UEL Playoffs: Di Maria hat-trick sends Moses Simon and Nantes out of competition
Angel Di Maria was the star of the show for Juventus as they picked up a 3-0 win away against FC Nantes to reach the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League. The experienced Argentine attacker scored thrice to send the embattled Italian giants through.
After playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Turin last week, it promised to be an open game in the second leg between both sides.
Juventus wasted no time to set themselves apart against the French side as they opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the clash. Experienced Argentine forward Di Maria curled home an absolute beauty from the corner of the box with a first-time effort after receiving a pass from youngster Nicolo Fagioli.
Juventus were handed a penalty in the 17th minute as Nantes captain Nicholas Pallois handled a goal bound shot from Di Maria on the line, picking up a red card as a result. The Argentine forward stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards out.
Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont was kept busy throughout the match as he denied Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic to maintain the scoreline.
Super Eagles winger Moses Simon started the match and lasted 73 minutes on a quiet night for him before being replaced by Egypt international Mostafa Mohammed.
Angel Di Maria completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute as he headed home a cross from Dusan Vlahovic, with Lafont nearly keeping out the effort as the ball only just crossed the line.
Juventus held on to claim a dominant 3-0 win to book their place in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League.