Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Juve rally to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win

VETERAN PLAYMAKER:Andrea Pirlo notched his 100th appearance in the tournament, a run which began when he came on as a substitute for Ronaldo for Inter in 1998

Reuters, TURIN, Italy

Claudio Marchisio, second right, Paul Pogba, top second left, and Alvaro Morata, bottom second left, of Juventus try to score against Olympiakos in their UEFA Champions League Group A match at Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Juventus scored twice in a minute as they came from behind to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win over Olympiakos after Andrea Pirlo had celebrated his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance by scoring from a characteristically effortless free-kick on Tuesday.

Pirlo’s heir apparent Paul Pogba scored the winner as Juve revived their campaign in Group A, although they could regret a stoppage-time penalty miss by Arturo Vidal which would have given them the better head-to-head record against the Greek champions.

As it was, Olympiakos, who had Juventus in real trouble when they took a 2-1 lead through Congolese midfielder Delvin N’Dinga in the second half, will come out on top if the two sides finish level on points thanks to their 1-0 win two weeks ago.

Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto gave away an unlucky own-goal to make it 2-2, but then turned hero again as he somehow managed to turn Vidal’s ferocious effort onto the bar.

Both teams have six points from four games, three behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

Pirlo, 35, slowly finding his best form, chalked up his 100th appearance in the competition, a run which began when he came on as a substitute for Brazilian striker Ronaldo for Inter against Real Madrid in 1998.

He made most of his appearances during a 10-year spell with AC Milan, winning the trophy in 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, although he also played in the 2004-2005 final when his side famously squandered a 3-0 lead to Liverpool

The bearded playmaker celebrated in style as he effortlessly curled in a free-kick in the 21st minute to give Juventus the start they needed after successive defeats to Atletico Madrid and Olympiakos, but Juventus, eliminated by Galatasaray in the group stage last season, were back to square one when Alberto Botia headed Olympiakos level three minutes later after goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon carelessly gave away a corner.

“The ball went a bit longer than I thought, so I decided to flick it on rather than risk catching it in those wet conditions,” Buffon told Sky Sport Italia. “The win was more than we deserved, as we conceded from two set-pieces it would have been too harsh a punishment for us considering how many chances we created over the two matches.”

Juventus, who swapped their usual 3-5-2 for a four-man defense and a diamond midfield, should have been ahead at halftime, but missed a flurry of chances.

Alvaro Morata was sent clear, but rolled the ball wide of Roberto’s goal and Pogba then side-footed wide from the edge of the penalty area after the ball deflected into his path.

N’Dinga’s goal in the 61st minute, following another set-piece, had them in real trouble, but substitute Fernando Llorente, who replaced fellow Spaniard Morata, played a crucial part as Juve fought back.

Olympiakos led for four minutes before Llorente’s header hit the foot of the post, struck Roberto’s foot and bounced into the goal

A minute later, Llorente’s cross found Pogba and, although Botia nearly managed to dispossess him, the ball fell to the Frenchman, who slotted home.

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