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Champions League: Juventus held to 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk

Associated Press
Oct 03, 2012 at 10:36am IST

Turin: Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in their first Champions League match at their new stadium on Tuesday, becoming the first side to draw eight successive European matches. Alex Teixeira gave Shakhtar a deserved lead in the 23rd minute and that seemed to shock Juventus awake as Leonardo Bonucci leveled for the Serie A champion just three minutes later.

Shakhtar had several chances to restore its lead, mainly through the impressive Willian, who also hit the crossbar in stoppage time.

"We knew they were a team that would put us in difficulty, even though others underestimated them," Juventus stand-in coach Massimo Carrera said. "We started a bit scared maybe knowing how difficult they could be. It was an open game and could have been any result. They might have had a few more chances at the end but I think it was a fair result.

Juventus held to 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk

Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in their first Champions League match at their new stadium.

"It's obviously hard to play every three days, but we were good to come back after just three minutes. That shows that Juventus is in-form. But I repeat, Shakhtar are a great team that would challenge for things even in Italy."

Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu believes his side could have won the game and insists Willian was wrongfully denied a penalty.

"I think it was a game that was very well played on our part," the former Inter Milan coach said. "We put them in difficulty and played well against a very strong and aggressive team. I think the result could have been in our favor. We had more chances and there was also a penalty shout that everyone said was a penalty. I haven't seen a replay but I spoke to about 10 people ... and they agreed with me ... and also the players said so too

"But it is an important point against a great team, and shows we are also here in this competition fighting for qualification."

It is Juventus' second draw in the competition this season after it held defending champion Chelsea 2-2 in London. Shakhtar kicked off its Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over FC Nordsjaelland.

Shakhtar had won all 13 of its previous matches this season, both domestically and in Europe. While Shakhtar failed to maintain its perfect record, Juventus managed to continue its unbeaten start to the season, after extending its league record to 45 games unbeaten at the weekend.

The Italian side was also hoping for a victory in its first European match at Juventus Stadium — which was opened last season.

Shakhtar got off to an impressive start and had several chances to take an early lead. The Ukrainian side could have gone in front as early as the sixth minute when Willian released Razvan Rat whose diagonal pass was blazed over by Henrik Mkhitaryan at the far post.

That was a sign of things to come as Willian was at the crux of everything for Shakhtar. Moments later the Brazilian cut the ball back to Fernandinho who blasted a low, rasping shot just past the left upright.

Shakhtar went even closer when Luiz Adriano sent in a great cross but Willian got in a tangle with Juventus defender Stephan Lichsteiner near the goal as he was closing in on the ball. Luiz Adriano screamed for a penalty but the referee waved away his appeals.

Juventus had to wait until the 14th minute for its first sight on goal. Mirko Vucinic crossed in towards Alessandro Matri, who was a whisker away from connecting with the ball, right in front of goal, but Yaroslav Rakitskiy deflected it just past his outstretched boot.

It went close again moments later as Andrea Pirlo sent a brilliant ball over the defense to Claudio Marchisio, who volleyed an angled effort just over the bar.

Shakhtar took the lead when Willian bamboozled the Juve defense and cut a ball across the area to Teixeira who fired it under the crossbar.

Juve almost leveled immediately but Matri's effort was deflected out for a corner by Rakitskiy. However, it did equalize seconds later as Bonucci had plenty of time to lash Pirlo's corner in from 16 yards.

Juve improved as the half went on and could even have gone in at the break ahead, following another corner in stoppage time, but Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov did well to stop Bonucci's downward header with his feet.

Shakhtar should have restored its lead just before the hour mark following a rapid counterattack, but Willian's fierce effort scraped the outside of the right post.

Juventus went closer moments later as Sebastian Giovinco — who had just come on for Vucinic — put in a great cross which Matri lobbed over the bar with Pyatov grounded.

Willian almost scored a late winner as he tried his luck from distance but his effort flew just past the right hand post. He went even closer in stoppage time when his snapshot crashed off the crossbar.

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