Juventus finally finished its Champions League campaign with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday.
Going into the game, both teams were locked at the bottom of Group H with no points on the board, meaning a win is likely to be pivotal for whoever can find one.
It has always been difficult for visitors to head to the Allianz Arena and surprise them. But with Juventus going through a turbulent season on all fronts thus far, anything was possible and they knew it themselves better than anyone else.
A good start was necessary, and then coach Massimiliano Allegri’s team snatched it up. Juventus started superbly and the returning Angel Di Maria looked racy, but they weren’t in full control and Maccabi was able to push through with the break.
Just as the visitors were slowly trying to enter the competition, though, hitting the old lady and drawing the first blood after 35 minutes, Adrien Rabiot emerged with a twisted effort from Di Maria’s pass.
One quickly became two early in the second half as Di Maria found Dusan Vlahovic, who fired the ball wide of the keeper from outside the penalty area after 50 minutes.
With some breathing room to work, the Bianconeri found their step and enjoyed a fit of dominance. That was until a series of changes brought McCabe back into the game an hour later. They finally succeeded in taking their chances 15 minutes before play; Dean hit David after a counterattack to put a nervous end to the match.
Any sudden hopes of a comeback for the visitors were dashed when Rabiot popped a header at 2pm after 83 minutes, to put the seal of victory and ensure Juve were overtaken.
It’s a huge three points for Allegri’s side, who were knocked off the field after news of Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica tied elsewhere in Group H.
Juventus Now he sits behind both PSG and Benfica in third, but next week’s win in Haifa will suddenly open up the group in a big way.