Italy suffers as Juve are frozen out of Europe

Poznan: Italian teams Juventus and Sampdoria were knocked out of the Europa League and holders Atletico Madrid were staring at an early exit after a 3-2 home defeat by Greek side Aris.

Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by Polish champions Lech Poznan in Group A, their fifth in as many matches, in freezing weather which made a snow-covered pitch almost unplayable.

Second-placed Lech are three points ahead of Juventus and have a better head-to-head record on away goals after their 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture. Manchester City went top of the group and secured a berth in the last 32 with a 3-0 win over Salzburg.

Flamboyant Italian striker Mario Ballotelli scored twice for City at Eastlands and winger Adam Johnson added the third in the closing stages.

Zenit St. Petersburg made it five wins out of five in Group G with a 3-1 home success over Anderlecht and AEK Athens are in a good position to join them after beating Hajduk Split by the same score on a pitch resembling a quagmire.

Having scored a hat-trick in Lech`s 3-3 draw with Juventus, Latvian striker Artjoms Rudnevs returned to torment the double European champions and triple UEFA Cup winners in front of a raucous home crowd braving the cold.

Rudnevs headed in a 12th-minute corner by Bosnia midfielder Semir Stilic and Lech keeper Krzystof produced a string of superb saves before Vicenzo Iaquinta, wearing a skiing cap like many of this team mates, set up a dramatic finish.

Juventus, wearing white shirts, were almost as invisible as the ball on a snow-covered pitch in the first half and although they improved after the break, Lech held on in the closing stages to send their fans into raptures.

Bureau Report

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