Villarreal fight back in Champions League to leave Juventus tie finely poised



Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2022 by PA

Villarreal fight back in Champions League to leave Juventus tie finely poised

Dusan Vlahovic scored inside the first minute of his Champions League debut for Juventus but Dani Parejo earned a 1-1 draw for Villarreal in the first leg of their last-16 clash.

Free-scoring Vlahovic made his European bow for Juve after his January move from Fiorentina and needed just 33 seconds to put the visitors ahead in Spain.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between but Parejo popped up in the 66th minute to leave the tie nicely poised heading into the second leg in Turin next month.

It was a first meeting between the teams, and Vlahovic showed his quality straight away, seizing on a through ball from Danilo after Villarreal lost possession in midfield and guiding his shot inside the far post.

Tottenham loanee Giovani Lo Celso should have equalised in the 14th minute but, having been set up by a brilliant run from Alfonso Pedraza, he could only find the angle of post and bar.

Villarreal huffed and puffed for the remainder of the first half without really creating anything meaningful, while Juve were content to sit back and probe on the break.

The pattern did not change early in the second half but the hosts, last year’s Europa League champions, continued to try to find the breakthrough, and it arrived with 24 minutes left.

Etienne Capoue lifted a ball through to Parejo in the middle of the penalty area, and he exploited space to defeat Wojciech Szczesny.

Juve were dealt another blow in the final 10 minutes when Weston McKennie limped off.

Vlahovic bookended the match with the final chance, running onto a pass from Alvaro Morata but this time seeing his shot saved by Geronimo Rulli.



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