Juventus 3-1 Maccabi Haifa: Rabiot brace lifts beleaguered Bianconeri

By Sports Desk October 05, 2022

Adrien Rabiot's brace helped Juventus to a much-needed 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League on Wednesday, boosting their hopes of progressing from Group H.

The Bianconeri approached the match requiring a victory after successive European losses against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, and they hit the front through Rabiot's powerful first-half finish.

Angel Di Maria starred with a hat-trick of assists, including a sublime pass to allow Dusan Vlahovic to double Juventus' lead shortly after the break.

Juventus came under pressure after Dean David raced through to reduce the arrears, but Rabiot's late header made the points safe and eased the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri.

Vlahovic twice went close as Juventus started strongly, seeing a well-placed strike turned away by Matt Cohen before dragging a poor effort wide from Filip Kostic's cut-back.

Maccabi posed a threat on the break throughout the first half, leading to jeers from a nervous home crowd, but the Bianconeri made the breakthrough when Rabiot darted onto Di Maria's pass to blast into the roof of the net 10 minutes before the break.

Di Maria was again involved when Juventus extended their lead five minutes after half-time, picking out Vlahovic with a sublime outside-of-the-foot pass before the Serb slotted into the bottom-right corner.

Omer Atzili struck the foot of the post as Maccabi refused to go down without a fight, before Vlahovic was denied a double by the offside flag after converting from yet another Di Maria pass.

David ensured a tense finish when he rounded Wojciech Szczesny to give Maccabi hope with 15 minutes remaining, but Rabiot had the final say, securing Juventus' win by nodding Di Maria's corner home eight minutes later.

What does it mean? Juventus stay alive in Group H

Juventus approached Wednesday's match having lost three successive Champions League games. Had the Bianconeri fallen to a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time in the competition's history, their hopes of progression – and Allegri himself – may not have recovered.

But the Bianconeri – led by their outstanding midfield duo Rabiot and Di Maria – shook off any first-half nerves to move within four points of PSG and Benfica.

Di Maria equals Messi with creative masterclass

Di Maria was limited to one substitute appearance in Juventus' first two European matches of the campaign after struggling with an injury, and the Bianconeri may be left to rue his early absence if they fail to escape Group H.

Since the start of the 2007-08 campaign – when Di Maria made his first Champions League appearance, no player has bettered his tally of 35 assists in the competition.

Only his legendary compatriot Lionel Messi has teed up as many Champions League goals during that spell.

Rabiot ends long wait

Rabiot looked every inch the natural goalscorer as his brace led Juventus to a vital win, but the France international had endured a long goal drought prior to Wednesday's double.

The 27-year-old's first-half effort ended his 50-game run without a goal in all competitions, and represented his first strike since he found the net against Bologna in May 2021.

What's next?

Juventus will face a huge test of their Serie A credentials when they travel to Champions Milan on Saturday, while Maccabi Haifa go to Maccabi Bnei Raina on the same day.

Related items

  • Daniel Farke hails feelgood factor at Leeds after late comeback stuns Leicester Daniel Farke hails feelgood factor at Leeds after late comeback stuns Leicester

    Leeds boss Daniel Farke said the feelgood factor was more important than club records after three late goals sealed his side a 3-1 home win over promotion rivals Leicester.

    Connor Roberts, Archie Gray and Patrick Bamford all struck for Leeds in the final 10 minutes after Wout Faes’ first-half header had given Championship leaders Leicester a deserved lead.

    Farke’s side equalled a 92-year club record of nine straight league wins and extended their unbeaten run at Elland Road this season, while the German is the first Leeds manager to remain undefeated in his first 19 home games in charge.

    The former Norwich boss, whose side have cut the gap on Leicester to six points after trailing them by 17 at the turn of the year, said: “It’s a great evening for everyone connected with Leeds United.

    “To be there with a ninth win in a row, unbeaten here at Elland Road (this season) – there are many record-breaking statistics.

    “But even more important is the feeling and the spirit. You could feel it in the celebrations of the whole stadium.

    “You could see what it means to everyone connected with this club after some really tough years, many disappointments and days of suffering.

    “To experience such a period when you feel everything is really united here – players, staff, supporters, the whole club.

    “We’re delivering such performances and such results. It’s great and I’m delighted for our supporters. They can enjoy their weekend in a proper way, that’s for sure.”

    Leicester had been good value for their slender lead after Faes headed in from a corner but were punished for some glaring misses and slipped to back-to-back league defeats.

    Jannik Vestergaard’s second-half header went within a whisker of giving the Foxes a 2-0 lead when it hit a post and Patson Daka had an effort wrongly ruled out for offside.

    Stephy Mavididi fired a fraction wide and Daka pulled another golden chance off target.

    On the disallowed goal, Leicester boss Enzo Maresca said: “I didn’t watch to be honest, so I can’t say anything.

    “But until the goal we conceded in the 80th minute, we dominated and controlled the game.

    “We created many chances and at the end it was a matter of the chances that we missed.”

    The Italian admitted his players reacted badly to conceding Leeds substitute Roberts’ equaliser.

    “In the last 10 minutes, in this kind of game in this stadium, it’s easy when you concede a goal that you drop a little or mentally they are better than us,” he added.

    “We feel bad because we dropped points, but at the same I feel very proud because we came here with the personality we showed.”

  • Coventry’s Tatsuhiro Sakamoto suffers ‘terrible’ injury in Preston defeat Coventry’s Tatsuhiro Sakamoto suffers ‘terrible’ injury in Preston defeat

    Coventry boss Mark Robins said winger Tatsuhiro Sakamoto suffered a “terrible injury” during his side’s 3-0 home defeat to Preston.

