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Determined Depor ditch Juventus

Published: Wednesday 10 March 2004, 0.40CET
Juventus FC 0-1 Deportivo (agg: 0-2) Walter Pandiani's goal ends Juve's bid for a second successive final.
Published: Wednesday 10 March 2004, 0.40CET

Determined Depor ditch Juventus

Juventus FC 0-1 Deportivo (agg: 0-2) Walter Pandiani's goal ends Juve's bid for a second successive final.

By Graham Hunter at the Delle Alpi

RC Deportivo La Coruña inflicted a painful revenge for Juventus FC knocking them out of last season's UEFA Champions League by defeating the 2003 runners-up in both legs of their first knockout round encounter to advance to the quarter-finals.

Pandiani pounces
Deportivo's first-ever success in Turin came courtesy of Walter Pandiani's first-half goal and a magnificently competitive display of man-marking and tight defending in the home of catenaccio.

No luck
The match had barely taken shape before two key events changed the entire complexion of what had already seemed a demanding test for Juventus. Alessandro Del Piero had predicted before the match that Juve needed a "perfect performance". He might have added that they required a little luck too.

Del Piero injured
Already hampered by the absence of six potentially first-choice players through injury or suspension, it took only six minutes for Del Piero to limp off with an injury to his right leg. Until that point it had been curious to watch Marcello Lippi's drastically adjusted formation with Nicola Legrottaglie playing as the man marker on Juan Carlos Valerón in front of a three-man defence.

Valerón unhindered
Valerón, who ran the show in the first leg, was largely unhindered by the tactic, dragging the former AC Chievo Verona defender further and further down the pitch. And within six minutes of Fabrizio Miccoli replacing Del Piero, Deportivo had their vital away goal. From a loose ball deep in the Spanish side's half, the goalkeeper José Molina volleyed a long punt upfield. As Pandiani tussled with his Uruguay team-mate Paolo Montero, the defender inadvertently nudged the ball into Pandiani's path and his right-footed shot soared into the top corner.

Extraordinary moments
The teams exchanged half-chances, Pavel Nedved going close in the 22nd minute and Pandiani trying a spectacular overhead kick which screamed wide, before the game was lit up by two extraordinary moments. In the 32nd minute a deflected cross left Albert Luque free to line up a shot from just beyond the penalty spot. The chance was gift-wrapped to end the tie but a phenomenal lunging block by Ciro Ferrara - penalty-box defending at its best - prevented the goal.

Molina save
Four minutes later, from Lilian Thuram's deflected shot, Miccoli was unmarked and able to shoot fiercely from two metres out. However, Molina instinctively jumped to his right and showed great strength to parry the raging drive. Lippi was forced to shuffle his pack at half-time, substituting Legrottaglie with Gianluca Pessotto and switching to a 4-4-2 formation.

Brave defending
Juventus changed the pace in the second half and threatened, but Portuguese international Jorge Andrade was imperious at the back and made four crucial interventions in succession to keep the Italians at bay. Then Molina topped Deportivo's display with a fantastic save from Miccoli's 65th-minute free-kick, which had been heading for the top corner.

Late chance
When Stephen Appiah's powerful 27-metre shot cannoned back off the bar, it was evident that this was not Juve's night and Deportivo could have added insult to injury in added time when they broke away, but Nourredine Naybet's effort also hit the crossbar.

Last updated: 10/03/04 11.08CET

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