Champions League

Juventus relaunch last 16 bid

2013-11-28 00:06
Arturo Vidal (AFP)

Turin - Arturo Vidal scored a hat-trick, including two from the penalty spot, as Juventus relaunched their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League with a rousing 3-1 win over Copenhagen on Wednesday.

WRAP: Champions League

With Real Madrid securing first place in Group B after a 4-1 win at home to Galatasaray, Juventus replaced the Turks in second place on six points and now hold a two-point lead on both Galatasaray and Copenhagen.

Sitting bottom of the group with no wins from four games, Juventus's backs were firmly against the wall.

Antonio Conte's side ideally required a win against the Danes to relaunch what has been an uninspiring campaign, and after being frustrated on their way to a 1-1 draw in Copenhagen the Italian champions did not disappoint.

Juventus dominated Stale Solbakken's men from the outset, pinning Copenhagen back in their own half for most of the opening period.

And after half-chances by Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez went begging, Juve's nerves were settled when Swedish referee Jonas Eriksoon pointed to the spot for a blatant handball by Copenhagen captain Lars Jacobsen just before the half hour as Pogba looked to collect Pirlo's flighted cross.

Vidal made no mistake from the spot, beating Johan Wiland to the keeper's right hand side.

Juve looked dangerous for the remainder of the half but Pirlo failed to threaten with two free kicks from distance and when Kwadwo Asamoah collected deep on the left and laid off for Pogba, the Frenchman could only hit the side-netting.

Juve were in panic two minutes after the restart when a loose ball ricocheted close to goal before being cleared.

Copenhagen had evidently emerged with more purpose and were soon level but before then the Asamoah-Llorente-Tevez trident threatened again before the Argentinian fired over.

An Asamoah shot from the left was then tipped on by Llorente into path of Vidal, but the Chilean could not get purchase and his effort crawled over the bar.

A minute later, Copenhagen caught the Italian champions unawares after a throw-in from the right, Olaf Mellberg -- formerly of Aston Villa and Juventus -- slammed a loose ball past Gianluigi Buffon after Giorgio Chiellini and Llorente had blundered while rising for the ball.

Fears of an upset were allayed barely five minutes later when Llorente won a penalty, holding up the ball and being fouled by Mellberg. Vidal stepped up to beat Wiland for the second time to restore Juve's advantage.

Juventus virtually ended all hopes of a fightback by the Danes only two minutes later when Vidal timed his jump perfectly to meet Pogba's floated cross from the left to head past Wiland at the keeper's far post.

Minutes later, however, Youssef Toutouh forced Buffon down low to block at his near post with an angled strike and then another penalty box mix-up caused panic among Juve's defence before second-half substitute Claudio Marchisio cleared.

Juventus, however, dominated the remainder of the game with Pogba spurning a chance at the death to get his name on the scoresheet after skewing Pirlo's delivery wide from 20 metres.


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