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PIX: Costa's stoppage-time gem sends Juventus into last 16

Rediff News 2019-11-07 05:34:00

A round-up of Wednesday's league stage matches in the UEFA Champions League.

IMAGE: Douglas Costa scores Juventus's second goal in the Group D Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow, at RZD Arena, Moscow, on Wednesday. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Substitute Douglas Costa scored an exquisite stoppage-time goal to give Juventus a 2-1 win away to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday, which clinched their place in the Champions League round of 16 with two games to spare.


The Brazilian collected the ball outside the area and raced past three defenders, exchanged passes with Gonzalo Higuain who backheeled the return to him and then left two more players in his wake before beating goalkeeper Guilherme to silence the Lokomotiv stadium.

Juventus top Group D with 10 points, three ahead of Atletico Madrid, who lost 1-2 away to Bayer Leverkusen later on Wednesday while Lokomotiv and Leverkusen have three points each. The Serie A champions remain unbeaten in all competitions under Maurizio Sarri, who took over during the close season.

Guilherme had gifted Juventus the lead after four minutes when he allowed Cristiano Ronaldo's powerful free kick from an unlikely position near the touchline to squirm through his legs before Aaron Ramsey touched the ball over the line.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted in the second half for Paulo Dybala after feeling a twinge in his knee, according to Juventus coach Sarri.

"He's been feeling it for a few days and I preferred to take him off to avoid running any risks, even though he was angry," Sarri said.

"It wasn't one of our best performances. We allowed the opposition to win too many balls, we were too open in the first half and in the second we were too slow in moving the ball around."

Aleksei Miranchuk levelled eight minutes later for the Railwayman, scoring from the rebound after his own header hit the post.

On a rainy Moscow evening, Guilherme then atoned for his mistake by making two saves in quick succession from Higuain.

The Brazil-born goalkeeper was almost caught out after another Ronaldo free kick bounced awkwardly in front of him early in the second half but then made another brilliant save to turn away the Portuguese forward's powerful drive.

Far from outclassed, Lokomotiv nearly went ahead in the 78th minute but Joao Mario saw his shot cleared off the line by Leonardo Bonucci with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny caught out of his ground.

In the end, Sarri's substitutions paid off as Juventus took all the points thanks to an inspired moment from Costa.

Leverkusen spring to life with win over Atletico

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Felipe looks dejected as Bayer Leverkusen players celebrate their second goal, scored by Kevin Volland. Photograph: Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters

Bayer Leverkusen sprang to life in their Champions League group as they picked up their first points with a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in a bad-tempered game later on Wednesday.

Despite suffering a late fright and red card, Leverkusen were worthy winners and must have left their supporters wondering why they could not have produced similar displays earlier in the group.

Atletico would have clinched their place in the round of 16 with a win but failed to produce a single shot on target in the first half of the Group D game and fell behind to an own goal by Thomas Partey four minutes before halftime.

Charles Aranguiz lofted the ball over from the right and the Ghanaian headed into his own net as he tried to clear.

Leverkusen extended their lead 10 minutes after the break. Karim Bellarabi fired over a low cross from the right, Felipe failed to cut it out and Kevin Volland controlled the ball and drilled his shot past Jan Oblak.

There were ugly moments after that and, at one point, a huge scuffle broke out in the Atletico area involving around a dozen players which led to four players being booked.

Shortly afterwards, Leverkusen had Nadiem Amiri sent off for a late, sliding tackle, leaving the Bundesliga side to play the last six minutes with 10 men.

Alvaro Morata pulled one back in the fourth minute of stoppage time and, incredibly, Atletico nearly snatched an equaliser. In their next attack, the ball again fell perfectly for Morata in the penalty area but goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky saved the shot with his legs.

Leaders Juventus have qualified with 10 points from four games while Atletico have seven and Lokomotiv Moscow and Leverkusen three apiece.