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Wasteful Juventus Defeat Malmö 1-0 To Finish Group H Above Chelsea


December 08, (THEWILL) – Juventus qualified for the Champions League last 16 as one of the seeded teams after winning Group H with a gritty victory over Malmo on matchday six at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday.

Juve started the night second in the standings after losing to Chelsea last time out, but they knew that a win would still put them in first place if Chelsea slipped up against Zenit Saint Petersburg, which the defending champions did in a thrilling 3-3 draw in Russia.

On a rare start, Moise Kean scored the game’s sole goal, which proved to be enough.

But, Juve dominated possession and forced Malmo goalkeeper Ismael Diawara into a handful of saves before going ahead, all while maintaining a determined front line in the early stages.

At the very least, the opener, which came in the 18th minute, was well-executed. With the outside of his left foot, Federico Bernardeschi sent a precise cross into the penalty area, which Kean met with a thunderous header only a few yards from goal.

The rest of Juve’s performance, though, was characterised by wastefulness. Chances to extend the advantage went begging, which always made Malmo a threat. In fact, Mattia Perin had to be sharp to smother the ball later in the first half to preserve the slim lead.

At halftime, Paulo Dybala was replaced by Alvaro Morata, but little changed, and Juve appeared to be lacking in confidence when it came to making a last pass or taking a shot in the final third of their opponents.

When Diawara spilled a low shot from Adrien Rabiot, whose aggressive run forward was a refreshing dose of energy, Juve appeared to have got a second. However, the Malmo goalkeeper flung out a leg to deny Kean an easy tap-in.

It was a fantastic save, but he should not have allowed Kean the opportunity in the first place by spilling Rabiot’s shot in the direction of the Juve sharpshooter.

Kean’s single goal was all the game got and Juve players assumed the win would not be enough to leapfrog Chelsea. But, jubilant cheers rent the air when word filtered in that Zenit had equalised at the death of the other final fixture of the group.

That 3-3 scoreline ensured that Juventus finished above Chelsea to go to the next round as group winners. Yet, Juventus’ conviction in the final third appears to be thoroughly shaken.

The Old Lady still has the players to cause difficulties for the opposing side and they can advance to the next round of the championship if he is able to bolster his roster in January, because other teams waiting for them in the future will not fear them after such a performance.

Malmo had already been eliminated from the Champions League, but they would aim to learn from their mistakes and return next season.