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Juventus will have high hopes of reaching the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals after first-half strikes from Nicola Legrottaglie, Jonathan Zebina and David Trezeguet earned the Bianconeri a 3-1 first-leg victory against Fulham FC.
All the goals came before the break as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead inside 25 minutes thanks to Legrottaglie's header and Zebina's splendid individual effort. Although the Cottagers pulled one back through Dickson Etuhu's deflected shot, Trezeguet restored Juve's healthy lead on the cusp of half-time.
Juventus went in front on nine minutes after Mark Schwarzer reacted well to tip Trezeguet's glancing header wide. From the ensuing corner, Legrottaglie rose to power past the Australian goalkeeper. The visitors might have been level on 16 minutes when Damien Duff's run and cut-back found the unmarked Simon Davies, who completely missed his kick, but it was La Vecchia Signora who made the early running.
Alberto Zaccheroni's side were two up when Zebina received Antonio Candreva's lay-off, jinked past Jonathan Greening and Etuhu, and thumped a fierce angled shot in off Schwarzer's far post for only his second career goal. Juventus, though, conceded against the run of play when Davies' free-kick fell to Etuhu, whose shot deflected off Legrottaglie to leave Alex Manninger flat-footed.
Fulham briefly flickered into life, forcing Manninger to repel Brede Hangeland's header and hopeful strikes from Bobby Zamora and Zoltán Gera. However, moments before half-time Juve struck again from another corner after Fabio Grosso had forced a reaction save from Schwarzer. Trezeguet hit the post with his first attempt but reacted first to the rebound.
The Londoners threatened little after the break, despite Zamora and Duff occasionally finding room behind Grosso on the right, as a determined Bianconeri rearguard refused to yield space. Indeed, but for Schwarzer's save from Diego late on a frustrated Fulham team would have required more than the two-goal minimum they now need at Craven Cottage next Thursday for their European adventure to continue.
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