Juve in pole position after Sevilla success
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Juventus came from behind to win 3-1 at Sevilla, who played almost an hour with ten men following Franco Vázquez's red card, and go top of UEFA Champions League Group H.
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Juventus defeated ten-man Sevilla 3-1 to go top of Group H with one game to play.
The home team took the lead with their first attempt when Juventus failed to clear effectively a cross, allowing Nicolás Pareja to find the bottom corner with a precise volley.
The Italian champions bent but did not break, and had a couple of chances before Franco Vázquez left Sevilla with ten men after collecting two quick bookings. On the stroke of half-time Leonardo Bonucci was pulled down following a corner and Claudio Marchisio levelled from the penalty spot.
Juventus failed to create great opportunities in the second half but Bonucci again came to the rescue by volleying them in front before Mario Mandžukić scored an added-time third.
Key player: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)
The Colombia winger has been in great form for several weeks and tonight he was almost unstoppable on the flank, causing plenty of problems for the Sevilla defence with his runs. Massimiliano Allegri has often deployed him as a substitute to change games with his pace, but it will be difficult for the Juventus coach to leave out such a lethal weapon in the future, even when he has everyone back from injury.
Making the extra man count
Playing 11 against ten is obviously an advantage but you need to use it in the best possible fashion. Juventus won an important game at Lyon despite being a man down. Tonight Sevilla failed to do the same after Vázquez was sent off in the first half. Hats off to the midfielder's team-mates, who played with courage until the final whistle, but plaudits too for the expert way Juve waited with patience until the hosts tired and then punished them with two late strikes.
Cool heads needed
One of the things Sevilla demonstrated, besides their quality, in winning three straight UEFA Europa Leagues was maturity. They had setbacks, be it injury, suspension, being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, but simply set their sights on the next objective and achieved it. Here, however, first Vázquez then coach Jorge Sampaoli lost their cool and were dismissed; Juventus made them pay.
Graham Hunter, Sevilla (@BumperGraham)
Both coaches said they'd go for the match and we certainly got that. Passion, drama and, sadly, a sense that the very best of what the contest could have been was snatched away from us. Sevilla fought tigerishly to ensure Vázquez's red card didn't condemn them to a tough matchday six trip to Lyon, but there was just a slight overdose of passion and not quite enough ice in the veins. With Samir Nasri already absent, the loss of Vázquez meant Steven N'Zonzi, their player of the season thus far, was shackled into defending and that cut their tempo. This was fascinating and thunderous. But it could have been so much more, for both spectators and the home side.
Paolo Menicucci, Juventus (@UEFAcomPaoloM)
It isn't easy to face a team like Sevilla in their stadium when you're missing three centre-backs of the quality of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Medhi Benatia and three forwards of the ilk of Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala and Marko Pjaca. Juventus, however, proved to have enough depth to be competitive despite the absences. Playing 11 against ten for almost an hour made everything easier but confidence is growing and the Bianconeri can now win the section by beating Dinamo Zagreb at home.