Leonardo Bonucci scored a late goal as Juventus won 1-0 away to Lyon in the Europa League quarter-final first leg.
Both sides had numerous problems at the Stade de Gerland. The Bianconeri missed Andrea Barzagli, Angelo Ogbonna, Federico Peluso and the suspended Arturo Vidal. Carlos Tevez returned after he was banned for Juve’s 2-0 defeat to Napoli on Sunday and Daniel Osvaldo partnered him in attack. Lyon had a huge injury crisis ruling out Milan Bisevac, Gueida Fofana, Miguel Lopes, Mouhamadou Dabo, Clement Grenier and ex-Milan midfielder Yoann Gourcuff. Samuel Umtiti passed a late fitness test, but Bafetimbi Gomis was surprisingly on the bench.
Lyon were unbeaten in five home Europa League games and tonight was the birthday of Coach Remi Garde. It was also Gigi Buffon’s 700th game in all club competition.
Andrea Pirlo tried to slide an early free kick under the wall, but it was charged down, then Tevez nodded wide from an Osvaldo knock-down.
Steed Malbranque’s shot was deflected off target, though the start to the game was slow and the teams studied each other.
On 26 minutes Buffon had his first sight of the ball, getting down quickly for a one-handed save to turn Malbranque’s effort round the base of the near post. From that corner, it was knocked down for Jimmy Briand to chip over the bar from six yards.
Moments later Juve went extremely close, as Tevez sprung the offside trap on a Pirlo ball over the top and was denied by the goalkeeper sprinting off his line.
The hosts started to pile on pressure after the restart with a series of corners and free kicks around the box. Buffon flew to palm an Umtiti free kick round the near post, though it seemed to be going just wide anyway.
Tevez aimed a snapshot straight at Anthony Lopes, but immediately called the bench for a substitution, as he appeared to pull something in his thigh. Carlitos limped off to make way for Mirko Vucinic.
Juve weathered that storm and threatened at the other end, as Pirlo’s free kick was touched on by Briand and Lopes leapt to avoid an own goal.
Osvaldo chested down a Pirlo ball over the top and turned, but his shot was crucially charged down from six yards by Umtiti. Sebastian Giovinco replaced the former Southampton striker and made an immediate impact, skipping past Malbranque for a cross that was acrobatically beaten away by Lopes, then the Kwadwo Asamoah shot was deflected out for a corner.
Moments later a well-worked Juve move finished with Giorgio Chiellini’s ball across the face of goal just past Leonardo Bonucci. Mauricio Isla was sent clear down the right, but he hesitated and allowed Lopes to smother at his feet.
Giovinco had the ball in the net after clattering into the goalkeeper and naturally the referee halted play, but Lopes and the Atomic Ant were booked following a scuffle. Pogba attempted an audacious overhead kick from a corner and Giovinco ran into a dead end when trying to dribble between four defenders.
There was a dangerous Lyon counter-attack, but Martin Caceres and Chiellini combined to stop Briand setting up Gomis. Briand was also at full stretch to volley a cross-field pass back into the middle, but Malbranque just failed to get there.
Juventus wasted a golden opportunity on 84 minutes when Vucinic chested down a Giovinco assist only to balloon over from five yards.
However, on a corner moments later Juventus finally broke the deadlock. Lyon failed to clear it effectively, Pogba’s shot was charged down and Bonucci pounced on the rebound to blast into the roof of the net from close range.
Chiellini acrobatically intercepted a cross that substitute Clinton N’Jie was ready to tap in from six yards.
Lyon 0-1 Juventus
Scorers: Bonucci 85 (J)
Lyon: Lopes; Tolisso, Koné, Umtiti, Bedimo; Ferri, Gonalons, Malbranque (Fekir 86), Mvuemba; Lacazette (Gomis 75), Briand (N’Jie 89)
Juventus: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Isla (Lichtsteiner 78), Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Tevez (Vucinic 56), Osvaldo (Giovinco 62)
Ref: Collum (SCO)
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!