Juventus 1-0 Maccabi Haifa: Giorgio Chiellini Header The Difference In Turin
The Bianconeri ended their poor run of form.
Juventus earned their first win of the 2009/10 Champions League season with a 1-0 victory over ten-man Maccabi Haifa in Turin.
Giorgio Chiellini scored the only goal of the game with a close-range header on 46 minutes, but Juve will have goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to thank for the win after he produced a couple of world class saves, one of them miraculous.
The Bianconeri came into this clash on a terrible run of five games without a win in all competitions, and were locked in third place in Group A, two points above the point-less Greens.
Juve coach Ciro Ferrara unleashed Sebastian Giovinco and Diego from the start for the time this season as the pint-sized duo supported lone striker David Trezeguet. Hasan Salihamidizc, Alex Del Piero and Claudio Marchisio were all out injured.
Maccabi Haifa were minus the services of young teenage talent Eyal Golasa, as well as Biram Kayal (suspended), captain Yaniv Katan, and Amir Edri.
The visitors were desperately close to taking the lead in the first minute as Vladimir Dvalishvili was all alone six yards out, but Gianluigi Buffon produced a miracle save to claw the ball out.
There was controversy on seven minutes as Trezeguet was dragged back as he ran through on goal, but the referee awarded a free kick and not a penalty. Nir Davidovitch palmed away Fabio Grosso’s set-piece.
Juventus started to take control and Trezeguet flicked the ball inches wide on 19 minutes from Grosso’s cross. Momo Sissoko then lashed off-target after good Giovinco work.
Just past the hour mark Juve received a blow as Jonathan Zebina pulled up with an injury, and had to be replaced by Martin Caceres.
Sissoko rose above his man from a free kick and headed wide, while the referee turned away penalty appeals for handball when Grosso’s shot cannoned off Teixeira from close range.
Diego whipped a free kick past the post, as the sides went in at the break level.
Maccabi Haifa made two changes at half time as Mohammad Ghadir and Yisrael Zaguri replaced Shlomi Arbeitman and Tsepo Masilela respectively.
Juventus broke the deadlock one minute into the second half as Diego’s free kick from the left found Giorgio Chiellini at the back post, and the centre back couldn’t miss as he nodded home.
Giovinco saw a goalbound shot blocked, while Diego attempted an audacious chip from 25 yards that was not too far over.
On 54 minutes Giovinco and Diego combined superbly to release Grosso, and the left back’s cross located Trezeguet at the back post who saw his low shot kicked away by Davidovitch. The goalkeeper then made another save from Giovinco.
Maccabi made their final change as Dutra entered the fray, and the Brazilian’s first act was a horrific tackle that went unpunished on Felipe Melo. The Juve man was forced off injured, and had to be replaced by Christian Poulsen.
Dutra, having escaped what should have been a straight red card, was finally shown his marching orders on 68 minutes for a leg-breaking studs-up on Chiellini. The defender managed to continue after treatment.
Maccabi had barely threatened in the second half, but on 81 minutes Juve had a scare as Buffon beat away a Dvalishvili effort.
Camoranesi nearly closed the game as he toe-poked the ball against the post. Davidovitch also saved well from a Giovinco free-kick.
However, Maccabi missed a golden chance to equalise deep into injury time as Ghadir found himself one-on-one with Buffon, but the Italian produced a brilliant save.
With this victory Juventus move onto five points in Group A, while Maccabi Haifa remain rock bottom with no points. The teams meet again in Israel on November 3.