24.02.2015 23:02 - in: UCL S

      Advantage Juve in Champions League last 16 tie

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      Strikes from Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata earn the Bianconeri a 2-1 lead to take into March’s return leg with Borussia Dortmund.

      First-half goals from Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata gained Juventus a first-leg foothold in their Champions League last 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, with Marco Reus grabbing an away goal in a 2-1 win for the hosts.

      Thirteen minutes had elapsed when Tevez put the Bianconeri in front with a typical poacher’s goal, arriving first on the scene to sweep home a Morata shot that had been pushed into his path by Roman Weidenfeller.  

      But Reus was quick to silence a capacity Juventus Stadium crowd, profiting from a Giorgio Chiellini slip to send a firm strike cannoning past Gigi Buffon just five minutes later.

      Two minutes before the break, Juventus regained their advantage through the ever impressive Morata, who was on hand to convert after being picked out by Paul Pogba’s low cross.

      Despite both sides having chances to add to the scoreline during a second half that matched the first for its energy, the score remained locked at 2-1, meaning football fans will be in for an equally intriguing encounter when crunch time arrives on Wednesday 18 March in Germany.

      Recalled to the starting line-up due to his strong record in Europe’s elite competition, former Juventus and Torino frontman Ciro Immobile provided the first threat on goal after precisely 60 seconds, firing over from outside the box following a neat exchange of passes deep into Bianconeri territory.

      Massimiliano Allegri’s men soon settled into their rhythm and enjoyed a decent spell in Dortmund’s final third before pouncing on the counter when the visitors began to edge further forward.

      A neat one-two between Tevez and Morata sent the latter bombing forward and when his shot was pushed out by Weidenfeller, his Argentine strike partner was there to pick up the pieces and guide the ball over the line with 13 elapsed.

      The lead, however, would prove short-lived. There seemed to be little danger on when the ball fell to the feet of Chiellini 25 yards from his own goal, but an unfortunate slip allowed an in-form Reus to race through one-on-one with Buffon, and he made no mistake with a confident finish into the bottom corner.

      Aside from a Leonardo Bonucci header which lurched over the bar and a straightforward Buffon save following Nuri Sahin’s strike from range, clear-cut chances were few and far between as both teams tussled for possession during a closely-fought first half.

      Down on the touchline, both Jurgen Klopp and Allegri were forced to shuffle their respective packs early on, with Lukasz Piszczek making way for Matthias Ginter and Andrea Pirlo departing the action early with a calf strain, Roberto Pereyra his replacement.

      Just when it seemed that both teams were destined to go into half-time on level pegging, a Pogba cross from the left-hand side of the box picked out an unmarked Morata, who gleefully tapped the ball home for his first Champions League goal in the black and white stripes of Juventus.

      The frenetic pace that characterised the first half was maintained in the opening stages of the second, with Dortmund keen to get Immobile more immersed in the game. The striker had the chance to test Buffon with a shot on the turn on 56 minutes, producing a solid stop by the goalkeeper at his near post.  

      Down the other end Tevez dragged a shot inches wide of the post on 71 minutes after finding the narrowest of gaps among a congested group of bodies in which to pull the trigger.

      With the game opening up as Dortmund pushed for an equaliser, Immobile burst forward on 74 minutes and replicated his first-half long-range effort, clearing the bar with a fierce attempt.  

      Tevez again found himself at the heart of the action moments later, beating his man on the edge of the area before unleashing a shot which Weidenfeller pushed clear for a corner. From the resulting set piece, Chiellini planted his header over the top.

      One further chance to gain a real foothold in the tie fell the Bianconeri’s way with four minutes of normal time remaining, Pereyra dragging a left-footed strike agonisingly past the post after being sent through by Morata.

      In spite of failing to extend their advantage, Allegri will be content with the mature display put in by his men, who will be hoping to finish the job they started when the teams renew hostilities in three weeks’ time at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.

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