02.10.2013 22:49 - in: UCL S

      Spirited Juve comeback foiled by late equaliser

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      An improved second-half display sees the Bianconeri overturn Didier Drogba’s opener through late goals from Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella, only for Umut Bulut to snatch a point for Galatasaray at the death. 2-2 in Turin

      The Bianconeri saw a spirited comeback go up in smoke as Umut Bulut’s last-gasp equaliser denied them all three points from this evening’s Group B Champions League clash with Galatasaray at Juventus Stadium.

      Faced with the challenge of overturning Didier Drogba’s 36th minute opener, Antonio Conte’s men rose to the task and saw their courage rewarded with two goals in the final 12 minutes from Arturo Vidal and substitute Fabio Quagliarella.

      But there was to be further late drama in Turin, with Bulut stealing in at the dying embers to cruelly deny the hosts their first European victory of the season.

      Conte elected to make just two changes from Sunday’s Derby della Mole triumph over inter-city rivals Torino, restoring Andrea Pirlo to the heart of the Bianconeri midfield and giving Mirko Vucinic the nod as Carlos Tevez’s partner in attack, with Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco both making way.

      Juventus started brightly, promptly setting about their opposition in an efficient manner whilst looking to deny the likes of Wesley Sneijder any time to pull the strings from his position behind the front two.

      But for all the managerial upheaval surrounding the visitors in the previous seven days, they stuck to their task admirably and could have taken the lead when Didier Drogba drilled a low effort towards Gigi Buffon’s near post on 19 minutes, with the goalkeeper getting down well to block the Ivorian’s attempt.

      Despite enjoying a positive introduction to the game, it was another striker, the returning Vucinic, who was forced to depart the action midway through the first half after pulling up when chasing a raking through ball over the top.

      His replacement Quagliarella almost had the opportunity to make an instant impact within minutes of entering the fray, but found himself hounded out by a mass of Galatasaray shirts inside the six-yard box as he attempted to turn Tevez’s cutback goalwards.

      Yet for all Juve’s endeavours to break down their opponents, it was the visitors who held firm before seizing the advantage, Drogba capitalising on Bonucci’s loose backpass to round Buffon and roll the ball over the line to give them the lead on 36 minutes.

      Not ones for licking their wounds, Juventus came out all guns blazing. Tevez had Fernando Muslera scrambling with a fizzing effort from just outside the box that arrowed into the side netting, while Kwadwo Asamoah and Quagliarella each drew saves from the goalkeeper on the stroke of half-time.

      A spirited start to the second period saw the Bianconeri go close to finding their way back into the game on several occasions. Asamoah tried his luck with an attempt that rose just over the crossbar, while Tevez resumed his duel with Muslera, firing in a low effort which was comfortably gathered by the Galatasaray custodian.

      Moments later it was Vidal’s turn to crank up the heat at Juventus Stadium with two magnificent long-range piledrivers in as many minutes that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

      With just over 20 minutes remaining, Conte opted to increase his attacking options by bringing on Fernando Llorente in place of Bonucci. And the Spanish forward’s introduction almost paid instant dividends when he towered at the back post to meet Asamoah’s inviting cross from the left flank, only to plant his header over the bar.

      But the one-way traffic eventually took its toll on the tiring Galatasaray defence when Quagliarella’s quick footwork drew a foul from Nourredine Amrabat, prompting Viktor Kassai to award a penalty which was duly converted with aplomb by Vidal on 78 minutes.

      Sensing the opportunity for all three points was there for the taking, Juventus bombed forward and saw their all-out attack approach rewarded when Quagliarella stooped to head Pirlo’s pinpoint cross home with four minutes remaining.

      Yet there was to be one further twist in the tale as, within two minutes of going behind, Galatasaray got back on level terms, Drogba feeding substitute Bulut to shoot past Buffon and secure a share of the spoils for the visitors.

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