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Juventus Reach Champions League Knockout Stages

Juventus supporters display a giant flag at their Italian Serie A soccer match against Palermo at the Juventus stadium in TurinClub Atlético de Madrid held Juventus to a goalless draw to secure first place in Group A, a result that also took the Italian title holders into the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

The visitors were quickest out of the blocks, showing Juventus that they did not come to Turin solely for the point they needed to clinch top spot. Only a wonderful save by Gianluigi Buffon from Koke prevented the Spanish champions from taking an early lead after Mario Mandžukić found the midfielder unmarked on the left.

Miguel Ángel Moyà was also up to the task when Fernando Llorente got a feather of a touch just in front of him following a dangerous Paul Pogba cross. Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said on the eve of the game that Atlético are a team that usually make their opponents play poorly, and his side’s struggle to find space in the first half confirmed his words.

Mandžukić, always pressing Juventus creator Andrea Pirlo when Juventus were in possession, was key in this sense and Atlético were dangerous again before the interval when Mario Suárez tested Buffon from distance.

Atlético went close again early into the second period when Gabi hit the post directly from a corner, while at the other end Moyà dived well to palm wide a dangerous shot by Arturo Vidal from the edge of the box. The Atlético goalkeeper was soon in action again, repelling a powerful strike by Pogba.

Requiring victory by a two-goal margin to finish first in the pool, Juventus continued to attack but Atlético’s defensive wall was impenetrable and the Bianconeri had to settle for the point they needed to reach the last 16. Once again, Simeone’s men proved how difficult they are to beat.

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