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Juve give Ajax no way back

Juventus 0-0 AFC Ajax (agg: 2-1)
The visitors were given no chance to atone for their first-leg defeat in Amsterdam, with Juventus to meet Fulham FC in the next round.

Juve give Ajax no way back
Juve give Ajax no way back ©UEFA.com

Juventus will meet Fulham FC in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 after holding AFC Ajax to a goalless draw in Turin.

In a tactical encounter the Bianconeri placed the onus on protecting their first-leg lead and, though they came closer to scoring than Ajax, with Mohamed Sissoko hitting the woodwork in the first half, this will go down as a solid, resolute defensive display against visitors who seldom threatened to dent their 2-1 advantage.

For all that, Ajax began promisingly, with Siem de Jong and Christian Eriksen looking bright. Juve goalkeeper Alex Manninger was almost fooled by an early lob from Toby Alderweireld and then fumbled a corner into the path of Jan Vertonghen midway through the first half, encouraging further long-range, but tame, attempts from De Jong and Marko Pantelić.

The hosts, however, began to take control as the match wore on. Claudio Marchisio tested Maarten Stekelenburg with an early rasping shot before the impressive Sissoko's 16th-minute header from Diego's corner came back off the far post. David Trezeguet, on for the injured Amauri, blazed the rebound over from two metres out.

The Bianconeri ventured forward with caution and were most threatening from set-pieces. On 31 minutes, consecutive corners produced two headed clearances off the line by the visitors; Georgio Chiellini was first denied by Eyong Enoh before Nicola Legrottaglie was similarly frustrated by Eriksen. The Eredivisie outfit showed renewed purpose after the break, Pantelić heading over Demy de Zeeuw's corner on 48 minutes before Eriksen forced Manninger into a save.

Pantelić again tried his luck, after 63 minutes, cutting inside two defenders before firing over from 20 metres but Juve, whose captain Alessandro Del Piero's free-kick was tipped over by Stekelenburg, held firm, in spite of Urby Emanuelson's low, angled shot, which fizzed just wide in added time.