FC Artmedia Petržalka's dream of repeating their UEFA Champions League adventure of 2005/06 died as Juventus completed a comfortable aggregate victory over the Slovakian titleholders by drawing 1-1 in Bratislava.
The last rites had already been read over Artmedia's campaign after their 4-0 first-leg defeat in Turin, yet Vladimír Weiss's team stirred briefly to take the lead on the night through Branislav Fodrek's 14th-minute goal. Normal service was resumed in this third qualifying round tie when Amauri equalised eleven minutes later. The 5-1 triumph sent Claudio Ranieri's side into Thursday's group-stage draw.
In Weiss's final match before devoting his energies full time to Slovakia's national team, a perfect send-off looked possible as Fodrek produced an acrobatic finish past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from Branislav Obžera's pass. Juventus's reply was instant: first Amauri headed against the post, next he nodded Pavel Nedvěd's brilliant cross beyond L'uboš Kamenár. Artmedia had overcome Celtic FC and FK Partizan to reach the UEFA Champions League proper three years ago, but Amauri's goal signalled the end of this latest attempt.
End to end
Even so, the 13,000 crowd at the Tehelné Pole Stadium witnessed a brave performance prompted by midfielder Obžera. Substitute Juraj Halenár might even have won the day with an 88th-minute chance that he squandered, although Kamenár pulled off a fine save from Amauri at the other end. The departing Weiss said: "A draw against Juventus is a good result. We may have to wait a number of years before another Slovakian club draws with a club the size of Juventus." With the Bianconeri returning to the group stage after a two-year exile, midfielder Nedvěd was satisfied with the outcome: "This is exactly what we wanted. Now we will do everything to get to the final in Rome."