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Friday, February 23, 2024

Juventus beat Freiburg to advance into Europa League quarters

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Freiburg crashed out of the UEFA Europa League after losing 2-0 in the last-16 second leg, and 3-0 on aggregate, to Juventus on Thursday.

The hosts assumed control from the start and created chances through Ritsu Doan, who unleashed a dangerous effort in the fifth minute, and Matthias Ginter, who tested Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with a 22nd-minute header.

Juventus broke the deadlock as VAR awarded them a penalty just before the break. Dusan Vlahovic kept his nerves from the spot and beat Freiburg custodian Mark Flekken. The hosts were reduced to 10 men as Manuel Gulde was sent off for his second yellow card after handling the ball inside the area.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Freiburg came out with guns blazing in the second half as Michael Gregoritsch and Lucas Holer came close from promising positions after the restart.

The Breisgauer pressed frenetically but couldn’t do any damage to Juventus’ well-positioned defense, whereas the visitors searched for counterattack opportunities.

Federico Chiesa nearly caught Freiburg’s defense flat-footed, but Flekken was on guard and tipped his effort onto the crossbar in the closing stages.

Chiesa kept it bowling though and doubled the advantage in injury time after Adrien Rabiot’s cutback allowed the striker to put the result beyond doubt.

“We gave everything but also had a bit of bad luck in crucial moments. We performed very well but we missed the chance to score a goal and that hurts,” said Gregoritsch.

“It was important to go through. We played well in the first half but looking at the second half we need to improve. We made technical mistakes and some wrong choices,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

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