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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Juventus reach knockout round with 3-1 win at Sevilla

AP , Tuesday 22 Nov 2016
Leonardo Bonucci
Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci, right, and Juventus' Moise Kean celebrate after Bonucci scored 1-2 during the Group H Champions League soccer match between Sevilla and Juventus at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Tuesday Nov. 22, 2016 (AP)
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Views: 1760

Leonardo Bonucci and Mario Mandzukic scored late to give Juventus a 3-1 win at 10-man Sevilla on Tuesday and a spot in the Champions League knockout phase.

Sevilla took an early lead when Nicolas Pareja struck a long-distance volley that Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon didn't appear to see as the ball skimmed through a crowded area.

Sevilla's Franco Vasquez was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession midway through the first half and Claudio Marchisio equalized with a penalty just before the break.

Bonucci and Mandzukic then found the net in the final 10 minutes.

Juventus, the five-time defending Serie A champion, leads Group H with 11 points, one more than Sevilla, the three-time defending Europa League champion.

Lyon is next with seven points after beating Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 in the other group game, while Zagreb is last with none.

Sevilla plays its last group game at Lyon while Juventus hosts Zagreb.

The build up to the match at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was marred when a Juventus fan was stabbed during clashes the night before the game in a confrontation at a bar near the city center.

Juventus was without prized forward Gonzalo Higuain due to a minor injury and Sevilla dominated early on, taking the lead when Juventus failed to clear a corner.

Buffon is rarely beaten from beyond the area, especially by a volley from a center back, but the goalkeeper's view of Pareja's shot seemed to have been obstructed by a crowd of players.

Pareja's only other goal in the Champions League came in his competition debut in 2006 with Anderlecht.

Still, Juventus' four-man defense appeared confused.

Juventus usually plays with a three-man back line but coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to shake things up with Andrea Barzagli and Medhi Benatia out injured and Giorgio Chiellini on the bench still working his way back to fitness.

About 10 minutes later, Sergio Escudero nearly doubled Sevilla's lead, shooting just over the bar at the end of a counterattack.

Sevilla dominated the opening 20 minutes and it wasn't until Mandzukic shot wide to waste a good look inside the area in the 27th that Juventus even threatened.

In first-half added time, Bonucci was held inside the area as he fought for position on a corner, resulting in Marchisio's penalty.

Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico was well positioned to stop Marchisio's poor spot kick but he let the ball go right underneath him.

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli was sent off early in the second half for protesting, having already irritated the match officials about the penalty before the break.

Despite the man advantage and dominating possession, Juventus struggled to create opportunities in the second half.

But then it was Bonucci's turn to be the center back who scored from long range. He too took advantage of a failed clearance to blast in a long, low effort that was slightly deflected — a near replica of Sevilla's opener.

Mandzukic sealed it by beating the offside trap and fooling a defender before curling a shot around the onrushing Rico.

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