- Juventus hosted Bundesliga side Freiburg in Turin in the UEFA Europa League round of 16
- Both sides headed into the match enjoying great form in the Europa League this campaign
- Angel Di Maria scored his fourth goal in the competition this season as Juve took advantage in the first leg
Juventus defeated Freiburg in the first leg of their last-16 UEFA Europa League match thanks to a strike from Angel Di Maria.
Juve had a whopping 20 shots at the Allianz Stadium, where Di Maria’s header gave the Bianconeri a slim advantage in the match in the second half.
After scoring a hat-trick against Nantes in the previous round, the Argentina international kept dazzling in this tournament.
When the sides resume their battle in Germany the following week, Freiburg, whose five-match unbeaten streak was broken, will have to come from behind.
The lead-up to Juve’s first Europa League match against German opposition since they played Borussia Dortmund in the 1994–95 semifinals was dominated by Massimiliano Allegri’s decision to bench Paul Pogba for disciplinary reasons.
Adrien Rabiot, a France international like Pogba, nearly started the scoring when he forced Mark Flekken to react quickly and block Juan Cuadrado’s free-kick as well.
Bremer then miraculously missed an opportunity to score in the 31st minute, sending Di Maria’s deep corner over from only two yards away, while Cuadrado again pricked Flekken’s hands just before halftime.
Eight minutes into the second half, Di Maria headed in a centre from Filip Kostic for Juve’s game-winning goal.
Freiburg believed they had retaliated in the 62nd minute, but the VAR determined that Matthias Ginter touched the ball in the set-up, disallowing Lucas Holer’s beautiful volley.
The visitors’ only recorded effort on goal, a free kick by Vincenzo Grifo, was then just off target, and the Serie A team held on for a narrow victory.
Angel Di Maria fires again as Juventus take the lead
Next week, Juventus will travel to Germany with a slim one-goal edge but will be disappointed not to have a bigger advantage.
Freiburg will be aware that they must get better if they hope to advance. Although the Bundesliga team had more possession (51.8%), they could only manage one shot on goal.
With his winning goal, Di Maria has now personally contributed to seven goals in six European matches, scoring four and dishing out three assists.
The Argentinean international also made a game-high six crucial passes, and no Juventus player made more crosses, touches, or duels (8, 77, respectively). (27).
Both teams return to domestic action before facing off in the second leg next Thursday. Juventus look to return to winning ways in Serie A when they host Sampdoria on Sunday, with Freiburg welcoming Hoffenheim in Bundesliga on the same day.
You must be logged in to post a comment Login