Europa League - Juventus leave it late to beat Lyon

Europa League, Stade Gerland - Lyon 0, Juventus 1 (Bonucci 85)

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Europa League - Juventus leave it late to beat Lyon
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Juventus celebrate their late winner in Lyon

A late goal from Leonardo Bonucci earned Juventus a single goal advantage in the first leg of the Europa League quarter final as they overcame a spirited Lyon side 1-0 at Stade Gerland.

With the scores locked at a stalemate in the latter stages of the game, Bonucci finally broke the deadlock when a short corner caught Lyon defence sleeping. The ball was scrambled around the danger area before falling at the feet of Bonucci, who slipped it into the back of the net.

The Serie A leaders were most certainly not at their best throughout the 90 minutes and it was their French opponents who had the better opportunities.

But it was Carlos Tevez - who hasn't scored in European competition since a 2-2 draw with Porto when playing for Manchester United back in April 2009 - who had the first chance of the game on five minutes when he headed wide from close distance after some good work from strike partner Dani Osvaldo.

Steed Malbranque almost edged the hosts in front on 26 minutes when he found himself in behind the Juventus defence and forced Gianluigi Buffon into a decent save. The visitors failed to deal with the subsequent corner and the ball eventually fell to Jimmy Briand who somehow looped the ball over the net.

A close first-half resulted in few chances with the scores level at the break but Lyon came out of the blocks early in the second period and they went closest through Samuel Umtiti whose curled free-kick had Buffon at full stretch to push the ball past the post.

Moments later Tevez turned his man and produced a weak shot at goal, then instantly signalled to the bench that he needed to be replaced, indicating he had picked up an injury.

Mirko Vucinic eventually made his way onto the pitch in place of Tevez, much to the concern of manager Antonio Conte.

Juventus built their way into the match the longer the contest went on and just before the hour-mark Anthony Lopes was forced into a decent save from team-mate Jimmy Briand, who almost headed an Andrea Pirlo free-kick into his own net.

Some decent attacking football from Juventus involving substitute Sebastian Giovinco and Paul Pogba  released Giorgio Chiellini behind the Lyon defence but the chance fell to the wrong man as the defender screwed the ball past the post.

The game rather fizzled out, but just as a draw looked inevitable up popped Bonucci who made no mistake from close range, leaving the Lyon defence rueing their weak defending.

KEY MOMENTS

5' - CHANCE! Tevez has a chance to break that awful European goalscoring record as he latches onto Osvaldo's touch but heads wide from close range.

26' - DOUBLE CHANCE FOR LYON! Malbranque makes a lovely run and receives the ball in the danger area, unleashes a shot which is well saved and Lyon have a corner. The resulting set piece is dangerous and Juve fail to clear but Briand fails to make them pay, looping his shot over the bar from six yards.

52' CHANCE! Umtiti! Finally a well hit set piece is taken as Umtiti curls the ball around the wall and Buffon does well to parry the ball around the post!

53' TEVEZ INJURY: Tevez does well to turn his marker 25 yards from goal but produces a rather weak shot which is easy for Lopes to gather. Tevez then signals to the bench that he needs substituted.

58' GREAT SAVE! Pirlo finally produces a well taken free-kick into the danger area, Briand nicks a touch on the ball with his head in an attempted block which forces Lopes into a reflex save!

65' CHANCE! Some neat football from Juventus in Lyon's final third sees Giovinco involved again as he lays on Chiellini who shoots across the face of goal. The chance just fell to the wrong man you feel.

85' GOAAAALL! Bonucci! Juventus have finally broken the deadlock! Another short corner catches Lyon sleeping, the ball is scrambled around the danger area before falling at the feet of Bonucci who hammers the ball into the net.

KEY STATS

This was the first competitive meeting between these two sides.

The win was only Juventus's second in their last six clashes with French opposition (W2 D1 L3)

TALKING POINT: Surely the Europa League is Juventus's to lose? Despite crashing out of the Champions League in shocking fashion, Juventus have a chance to make it up to their fans with Europa League glory, even if it wasn't at the forefront of their minds at the beginning of the season. Conte's men are head and shoulders above the rest in Serie A, despite losing at Napoli at the weekend, and will be eager to seal the double this season. Have a look at the other teams left in the competition and it's no surprise Juventus are the favourites to claim the trophy. Despite not being at their best they still managed to record a victory over a spirited Lyon side

[MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS]

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Andrea Pirlo (Juventus): There were no stand out performers for either side. It may not be a night to remember for Pirlo but he was the best player on the pitch tonight and his wonderful vision to pick out an exquisite pass was again highlighted tonight.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Lyon: Lopes 7, Tolisso 7, B.Koné 7, Umtiti 7, Bedimo 6, Gonalons 6, Ferri 7, Malbranque 7, Mvuemba 6, Briand 7, Lacazette 6. Substitutes: Gomis 5, Fekir 5, Njie 5.

Juventus: Buffon 6, Caceres 5, Bonucci 6, Chiellini 7, Isla 6, Pogba 7, Pirlo 8, Marchisio 6, Asamoah 7, Tevez 6, Osvaldo 5. Substitutes: Lichtsteiner 5, Giovinco 7, Vucinic 6.

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