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Del Piero propels Juve to victory

Published: Thursday 18 September 2008, 0.44CET
Juventus 1-0 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
Alessandro Del Piero fired in a dipping, swerving free-kick 14 minutes from time as the hosts made a winning return to the UEFA Champions League.
by Richard Aikman
from Stadio Olimpico
Del Piero propels Juve to victory
Alessandro Del Piero celebrates his free-kick winner in style ©AFP

Match statistics

JuventusZenit

Goals scored1
 
0
Attempts on target3
 
2
Attempts off target4
 
3
Corners6
 
5
Offsides0
5
Fouls committed23
 
24
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red Cards0
 
0
Possession (%)0
100

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:22 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 18 September 2008, 0.44CET

Del Piero propels Juve to victory

Juventus 1-0 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
Alessandro Del Piero fired in a dipping, swerving free-kick 14 minutes from time as the hosts made a winning return to the UEFA Champions League.

Juventus marked their return to the UEFA Champions League after a three-year absence with a narrow win against FC Zenit St. Petersburg which was earned by a trademark free-kick from Alessandro Del Piero.

Deadly Del Piero
Juventus had failed to find their spark for most of the Group H match, only really threatening the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup holders from set-pieces – but that proved enough. With 14 minutes to go, Zenit gave away one foul too many and Del Piero took full advantage, showing that he remains as dangerous as ever with the dead ball by lacing it into the roof of the net.

Welcome return
The players had enjoyed a rapturous welcome as the Curva Scirea erupted at the sight of their side emerging on to this stage for the first time in three seasons. For Zenit, though, this was also a momentous night. It was their UEFA Champions League debut, and a large flag depicting Andrei Arshavin with a finger to his lips was a warning to the hosts. The Zenit No10 began brightly too, orchestrating a sweeping move from which the visitors should have scored eleven minutes in. Danny charged upfield, supported by Pavel Pogrebnyak who crossed to the far post; Igor Denisov headed the ball back across goal, where Danny somehow screwed it wide with only Gianluigi Buffon to beat.

Sissoko drive
Juventus were subdued until, after 15 minutes, they stated their intent: Del Piero picked out David Trezeguet's run with a pinpoint cross which the Frenchman glanced wide. Del Piero looked lively, his close control and trickery providing a marked contrast to Mohamed Sissoko's rugged style, although it was the latter's tough tackling and midfield drive which helped swing the momentum the way of the hosts. They almost took the lead on 26 minutes when Mauro Camoranesi's near-post header hit the post following Del Piero's curled free-kick. Camoranesi had also caught the eye but his premature exit, after a knock to his calf, stymied Juve's creativity.

Stilted
On an uneven-looking pitch, Claudio Ranieri's men struggled to string their passes together and with invention at a premium the Italian side began resorting to route one. Trezeguet fired over after 51 minutes after running on to Buffon's clearance. Zenit, meanwhile, had been limited to shots from distance, with Danny's hopeful 33rd-minute effort never really troubling the Italy No1, yet after the break Dick Advocaat's team showed greater purpose. Aleksandr Anyukov, Denisov and Danny all found space down the right only for their crosses to be repelled each time. But for Buffon, though, a Russian breakthrough would have arrived after 56 minutes: Radek Šírl controlled Arshavin's low pass superbly but was smothered by the quick reactions of the outrushing keeper.

Del Piero strike
The Bianconeri's only real menace appeared to stem from set-pieces, and they came close to grabbing the advantage when Pavel Nedvěd's free-kick was flicked on by Christian Poulsen and Vyacheslav Malafeev saved brilliantly at the far post. Zenit failed to heed the warning, however, as Nedvěd was brought down 30 metres out; this time Del Piero stepped up and, for once, Malafeev could not intervene.

Last updated: 18/09/08 10.12CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15276/match=302695/postmatch/report/index.html#del+piero+propels+juve+victory

Lineups

juventus

Juventus

zenit

Zenit

1
BuffonGianluigi Buffon (GK)
16
MalafeevVyacheslav Malafeev (GK)
3
ChielliniGiorgio Chiellini
4
KrižanacIvica Križanac
10
Del PieroAlessandro Del Piero (C)
Goal76
8
PogrebnyakPavel Pogrebnyak
Yellow Card18
11
NedvědPavel Nedvěd
10
ArshavinAndrey Arshavin
16
CamoranesiMauro Camoranesi
Substitution32
11
ŠírlRadek Šírl
Yellow Card68
17
TrezeguetDavid Trezeguet
Substitution87
18
ZyryanovKonstantin Zyryanov
Substitution80
18
C. PoulsenChristian Poulsen
19
DannyDanny
21
GrygeraZdeněk Grygera
22
AnyukovAleksandr Anyukov
22
SissokoMohamed Sissoko
27
DenisovIgor Denisov
28
MolinaroCristian Molinaro
Substitution57
28
PuygrenierSébastien Puygrenier
33
LegrottaglieNicola Legrottaglie
44
TymoshchukAnatoliy Tymoshchuk (C)

Substitutes

13
ManningerAlexander Manninger (GK)
1
ČontofalskýKamil Čontofalský (GK)
4
MellbergOlof Mellberg
2
RadimovVladislav Radimov
7
SalihamidžićHasan Salihamidžić
Substitution32
Yellow Card84
5
Kim Dong-JinKim Dong-Jin
8
AmauriAmauri
Substitution87
7
DomínguezAlejandro Domínguez
Substitution80
9
IaquintaVincenzo Iaquinta
14
HubočanTomáš Hubočan
19
MarchisioClaudio Marchisio
20
FayzulinViktor Fayzulin
29
De CegliePaolo De Ceglie
Substitution57
25
RicksenFernando Ricksen

Coach

Claudio Ranieri (ITA) Dick Advocaat (NED)

Referee

Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Assistant referees

Peter Hermans (BEL), Alex Verstraeten (BEL)

Fourth official

Peter Vervecken (BEL)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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