Juve hang on for welcome win
Italians kick-start European campaign with first Group A victory
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 21/10/09 10:10pm
Chiellini: Match-winner with rare goal
Juventus got back to winning ways as they hung on for a 1-0 victory at home to 10-man Maccabi Haifa.
Giorgio Chiellini broke the deadlock with a 47th-minute header before Maccabi substitute Tiago Dutra was shown a straight red card in the 68th minute for a studs-up challenge on the Juve defender.
Yet the Italian giants failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and needed two late saves from captain Gianluigi Buffon to hang on for their first Group A win.
Juve were five games without a win and were almost caught napping as Buffon had to pull off a fine reflex save to deny Vladimir Dvalishvili in the second minute.
Gustavo Boccoli swept in a right-wing cross and although Dvalishvili drifted off the back of Fabio Cannavaro, his eight-yard header was too close to Buffon, who saved one-handed to his right.
The hosts regrouped and thought they had a penalty in the seventh minute when David Trezeguet was tugged back by Jorge Teixeira but it was just outside the area and Fabio Grosso's thundering free-kick was punched away by Maccabi keeper Nir Davidovitch.
Diego and Sebastian Giovinco ran at the Israelis throughout but Juve were struggling to break down the Maccabi defence, whose best first-half efforts were two hopeful long-range strikes by Lior Refaelov.
Juve piled the pressure on the Maccabi box around the 20-minute mark and Grosso's left-wing cross found Trezeguet, who steered the ball wide of the far post from eight yards out.
Diego then curled a free-kick straight at Davidovitch before Momo Sissoko glanced a Mauro Camoranesi free-kick wide as the Italians finished the half strongly.
Giovinco's cut-back found Grosso but Teixeira blocked his shot before bringing down Diego, with the Brazilian playmaker firing narrowly wide from the free-kick, but the Italians opened the scoring just after the break.
Diego whipped an inswinging left-wing free-kick towards the far post, where Chiellini was left unmarked to head home his first goal since April from just three yards out.
Juve almost doubled their lead soon after as Diego was inches over with a sumptuous chip while Trezeguet turned a low Grosso cross too close to keeper Davidovitch.
The Maccabi skipper was at his best moments later as he produced a full-stretch save to turn away Giovinco's 20-yard strike, before Dutra was red-carded just 11 minutes after coming on.
And although Camoranesi then poked a Diego pass against a post, Dvalishvili and sub Mohammad Ghadir could have snatched a late leveller and left Juve struggling to qualify.
|Juventus||Team Statistics||Maccabi Haifa|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||6|
|11||Shots off Target||2|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 21st Oct - Group B
CSKA Mosc0 - 1Man Utd
Wolfsburg0 - 0Besiktas
Wed 21st Oct - Group D
FC Porto2 - 1Apoel Nicosia
Chelsea4 - 0A Madrid
Wed 21st Oct - Group A
Juventus1 - 0Maccabi Haifa
Bordeaux2 - 1Bay Munich
Wed 21st Oct - Group C
FC Zurich0 - 1Marseille
R Madrid2 - 3AC Milan
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