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Juventus 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Alex Texeira and Bonucci ensure spoils are shared in Group E
The Bianconeri had to pull off another Champions League comeback after a stern test throughout by the impressive Ukrainians, leaving the group wide open
By Keeghann Sinanan
Just like their 2-2 tie against Chelsea on the opening matchday, the Bianconeri saw themselves fall behind in the first half after Alex Teixeira gave the visiting side a deserved lead after 23 minuites.
But Juve would quickly hit back within three minutes, as Leonardo Bonucci drilled home an exquisite equaliser on a slick move from a corner.
Both sides had chances to win the match in the second half, but were forced to settle for a share of the spoils, giving Group E rivals Chelsea the lead at the top of the standings.
Massimo Carrera’s only changes from the 4-1 victory over Roma over the weekend came at both wing-back spots, with Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner stepping in for Martin Caceres and Paolo De Ceglie.
Shakhtar were expected to struggle after winning only one of their last eight matches on Italian soil, but the Ukrainians instead overwhelmed Juve from the start, pushing forward in great numbers.
Henrik Mkhitaryan fired the first warning shot, blasting a devilish cross from Razvan Rat inches over the bar after ghosting in at the far post.
There was an even bigger scare for the hosts in the 13th minute, when Willian would have surely scored but was hauled down by Lichtsteiner, who could have counted himself fortunate to escape without punishment.
Juve were able to forge a brief respite for themselves with a pair of openings, with Alessandro Matri coming within inches of turning in a dangerous Mirko Vucinic cross, before a sublime clip from Andrea Pirlo was volleyed over by Claudio Marchisio.
But Shakhtar continued to attack, and saw reward for their endeavour in the 23rd minute. Willian’s shot was blocked following a flowing move, but the Brazilian had the presence of mind to slip the rebound to Teixeira on the left, who blasted into the roof of the net.
It was set to be a harsh lesson in Champions League football for the Bianconeri, but three minutes later, they found themselves level after a goal of the highest quality from an unlikely source.
Andrea Pirlo worked a corner low into the area, where Bonucci peeled away from his marker and on the turn, lashed a superb effort into the top corner from 15 yards out.
It was a move straight out of the training ground, and moments later, another slick passage of play nearly saw Juve pounce again, but Rat was on hand to block Arturo Vidal at close range, before Matri blasted the rebound straight into Andriy Pyatov’s arms.
Shakhtar continued to look dangerous, but the home side had managed to work themselves onto more of an even footing in the game. Bonucci nearly came up with the goods again moments before half-time when attacking a corner, but his header was blocked on the line by Pyatov.
In complete contrast to the opening half, the visitors were starved of the ball for long spells after the restart. However, their counter-attacking threat still had to be respected, as shown when Willian slotted inches wide after a flowing more started in their own half.
Juve were straight back down the pitch though, and substitute Sebastian Giovinco, seconds after his introduction, raced free down the left and teed up Matri who, from point-blank range, botched his finish and bundled over the bar.
But Shakhtar still fancied their chances to win the game. Gianluigi Buffon was called into his first meaningful action of the match when parrying away Darijo Srna’s free-kick, moments before Mkhitaryan side-footed agonisingly off target after latching onto Luiz Adriano’s feed.
Willian then saw another effort go just off target with eight minutes to go, lashing a loose ball just the wrong side of the post from a good position on the edge of the area.The Brazilian then had a glorious chance to win it at the death, but rattled the crossbar from 10 yards out as the sides ended the match knotted at a goal apiece, leaving them both with ground to make up on group leaders Chelsea.
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