RC Deportivo La Coruña moved closer to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as goals either side of the break from Diego Tristán and Djalminha secured a 2-0 win against Juventus FC on Wednesday.
If the defeat was not already painful enough for the Italian side, substitute Edgar Davids was sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence, both for arguing with referee Anders Frisk. Deportivo now move to the top of Group D with seven points from four games with Arsenal FC second after their 4-1 win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Juventus have been impressive since the turn of the year in Serie A, moving into title contention alongside AS Roma and Internazionale FC after a run of victories, but in Europe they have failed to find their feet since overwhelming Leverkusen 4-0 on Matchday Seven. After a disappointing display in Turin last week, coach Marcello Lippi shunned his normal four-man defence in favour of a more attacking formation, with three central defenders and wing-backs Alessandro Birindelli and Gianluca Pessotto pushing up on the flanks.
It was to prove his side's downfall. Enrique Romero and Fran González repeatedly found gaps down the left and that was mirrored by Sergio González and Víctor Sánchez on the opposite flank. Juventus had already been warned moments earlier when, in the eighth minute, Sergio escaped down the right, crossed into the middle and Tristán got away from his marker to head powerfully past Gianluigi Buffon.
Feeding on scraps
Pavel Nedved was supposed to bring some creative guile to Juventus's attack after missing the game in Turin with a suspension, but Mauro Silva was more than his match. The veteran Brazilian was a powerhouse in front of the Deportivo defence, constantly picking the pockets of the Juventus strikeforce before playing simple balls forward. The intelligent Juan Valerón, too, was a menace to the Italians, dropping deep to collect the ball and leaving the visitors frustrated and confused. David Trezeguet and Alessandro del Piero were forced to feed on scraps.
Davids sees red
After the break, Lippi attempted to repair the damage by returning to four at the back, taking off Paolo Montero and Enzo Maresca and bringing on Edgar Davids and Antonio Conte. It worked to begin with, Juventus gaining more of a foothold in midfield with the battling substitutes playing a key role, but that was before Davids saw red.
Djalminha in control
From then on it was all about Deportivo and Valeron's replacement, Djalminha. After seven minutes on the pitch, the Brazilian lost Pessotto in the box and latched on to a Sergio cross from the right to take the game beyond the visitors. Trezeguet had a sight of goal in the dying minutes as Juventus soaked up wave upon wave of home pressure, but he skewed his shot wide.
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