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TURIN, Italy — Juventus scored twice in a minute to rescue a 3-2 victory at home to Olympiakos and keep its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages alive.

Paul Pogba netted his first Champions League goal in the 66th minute, moments after Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto had turned the ball into his own net.

Juventus could have improved the scoreline but Roberto finger-tipped Arturo Vidal’s penalty onto the bar in stoppage time.

“It was a very important match,” Pogba said. “We had to win and we did. Now everything depends on us. We missed a penalty but that happens in football. We have to continue to win and attack like we did tonight.”

Delvin N’Dinga had headed Olympiakos in front in the 61st to stun home fans, who started celebrating soon after when Juventus scored the quick double.

Juventus dominated the match and went in front in the 21st from a trademark Andrea Pirlo free kick in his 100th appearance in the competition, but the lead was wiped out within three minutes by an Alberto Botia header.

“We had a tough time settling into a rhythm in the early stages of the match but after equalizing we improved a lot and I am perfectly satisfied with my players’ efforts,” Olympiakos coach Michel Gonzalez said. “Let’s not forget that our rivals were Juventus.

“I am very proud of my players. We showed what we are capable of. Who knows, maybe that last save of Roberto might prove crucial and hand us qualification to the next stage.”

Atletico Madrid won 2-0 at Malmo to move top of Group A with nine points, three ahead of Juventus and Olympiakos.

Olympiakos won at home against Juventus two weeks ago, leaving the Italian club knowing that anything short of victory in Turin could leave it in on the verge of elimination from the group stage for the second straight season.

The heavy rain made it difficult for both goalkeepers and Roberto had to make two attempts in order to grab a curling shot by Pogba.

The Spanish keeper also had to react smartly to touch a long-range strike by Claudio Marchisio over the crossbar. There was nothing he could do about the opener, however.

Pogba made a surging run but was tripped on the edge of the area, as Olympiakos conceded a free kick right in Pirlo territory.

And the Italy playmaker didn’t disappoint, curling an unstoppable effort into the top left corner.

The lead lasted only until the 24th, when Gianluigi Buffon fumbled a cross and Botia headed in the equalizer from the resulting corner.

Juventus should have immediately restored its advantage but Leonardo Bonucci headed another Pirlo free kick over the bar.

Alvaro Morata then drilled inches wide of the right post, though he was tripped as he shot and could have won a penalty.

On the stroke of halftime, the ball broke to Pogba in a good position but the France forward fired wide of the right upright.

It seemed as if Juventus was going to be made to pay for its inefficiency in front of goal as Olympiakos took the lead against the run of play when N’Dinga headed home a free kick.

But the Greek club’s advantage was short lived. Juventus levelled in somewhat fortunate circumstances when substitute Fernando Llorente’s header took a deflection to bounce off the base of the left post before creeping into the net.

Pogba, in his 100th appearance for Juventus, turned the match around just 46 seconds later, taking advantage of the ball rebounding off a defender who tried to backheel it toward a teammate and drilling it into the bottom left corner.

 

 

 

The post Juventus Upends Olympiakos, 3-2 appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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