Madrid: Atletico Madrid got their Champions League campaign back on track as Arda Turan's goal 15 minutes form time was enough for a 1-0 win over Juventus on Wednesday.
Atletico Madrid's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League group A football match Atletico de Madrid vs Juventus at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid. Pic/AFP
Chances had been hard to come by in a physical contest between the Spanish and Italian champions, but Turan's cool finish to end Juventus' run of over 500 minutes without conceding this season sealed a vital three points for Diego Simeone's men.
Malmo's 2-0 victory over Olympiakos means all four sides in Group A are tied on three points with four matches to play. "I am happy with the sacrifice shown by the guys," said Simeone. "Commitment is not negotiable amongst this group and they have put in a huge effort against a great team. "It way a very tight game, which we just edged on the finer details."
The defeat was Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri's first since taking charge in the summer and he bemoaned the lack of concentration which cost his side the game. "They took advantage of their only chance. We go away with a defeat after playing very well, but it is clear we have paid dearly for that one error," he said.
"In the first-half we didn't have very many chances, but in the second we had three or four clear ones on counter-attacks where we failed with the last pass." Last season's beaten finalists Atletico came into the game desperate for the points having been surprisingly beaten away by Olympiakos.
However, Simeone's decision to opt for the more defensively minded Saul Niguez ahead of 30 million euro summer signing Antoine Griezmann was a hint of the cagey encounter to come as chances were few and far between.
Indeed the most noteworthy moment of the opening half was Atletico striker Mario Mandzukic tearing off the mask he had been wearing to protect a broken nose after receiving an elbow in the face form Leonardo Bonucci, for which the Italian defender was booked. Mandzukic also had the only effort on target of the first period as his low effort was comfortably beaten away to safety by Gianluigi Buffon.
Juventus were enjoying over 60 percent of possession, but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock before the break came from a Paul Pogba shot from outside the box that curled just past the post. Simeone introduced Griezmann for Saul eight minutes into the second-half and was rewarded with Atletico's best spell of the match.
The home fans cries for penalty were turned away by German referee Felix Brych just before the hour mark despite the ball clearly striking the arm of Martin Caceres from Raul Garcia's cross before Buffon scrambled it clear. Juventus had seemed to have weathered that spell as the game became disjointed with both sides giving away possession far too cheaply.
However, with 15 minutes remaining Turan sneaked in ahead of Stephan Lichsteiner at the back post to turn home Juanfran's cross. The goal forced the visitors onto the front foot and they very nearly got an equaliser via an unlikely source as Atletico captain Raul Garcia was grateful to see his attempted clearance form Lichsteiner's cross fly just past his own goal.