Veteran striker del Piero shoots Juventus into last 16

Updated: 06 November 2008 17:29 IST

Alessandro del Piero shot Juventus into the last 16 of the Champions League after scoring both goals in their 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in Spain.

Veteran striker del Piero shoots Juventus into last 16

Paris:

Veteran striker Alessandro del Piero shot Juventus into the last 16 of the Champions League after scoring both goals in their 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in Spain.

Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri on Wednesday colourfully asked his players to play against the nine-times European champions as if it was a 'Play Station' game and they repaid him in full.

While the 'Old Lady' progressed, adding to Barcelona's and Sporting Lisbon's clinching berths in the last 16 on Tuesday, Real Madrid were left in limbo.

It was also a night of frustration for English Premier League giants Manchester United and Arsenal.

Having entered the evening looking to seal Champions League knockout places, they found themselves both held to draws in their respective group games.

Reigning champions United came from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Scottish champions Celtic and should still easily progress from Group E with a win in their next match.

Arsenal failed to repeat their 5-2 Group G win over Fenerbahce from the trip to Turkey two weeks ago as they were held 0-0 this time.

Like United, however, they still lead their group though, without a win in their last three matches, coach Arsene Wenger should be more concerned about their poor form than focusing on the bad behaviour of their opponents.

Wenger's French compatriots Lyon look to be on the verge of making the second round as well after a fine 2-0 win over Romanian side Steaua Bucharest with their evergreen Brazilian playmaker Juninho setting them on their way with a freekick late in the second-half.

Their progress to the next round was helped by ironically another Romanian Adrian Mutu, whose 11th minute goal saw Lyon's group opponents Fiorentina to a 1-1 draw at home to German giants Bayern Munich, who are now tied on eight points with the seven-time French champions at the top of Group F.

Ranieri, known as the 'Tinkerman' when he was at Chelsea for his habit of changing the starting line-ups for each match, was thankful to striker del Piero who scored both their goals, but the Juve handler said he had never doubted the outcome once he had delivered his pre-match talk.

"Juventus deliver when it matters," said Ranieri. "I told my players to go and play as if they were using a "Playstation," to go on to the pitch and run and win."

Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson may have been frustrated in his attempts to get his side through already to the last 16 but despite the rather fortunate 1-1 draw with Celtic he had reassuring words for Celtic's coach and former United player Gordon Strachan.

He insisted he would be sending a strong side to Villarreal, who looked to be going through yesterday but were held to a 2-2 draw with Aalborg, in pursuit of the points they need to be sure of topping the group.

"We want to win the group, so Celtic don't need to worry about that," pledged the Scot, who admitted that he felt his side were headed for their second defeat here in the space of three years.

Strachan rejected the criticisms of the previous encounter a fortnight ago when Paul Ince, like Strachan another former United star, had said it was like watching men against boys.

"We are not boys we are men," said Strachan. "All I asked of the players was that they show some pride tonight (Wednesday) and they did that in spades."

Wenger's frustrations with his team's performance -albeit a side vastly reduced by injuries - was all too clear.

However, once again the thoughtful Frenchman refused to allude to weaknesses of the Gunners, though he did admit that perhaps they had let three points slip through their fingers.

"The positive side is we are top of the group, the negative side is we didn't win a game we should have won."



Topics : Football
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