16.

The Argentine grabbed two goals in the first half - the first an absolute screamer - and added a third late on as Juve dominated the play-offs second leg.


As expected, driven by the passionate home support, Nantes took the game to Juve in the opening minutes. However, the Bianconeri defence held the home attack at a safe distance and when they had the chance to break forward, they did to devastating effect.

Nicolò Fagioli intercepted a pass inside Nantes territory and quickly fed the ball forward to Ángel Di María. El Fideo swept a first-time shot over the stranded Albant Lafont.

What a start with just five minutes on the clock.

Nantes responded to going a goal down by throwing players forward, but never pierced the Juve defence. After absorbing the home side’s reaction, the Bianconeri again struck on the counter attack.

Di María received possession just outside the box. The number 22 dribbled his way to the edge of the six-yard box, only for his chip to be blocked on its way into the net by Nicolas Palois. The veteran central defender was shown a straight red card for having denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

From the resulting penalty, Di María sent Lafont the wrong way.

On 22 minutes the number 22 almost grabbed his hat-trick, which would arrive in the second half. The World Cup winner then picked out Adrien Rabiot with a pin-point cross, which the midfielder headed over from the edge of the six-yard box.

The visitors continued to keep the tempo high. Manuel Locatelli swept a shot from the edge of the box just wide of goal. In stoppages, Filip Kostić received a defence-splitting pass from Rabiot and shaped up against Lafont, who gratefully gathered the ball after the winger’s shot rebounded off the post.

Juventus emerged after the break with their concentration still at 100%, pinning the home team inside their own half for the first 10 minutes from the restart. Mattia De Sciglio had a shot blocked by Charles Traore after Lafont had saved from Di María. Kostić then had a volley saved.

The Nantes keeper made two more saves, point blank to keep out a Juan Cuadrado volley and Alex Sandro’s close-range header before Juve eventually scored a third.

With 11 minutes to play, Di María completed his treble. The Nantes defence failed to clear the danger and when Dušan Vlahović’s effort looped across the face of goal, El Fideo pounced on the loose ball. His header was parried by Lafont, but only after the ball had crossed the line.

Only when the referee indicated that goal-line technology had signalled the goal did Di María celebrate.

With qualification assured, Juve took their foot off the pedal as Nantes sought a consolation goal.

However, Wojciech Szczęsny was determined to take home another clean sheet and pulled off a spectacular one-handed save in stoppage time to round off a commanding performance.


Scorers: 5’, 20’ (pen) & 79’ Di María

NANTES: Lafont; Catelletto, Girotto, Pallois; Centonze, Sissoko (46' Moutoussamy), Chirivella (24' Traore), Simon (73' Mohamed); Mollet (73' Guessand), Delort (46' Ganago), Blas. Subs not used: Descamps, Coco, Knepe, Doucet, Corchia. Coach: Kombouaré.

JUVENTUS: Szczesny; Danilo (83' Bonucci), Bremer, Alex Sandro; De Sciglio (64' Cuadrado), Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostić (83' Iling-Junior); Di Maria (83' Paredes), Kean (64' Vlahovic). Subs not used: Pinsoglio, Perin, Gatti, Rugani, Soulé, Barrenechea. Coach: Allegri.

Referee: Sánchez.

BOOKINGS: Traore, Cuadrado


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