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Del Piero secures Juve triumph

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

By Andreas Alf at the Olympiastadion

[1] A last-gasp goal by Alessandro Del Piero ensured Juventus FC qualified for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages as Group C winners after a thrilling game with fellow European heavyweights FC Bayern München.

Buffon brilliant

[2] Thanks to a brilliant display by Gianluigi Buffon, a single goal in the last minute secured Juve's passage as group winners but a dominant Bayern team, inspired by Bastian Schweinsteiger, will feel hard done by after creating a string of chances.

Magath changes

[3] Bayern coach Felix Magath was forced to reshuffle his side with Brazilian Roberto injured, so Schweinsteiger started at left-midfield, while Owen Hargreaves patrolled the middle with Michael Ballack. Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro returned to the European stage to play alongside Roy Makaay.

Del Piero back

[4] Matchwinner Del Piero only recovered from flu just in time to feature for the visitors alongside Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Juve coach Fabio Capello deployed Gianluca Pessotto at right-back while Emerson and Gianluca Zambrotta returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday's 3-0 Serie A win against AC Chievo Verona.

Exciting opening

[5] The German side opened offensively, and an in-form Schweinsteiger was an inspiration from the start. It took just three minutes for the 20-year-old German international to forge the first chance, heading a Pizarro cross straight into Buffon's arms. Schweinsteiger was involved again nine minutes later, intercepting a Hargreaves cross but striking the underside of the crossbar. The English international reacted quickly and rolled the ball into the net, but referee Graham Poll called offside.

Nedved quiet

[6] The visitors spent much of the half on the back foot, while Pavel Nedved, the man whose solitary goal settled the Matchday 3 encounter between these former European champions, struggled to create chances for his colleagues.

Makaay denied

[7] Magath's side continued use the space on both flanks and Pizarro cut in from one such run on the left only to see his angled effort saved by Buffon. The Italian international shot-stopper was called into action again on the half-hour mark when quick passing played in Makaay, but the Dutchman, without a goal in six games, was denied.

Bianconeri stronger

[8] Juventus seemed fortunate to go in at half-time without conceding, but upped the tempo after the break, playing more aggressive football and beginning to dominate. But after Zambrotta was denied a penalty at one end, a quick break in the 49th minute gave Makaay another chance, which he squandered.

Lucio steadfast

[9] Neat footwork by Del Piero and Nedved presented Ibrahimovic with several promising situations up front, but Bayern's strong defence, marshalled by Brazilian international Lucio, did not allow the Swedish international sight of Oliver Kahn's goal.

Cannavaro chance

[10] A Del Piero corner on 63 minutes caused Bayern's first real moment of panic when the unmarked Fabio Cannavaro headed centimetres wide of the far post. Minutes later Bayern received a setback when half-time substitute Andreas Görlitz was carried from the pitch with a nasty knee injury.

Late heroics

[11] Bayern regrouped and Lucio's 71st-minute shot from Schweinsteiger's assist could have broken the deadlock but rolled just wide. At the other end, Ibrahimovic failed with a 19-metre free-kick but Juve did not have long to wait for their goal, Del Piero pouncing on Kahn's parry from the Swedish striker's angled shot to pinch all three points.

Alessandro Del Piero celebrates with his Juve colleagues