Juventus took a huge stride towards the UEFA Champions League last 16 after a dogged 1-0 win at Maccabi Haifa FC, whose fourth straight loss confirmed their elimination from this year's competition.
Mauro Camoranesi struck in first-half added time and his goal ultimately secured the points for Juve, who had the upper hand for large swathes of the contest but could not add to their tally. The win leaves them well placed to progress from Group A with a four-point gap over third-placed FC Bayern München, who lost at home to FC Girondins de Bordeaux, while the Israeli champions will look to overtake their German counterparts over the last two matchdays to secure the section's UEFA Europa League spot.
The visitors put pressure on their hosts right from the opening whistle and Nir Davidovitch was soon called into action, beating away Diego's sixth-minute shot and then tipping wide the same player's free-kick. However, Haifa survived the early pressure and then nearly took the lead themselves, only to be denied by some brilliant goalkeeping. A 28th-minute Yaniv Katan corner was headed down by Dekel Keinan and Vladimer Dvalishvili reacted fastest, flicking the ball over a prostrate Gianluigi Buffon, only for the Bianconeri No1 to claw the ball away to safety.
The game's overriding pattern soon reasserted itself as Davidovitch had to charge out of his goal to deny Amauri after the Brazilian striker was released by Diego. At the other end, Martín Cáceres's last-ditch tackle rebuffed Devalishvili before the Uruguayan made a telling contribution in attack on the stroke of half-time. Playing with a facial mask to protect his broken nose, Cáceres picked up Diego's sweeping pass before delivering an accurate cut-back which was met by Camoranesi. The Italy midfielder hit a firm first-time shot which took a slight but significant deflection off Dekel Keinan to beat Davidovitch and give the Serie A outfit a lead at the break.
With the knowledge that he had nothing to lose, Haifa coach Elisha Levi gambled on a more attack-minded formation as Mohamad Ghadir replaced Jhon Jairo Culma at the interval. In the 54th minute Amauri had an effort ruled out for offside before Diego, at the heart of all Juve's best work, flashed a shot wide of the post. The hosts' best, and final, chance came 13 minutes from time as replacement Lior Refaelov's telling cross beat the visitors' experienced back line, but eluded both Shlomi Arbeitman and Ghadir at the far post. The Italian side had settled for their lot and although Haifa pushed in the closing stages, they could not find a way past Buffon and are still without a goal or a point in this season's UEFA Champions League.