Champions League

Sturaro rescues Juve in dramatic Bayern draw

2016-02-24 05:08
Goal (AFP)

Turin - Super-sub Stefano Sturaro came off the bench to hit a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich as outclassed Juventus rescued their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.

Bayern dominated throughout a one-sided encounter at a packed Juventus Stadium and took a 43rd minute lead through Thomas Muller.

Arjen Robben doubled the Germans' lead on 55 minutes but the 2013 champions paid for a series of earlier misses when Paulo Dybala netted on the hour and Sturaro hit a dramatic leveller 14 minutes from time.

It leaves the tie delicately poised, although on this performance Pep Guardiola's men will be favourites to secure their last eight place after the second leg in three weeks' time.

Injuries to Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber forced Guardiola into a makeshift defence with Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba filling in at centre-back.

But Bayern travelled to Turin as the only foreign team to have beaten Juve at home in the past decade, and it was quickly apparent the lack of a solid centre-half pairing would not be felt.

Massimiliano Allegri admitted a day before the game he would settle for a scoreless draw against the 2013 champions, and fans soon got to know why.

Bayern dominated the opening period and Juve fans watched with silent awe as Bayern squatted in the home side's half, kept possession and limited any Juve forays past the centre circle.

Juventus had been gifted a half-chance in the opening minute when former Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic ran on to a long punt to fire a speculative shot at Manuel Neuer.

But, on their way to being denied a penalty when the ball came off Arturo Vidal's arm from Paul Pogba, the chances from there on were few and far between for the Italian league leaders.

Former Juve midfielder Vidal threatened with a crisp volley from the edge of the area that forced Gianluigi Buffon into a two-handed punch.

Then on 14 minutes Muller should have broken the deadlock only to miss a virtually empty net after Robert Lewandowski's pass from deep inside the six-yard box left Buffon scrambling.

Robben then cut in from the right side of the area but fired a half-volley just over.

Buffon was tested again by left-back Juan Bernat's crisp shot and moments later collected Joshua Kimmich's glancing header when he rose to meet a corner.

Douglas Costa's good work and persistence down the left flank finally paid off three minutes before half-time when he volleyed a ball into the box that Juve's backline failed to clear. It fell to Muller, who this time made no mistake from 12 yards out, rolling the ball past a desperate Buffon.

Bayern looked to be home and dry when Robben struck on the counter after a trademark cut inside from the right before curling home left-footed.

It took until 63 minutes for Juventus to launch their salvage operation, Dybala running down the right side unhindered to beat a splayed Neuer at his near post.

The stadium erupted and Juve immediately began to play with purpose. Mandzukic did well to help win back possession deep on the left before running upfield and offloading for Juan Cuadrado, but Neuer palmed the Colombian's drive over.

Allegri replaced Sami Khedira with Sturaro on 69 minutes and seven minutes later the stocky midfielder pulled the hosts level.

A Mandzukic cross found the head of Alvaro Morata and as Bayern tried to clear their lines, Sturaro burst in to ping the ball off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

Read more on:    bayern munich  |  juventus  |  champions league  |  soccer


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