By Graham Hunter in Turin
Eighty minutes of potent, brilliant football gave Juventus FC a 4-2 victory against Real Sociedad de Fútbol at the Stadio Delle Alpi and kept Marcello Lippi's team top of Group D.
Yet a late attacking burst brought Real two goals and unsettled the Italian side, leaving their noisy fans wondering what might have been if Real had adopted a more positive approach earlier in the match.
The initial surprise was that Nihat Kahveci was left on the bench by Raynald Denoueix, with the Real coach opting to make a tactical change in the wake of a 3-1 Primera División defeat by Albacete Balompié at the weekend. Denoueix opted to play former Juventus striker Darko Kovacevic up front on his own, and switched to a five-man midfield.
However, Juventus coach Lippi - who watched the loss to Albacete - accurately pinpointed the weaknesses in the new formation, and his side's powerful start was rewarded with two goals in the first seven minutes.
Juventus were quickly at their opponents, putting Real under pressure and giving them no time to settle. The early domination paid off as early as the third minute as Mauro Camoranesi burst away from Xabi Alonso, Bittor Alkiza and Valeri Karpin on the right before releasing David Trezeguet with a defence-splitting pass. The French international striker rounded Real goalkeeper Sander Westerveld and rolled the ball into an empty net.
Juventus doubled their lead four minutes later, with their pressing play forcing the Spanish side into numerous errors. Lilian Thuram's clearance picked out Trezeguet and the striker controlled, turned and passed to Pavel Nedved in one silky movement.
The Czech Republic playmaker collected the lofted pass and swept a pass across Lionel Potillon to Marco Di Vaio. The striker, in the side because of an injury to Alessandro Del Piero, took his chance brilliantly, cutting back across Potillon and sending a fierce shot past Westerveld's left hand.
Real fight back
Lippi's side eased up slightly after their breathless start, relying on counterattacks during a 20-minute spell that saw Xabi Alonso probing for openings down the Juventus left while Kovacevic worked tirelessly against his former club but without success.
However, the home side continued to look the more likely scorers and Trezeguet should have made it three shortly before half-time only to miss from five metres, allowing Westerveld to save after Di Vaio had created a simple chance. Moments later it was 3-0, Di Vaio rising to head a superb cross from Gianluca Zambrotta into the net on the stroke of half-time after a surging run from the left-back.
Real began the second half looking more relaxed and might have reduced the deficit as Gabriel Schurrer's looping header dropped over Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, but Mauro Camoranesi was on hand to clear from underneath his own crossbar. However, seconds later it was 4-0, as last season's beaten finalists broke swiftly forward, with Nedved's left-footed pass splitting Alkiza and Agustín Aranzabal and finding Trezeguet, and this time the forward made no mistake.
However, Real pulled a goal back almost immediately, with Igor Gabilondo producing a firm cross and Juventus's Croatian central defender Igor Tudor diverting it powerfully into his own net.
Having introduced one attacking player, Javier De Pedro, Denoueix then brought on Nihat and the attacking move immediately paid dividends, as Paolo Montero fouled the Turkish forward on the edge of the penalty area and De Pedro scored from the resulting free-kick, but it was already too late.