Bonucci saves Juventus

Champions League Group E, Turin - Juventus 1 (Bonucci 26') Shakhtar Donetsk (Texeira 23')

Leonardo Bonucci scored a superb goal as Juventus escaped with a point as they drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk in Group E of the Champions League.

Shakhtar produced a scintillating display throughout the first half and were rewarded with a great finish from Alex Texeira following a superb counter attack.

They should have earlier had a penalty for a clear foul in the area but the referee and his assistants somehow missed it.

Juventus struggled during the opening 45 minutes but drew level before the half-time whistle as Bonucci converted a well-worked corner, finding the top corner in clinical fashion.

The impressive Willian rattled the woodwork late on as Shakhtar searched for a deserved winner that never came.

It was the visitors that flew out of the blocks and instantly looked the most comfortable on the ball. The Italian champions really struggled to get a hold of the game in the opening 25 minutes and should have gone behind after just six.

The much sought after Willian showed great feet through the centre of the pitch before playing a reverse ball into the path of Razvan Rat. The full-back sent a devilish ball across the face of the goal that neither keeper Gianluigi Buffon nor defender Bonucci wanted to touch.

Shakhtar danger man Henrik Mkhitaryan - who has scored 15 goals in 13 appearances this season - was the first to the ball but sent his shot high over the bar from just four yards under pressure from Giorgio Chiellini.

Seven minutes later the visitors should have been awarded a penalty and the hosts sent down to 10 men when Stephan Lichtsteiner hauled Willian to the floor. The referee and his assistants, who made some questionable offside calls throughout the opening 45 minutes, allowed play to carry on.

Despite not seeing a great deal of the ball, the Old Lady nearly took the lead. Mirko Vucinic pulled away from the covering defender to find space down the right. His drilled cross was met by Alessandro Matri whose sliding effort cannoned off the legs of Alexandr Kucher before flashing narrowly wide.

With 23 minutes on the clock, it was the visiting side that deservedly found the net and opened the scoring. Set up to counter attack, they did so superbly, moving the ball from right to left and then into the feet of Willian on the edge of the penalty area. The influential Brazilian’s initial shot was blocked but he showed composure to find Texeira on the right. The winger took one touch before blasting the ball high into the roof of the net.

The goal had been coming but only three minutes went by before Juventus were on level terms.

A well-worked corner routine saw Andrea Pirlo pull the ball back to Bonucci, who showed striker-like prowess to swivel and lash the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

The second half failed to live up to the opening 45 minutes as chances were few and far between. Willian shot narrowly wide of Buffon’s post after tiki-taka football between Mkhitaryan and Yaroslav Rakitskiy.

Pint-sized Sebastian Giovinco was introduced on the hour and immediately made an impact for the home side. He made space down the left wing, beat Darijo Srna and then curled a wicked ball into the penalty area. The troublesome Matri was quickest to react and attempted to cheekily lift the ball over Pyatov but could only loop it over the bar.

Both sides searched for a winner as the game drew on and neither look afraid of being caught on the counter attack as they swamped forward in numbers.

The final few minutes were a scrappy affair, however, until Willian produced a flash of magic that nearly separated the sides in the third minute of stoppage time.

He was somewhat fortuitous as the ball landed at his feet on the edge of the penalty area but sent a ruthless shot into the midriff of Bonucci. Again the ball fell to him just 10 yards from goal and he rushed to it, beating Buffon and the covering defenders, before slamming it off the crossbar.

It would have been nothing short of what the visitors deserved, but they will take heart from a superb performance and a well-earned point.

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Willian (Shakhtar): Was a constant thorn in the side of Juventus all night. He held the ball up very well, showed his superb skill on the ball and also got back to do some dirty work during the very rare moments when his side were not controlling the play.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Juventus: Buffon 5; Barzagli 5, Bonucci 7, Chiellini 6; Vidal 5, Marchisio, 5, Lichtsteiner, 6, Pirlo 6, Asamoah 5; Matri 5, Vucinic, 6. SUBS... Quagliarella 6, Giovinco 6, Pogba 6

Shakhtar: Pyatov 7; Srna 7, Kucher 6, Rakystkiy 6, Rat 7; Fernandinho 7, Hubschman 6, Mkhitaryan 7, Willian 8, Alex Texeira 7; Luiz Adriano 7. SUBS... Ilsinho 6

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS