Vučinić rescues Juventus at Nordsjælland
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
FC Nordsjælland 1-1 Juventus
The Danish champions looked on course for their first ever group stage win but were denied nine minutes from time by Mirko Vučinić's volley.
Article top media content
FC Nordsjælland were denied a first UEFA Champions League group stage victory as Mirko Vučinić came off the bench to earn Juventus a point.
Mikkel Beckmann had put the hosts in front five minutes after half-time – their first goal in the competition – and the two-time European champions struggled thereafter to find a way past goalkeeper Jesper Hansen. Vučinić, though, ensured the Serie A leaders claimed a third successive Group E draw when he applied a sweet finish nine minutes from the end.
That late excitement was out of keeping with the start of a game that took time to get going. Both teams were tentative, mixing lax mistakes with more positive midfield work. With Vučinić beginning among the replacements after a bout of flu, the attacking partnership of Alessandro Matri and Sebastian Giovinco showed flickers of promise. Juventus set pieces proved to be another source of danger and Leonardo Bonucci was not too far wide with his headed effort.
When Nordsjælland started to make progress, Gianluigi Buffon leant heavily on his experience to keep them at bay, palming away a fizzing drive from Kasper Lorentzen. Joshua John, all alone behind the defence, had the goal at his mercy but Buffon, outside his area, showed all his qualities by blocking the attempted chip with his chest.
The match had acquired a good tempo and more goalscoring opportunities arrived as a result. The half ended with Giovinco belying his small stature to pose a big threat to the Danish champions' hopes of putting their first points on the board, finding the side netting after a typically dynamic surge.
Andreas Laudrup, son of Michael, a player of some distinction for Juve in the 1980s, acquitted himself well on his first start in the UEFA Champions League. Fittingly, it was he who won the free-kick that led to Nordsjælland's historic goal. Beckmann's execution was sublime as it curled around the wall and beyond Buffon's left hand.
Hansen saved brilliantly from a Giovinco header and then a Pirlo set piece, yet he had no answer to Vučinić's volley. A winning goal from Danish international Nicklas Bendtner would have added insult to injury but the Juve substitute was off target with a late header.