Juventus made a winning start in the Champions League as they defeated Dynamo Kiev 2-0 thanks to a pair of classic poacher’s goals from Alvaro Morata in their Group G opener yesterday.
Juve coach Andrea Pirlo enjoyed his first win as a manager in Europe’s elite club competition, which he won twice with AC Milan during his playing days as a midfielder.
With Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out following a positive test for Covid-19, Dejan Kulusevski was twinned with Morata up front and Federico Chiesa created some early chances for the visitors.
However, Juve suffered an early setback when defender Giorgio Chiellini had to be substituted in the 19th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, forcing Pirlo to reshuffle his defence before Morata came to the rescue.
A clever backheel by Aaron Ramsey set up Kulusevski and although the Swedish winger’s shot was saved, Morata was on hand to fire home the rebound and the Spaniard then stole in front of his marker to head home from close range in the 84th minute.
The Covid-19-limited crowd roared on the hosts but Kiev struggled to create decent chances on their return to the Champions League after a four-year absence as Juve comfortably closed out the win.
“The goal early in the second half helped us because we had more space afterwards,” said Juventus winger Chiesa. “We wanted this victory badly because it’s important to have a great start in the UEFA Champions League.
“The expectations are always high at Juve, but we try to win every time we take the pitch,” he added.
Juventus host Barcelona in their next group game on Oct. 28, while Dynamo Kiev travel to Hungarian side Ferencvaros.
Club Brugge stun wasteful Zenit
In Group F, Club Brugge made a perfect start to their campaign after a stoppage time goal by Charles De Ketelaere gave them a 2-1 win at Zenit St Petersburg.
After a drab first half, Emmanuel Bonaventure fired the visitors ahead in the 63rd minute when he swept in a rebound from two metres after Yaroslav Rakitskyy twice cleared close-range efforts by De Ketelaere off the line.
Sebastian Driussi missed a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise when he blazed a shot over the bar from 10 metres before the home side levelled thanks to a freakish own goal by visiting goalkeeper Ethan Horvath in the 74th minute.
Former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren hit the post with a screamer from 30 metres for Zenit and the ball cannoned off the keeper’s back into the net.
Horvath kept out an Artem Dzyuba sitter and palmed away Wendel’s long-range effort in the closing stages before 19-year old forward De Ketelaere silenced the home fans in the Gazprom Arena deep into stoppage time.
Midfielder Ruud Vormer beat the offside trap and squared the ball to De Ketelaere who capped a fine individual performance with a simple tap-in past the home team’s stranded goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov.
Zenit Saint-Petersburg (RUS) 1 (Horvath 74-og) Club Brugge (BEL) 2 (Bonaventure 63, De Ketelaere 90+3)
Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 0 Juventus (ITA) 2 (Morata 46,84)
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