Llorente, Tevez strike to hand Juventus a lifeline
Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez struck to secure a crucial 2-0 win away to Malmo and hand Juventus a massive last 16 boost as the Italians ended a five-game winless streak away in the Champions League Wednesday.
Malmo: Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez struck to secure a crucial 2-0 win away to Malmo and hand Juventus a massive last 16 boost as the Italians ended a five-game winless streak away in the Champions League Wednesday.
With Group A qualification rivals Olympiakos also sitting on six points, the Italian champions travelled north looking for a win that would provide a crucial three-point cushion ahead of the final matchday next month.
But despite moving three points ahead of the Greeks, who lost 4-0 away to Atletico Madrid, Juventus require at least a draw from their final group clash at home to Atletico Madrid to avoid missing the cut.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri adopted the same 4-3-1-2 formation that beat Lazio 3-0 last weekend, with only one change - Arturo Vidal replacing Roberto Pereyra just behind the front pair of Tevez and Llorente.
But for the first 15 minutes at a packed Swedbank Stadion, where the pitch looked in poor condition, Juventus struggled to find rhythm as the Swedish champions pushed and bullied their way past the Italian giants.
Swiss right-back Stephan Lichsteiner`s cross deep on the right found Vidal but from just inside the area the Chilean`s shot was straight at Robin Olsen.
Yet the best chance of the opening half fell to Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
Twice Marchisio ghosted in behind the Malmo defence to get his foot to floated crosses, his second and closest effort on 33 minutes from Vidal`s delivery sneaking just past Olsen`s far post.
Malmo striker Markus Rosenberg`s ball found Emil Forsberg free on the left but after rounding Lichsteiner he could only fire into the side-netting as Gianluigi Buffon charged out of goal.
Juventus moved up a gear immediately after the restart and after just two minutes Olsen had to block Marchisio`s low strike.
A Vidal cross then found Tevez in front of goal but the Argentina striker`s effort was just off target.
A minute later, Juve finally broke the deadlock.
Marchisio sighted Llorente in space and after running on to the through ball the Spaniard held off his marker to round Olsen and slip the ball low into the net.
It was Llorente`s third Champions League goal, but first of the season and clearly gave the visitors a confidence boost.
Marchisio tested Olsen again minutes later and on 71 minutes Simone Padoin did well on the left to shrug off his marker and deliver for Llorente, but the Spaniard`s header was straight to the `keeper.
The Spaniard made way for Alvaro Morata moments later and the former Real Madrid striker waited barely 10 minutes before getting a sniff at goal, his prod from Tevez`s drive across goal coming off the underside of Olsen`s bar.
A minute later Tevez secured the win when a long ball from midfield towards Morata was headed into the path of Pogba by defender Erik Johansson.
Pogba picked up the loose ball and squared for Tevez to beat the onrushing Olsen with an angled bobbling strike.
Malmo`s players surrounded the referee to protest a supposed foul by Morata on Johansson, leading to the expulsion of Johansson and cautions for Olsen, Rosenberg and Morata.