    The 27-year-old landed heavily following a challenge by Andrew Hughes in the first half and was taken off the pitch on a stretcher.

    Robins said: “Tatsu’s got a terrible, terrible injury.

    “I’m praying and hoping he’s OK because that doesn’t look good at all. They can’t be clear, they’re talking about a pelvic and spinal injury, so I’m just hoping he’s OK.”

    The Coventry boss admitted his team were “bullied” from the first whistle to the last as they lost at home for just the second time this season.

    Emil Riis thumped a header home in the first minute and was involved heavily in Will Keane’s 12th of the season before Bobby Thomas put through his own net after 38 minutes.

    Robins said: “We got bullied. From minute one to minute 98 we got bullied. That’s what I put it down to.

    “There’s physical games and then there’s tonight. That was more like when I played, that was like what we used to play in and we just didn’t cope with it.

    “We’ve had physical performances before and we’ve been fine, but for whatever reason we just looked disjointed, we looked like a team of individuals and that’s as far away from a performance of any of my teams as it’s ever been, it was poor.

    “I take responsibility for everything, the performances have got to be better than that and that was far away from a good performance, but sometimes football kicks you in the teeth.

    “We have to get back as quick as we can. The good thing for us is we’ve got a game on Monday (against Maidstone in the FA Cup). There’s a big, big challenge there on Monday against a side that’s going to want to come and do the same thing and put us on the back foot, but we’ve allowed that to happen.”

    Preston manager Ryan Lyon hailed a “top performance” from his team.

    “Front foot from minute one, set-play goal that we worked on, I couldn’t have asked for any more really,” he said.

    “Coventry are a good team, they had a go to be fair, I just thought we were better all round. I thought the lads were fantastic.

    “I’m over the moon for the boys, but it’s just another win, it takes us closer to the points tally that we set yesterday, what we did last time.

    “We’ve always played different types of football, I think sometimes you have to pay the opposition respect. Coventry are an attacking force who score goals at home, but they couldn’t get near what they want tonight.

    “Whatever brand it is, it’s just about winning football matches. The belief has just shot through the roof because of the results they’ve been getting and long may that continue.

    “We’ve got 10 or 11 weeks to give it our best shot, the lads have set another target and we’ll just go for that target. I don’t want to get too carried away.

    “If we can keep doing the right things, there’s teams that will want to shoot you down, but we’re coming up against teams around us and let’s just give it our best shot.”

  • What dreams are made of – Grace Clinton ‘buzzing’ after goal on England debut What dreams are made of – Grace Clinton ‘buzzing’ after goal on England debut

    Grace Clinton described scoring on her England debut as “what dreams are made of” after the Lionesses completed a 7-2 rout of Austria in the first of two international friendlies in Spain.

    Clinton headed home Lauren Hemp’s delivery in the 19th minute at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador for her first senior international goal, having minutes earlier seen an effort come back off of a post.

    The 20-year-old looked comfortable throughout her 62 minutes on the pitch and her performance drew praise from boss Sarina Wiegman.

    Clinton told ITV: “It’s what dreams are made of. I’m very happy. I did picture this moment since I was a child, definitely, but I didn’t know it would be with my head!

    “I’m just absolutely buzzing.”

    The Liverpudlian has impressed in the Women’s Super League this season for Tottenham, where she is on loan from Manchester United, scoring four goals and picking up two assists across 13 league appearances.

    She hopes her efforts for club and now country will be enough to sufficiently impress Wiegman, who said she would use this encounter and Tuesday’s Italy friendly as a chance to experiment ahead of April’s opening Euro 2025 qualifiers.

    Clinton, whose parents were able to witness their daughter’s achievement in person, added: “It’s so competitive, so many great players in the squad and to be in and around them is an unbelievable experience, so to be competing in there is what you want to be doing.”

    Alessia Russo opened the scoring inside three minutes and finished with two goals and an assist in Algeciras, while her Arsenal team-mate Beth Mead also bagged a brace and late goals from Jess Carter and Rachel Daly completed the rout.

    Wiegman is notoriously reluctant to single out specific players, but told ITV: “I think that’s a dream debut for (Clinton). I think she played well too, she had done really well in training and plays well for Tottenham and I think she was enjoying herself.

    “It was a very good goal, so I’m very happy for her.”

    The biggest concern for the England boss will be that both of Virginia Kirchberger’s headed goals for Austria came from set-pieces on either side of half-time.

    Wiegman said: “I’m so happy with the seven goals and the performance, of course there’s also the little things you’re not happy with.

    “We conceded two goals out of corners, one we didn’t block great and the second one we should have got the header. Of course we want to do that better.”

    England’s friendly double-header marks their first games of 2024 and also their first since failing to qualify for the semi-finals of the Nations League after finishing runners-up to Wiegman’s native Netherlands, who advanced to the final four of the new Olympic qualifying tournament.

    Those semi-finals were also staged on Friday night, with World Cup winners Spain booking their trip to the Paris Games by beating the Netherlands 3-0 to reach the final, where they will meet France.

    Due to France’s automatic qualification as hosts, the third and final European Olympic place will be awarded to the winners of a third-place play-off between Germany and the Netherlands.

    Wiegman insisted her European champions have moved on from the disappointment of not qualifying a Great Britain team for the Games, adding: “The full focus is on the Euro qualifiers, starting with these friendlies and then for the Euros next year.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.