Juventus come from behind to rescue draw with Bayern Munich


Juventus scored twice in the final 30 minutes to rescue a 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash this evening.

The Italian champions looked down and out following a dominant opening hour for Bayern, but goals fromPaulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro ensured that they at least remain in the contest ahead of next month’s second leg at the Allianz Arena.

Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring during the Champions League game between Juventus and Bayern Munich on February 22, 2016

The hosts threatened in the opening seconds when a ball over the top released Mario Mandzukic, although his tame effort was simple for Manuel Neuer to stop.

That was pretty much as good as it got for Juventus in the first half too, as Bayern quickly took control of the contest, testing Gianluigi Buffon for the first time after just four minutes when the Juve skipper parriedArturo Vidal‘s volley away.

Juventus did make rare forays into the Bayern half, including a chance on the stretch for Mandzukic that he was unable to take, but for the most part it was one-way traffic in Bayern’s favour, and they should have broken the deadlock in the 13th minute.

Joshua Kimmich and Philipp Lahm combined to find Robert Lewandowski inside the box, but the in-form striker showed an unselfish streak by instead finding Thomas Muller. However, the ball was just behind the German, who fluffed his lines and couldn’t snap up a golden opportunity.

Arjen Robben was the next to threaten for the visitors when he lashed a volley over the crossbar, beforeJuan Bernat drew an unconvincing stop from Buffon shortly after the half-hour mark.

The home shot-stopper was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and kept out a Lewandowski header moments later, while Robben sent a headed effort of his own wide of the target towards the latter stages of the half.

Bayern’s relentless pressure finally told with just two minutes remaining of the first half when Robben’s cross was knocked back into the middle by Douglas Costa and only cleared as far as Muller, who calmly stroked the ball home with a simple finish.

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Thomas Muller celebrates during the Champions League game between Juventus and Bayern Munich on February 22, 2016

The second half quickly fell into a similar rhythm, and after David Alaba had sent a swinging long-range strike over the top, the visitors soon had their second goal to take a big step towards the quarter-finals.

It came on the counter-attack as Lewandowski brought the ball forward before finding Robben, who cut inside from the right before curling a trademark finish into the far corner past a helpless Buffon.

Arjen Robben celebrates during the Champions League game between Juventus and Bayern Munich on February 22, 2016

Juve’s chances in the tie looked bleak, but they gave themselves a lifeline with a goal against the run of play when Mandzukic capitalised on a Kimmich error to thread a pass through to Dybala, who duly tucked away his first ever Champions League goal.

That suddenly sparked the hosts into life and they began to apply sustained pressure on Bayern for the first time, with Juan Cuadrado seeing one shot tipped over by Neuer at the end of a quick break before Paul Pogba curled one narrowly off target from the resulting corner.

Juve did complete the unlikely turnaround with just under 15 minutes remaining, however, when two subs combined as Alvaro Morata steered a header into the path of Sturaro, who side-footed a finish into the roof of the net from close range.

Stefano Sturaro celebrates during the Champions League game between Juventus and Bayern Munich on February 22, 2016

Both sides had openings in the closing stages of the contest, with Pogba glancing a header off target andMehdi Benatia doing the same at the other end of the pitch with just a minute of normal time remaining.

Leonardo Bonucci brought a late stop from Neuer when his volley from the edge of the box was straight at the keeper, but ultimately the two sides were forced to settle for the draw at the halfway stage of the tie.

The advantage, though, lies with Bayern, who take two away goals into the second leg at the Allianz Arena on March 16 looking to maintain their 100% home record in all competitions this season.

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