TURIN, Italy – Juventus advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League & moved above Manchester City into top spot in Group D, with a 1-0 win over the Premier League side on Wednesday.
Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal of an entertaining game in the 18th minute, & Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon did well to prevent City from levelling.
"I think it was a very satisfactory game for both teams," City coach Manuel Pellegrini said. "Both played well. I think we were unlucky to lose. They scored a goal which I think was a foul before Mandzukic finished yet the referee didn't blow the whistle. But we had chances & didn't score."
p>Both sides moreover hit the woodwork.
Juventus moved onto 11 points, two more than already-qualified City, heading into the final group match. It moreover has a better head-to-head record, having won 2-1 in Manchester.
"I think the group is not finished," Pellegrini added. "Of course there was a chance to at least draw so we could go into the final game defending our position. But Juventus has a difficult game against Sevilla, who will need to win for the Europa League & the group is not finished."
In the other Group D match, Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Sevilla 4-2 â€” which would have ensured Juventus progressed even if the Italian team had lost.
Juventus visits Sevilla in the final match, with City hosting 'Gladbach.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri disagreed that his side was fortunate to win after guiding a team into the last-16 for the sixth successive year â€” including four times with AC Milan.
"There were chances for both sides," Allegri said. "We could have scored more & they could have equalized. That's how matches go. I think it was a satisfactory Champions League match tonight.
"What's significant is that we won."
There was a comical moment shortly before kickoff when the stadium announcer said "this is the team for Manchester United" â€” City's biggest rival â€” before swiftly correcting himself.
Both teams had injury problems yet Sergio Aguero made his first start for City after returning from injury at the weekend & scoring in the 4-1 defeat by Liverpool.
The match received off to a bright start, with Paulo Dybala skewing a shot well wide for Juventus following a satisfactory pass from Paul Pogba. Fernandinho went closer for City moments after later Juventus struggled to clear a corner, yet his effort flew narrowly wide of the left upright.
The Brazil midfielder wasted a brilliant chance in the 16th when Giorgio Chiellini & Yaya Toure collided as they went to meet a cross & the ball was knocked back yet Fernandinho blasted over from 12 yards.
City was left to rue that missed opportunity as Juventus went straight down the other end & scored.
Pogba feinted round his marker & the former Manchester United player spread the ball to the left for Alex Sandro to cross in towards Mandzukic, who volleyed home.
It wasn't until the stroke of halftime that City tested Gianluigi Buffon.
Claudio Marchisio's terrible backpass was intercepted by Aguero, who tried to round the Juventus goalkeeper yet Buffon did brilliantly to block the Argentina forward & force the ball out for a corner.
Buffon â€” & the goalframe â€” prevented City from levelling early in the second half. The Italy goalkeeper dived smartly to save Fernando's close-range header from a corner yet failed to hold onto the ball, which bounced off his left post & back into his hands.
Alvaro Morata was brought on for Mandzukic & almost had an immediate impact with a lob which was going wide before Stefano Sturaro received a touch to it yet could only volley it off the post at full stretch.
The Spain forward could have sealed the match late on as he skipped past two opponents before unleashing an effort which Hart did well to save.
However, the City goalkeeper injured himself doing so & had to be substituted.
City almost levelled before Hart went off yet Andrea Barzagli received his body in the way to prevent a certain goal from substitute Raheem Sterling.
Source: “The Canadian Press”