Ten-man Juve draw at Gladbach, eye last 16
MOENCHENGLADBACH: Ten-man Juventus rescued a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach in their Champions League Group D game on Tuesday as they edged closer to the last 16 and ended the Germans' hopes of reaching the knockout stage in their maiden season.
The Italians, last season's beaten finalists, are on eight points, one behind leaders Manchester City and five ahead of third placed Sevilla after coming from a goal down to level on the stroke of halftime through Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Gladbach, who took the lead through Fabian Johnson, twice hit the woodwork and had two thirds of the possession but are trailing in fourth with two points.
City's 3-1 win at Sevilla meant they leapfrogged Juve into first place and qualified for the last 16.
"It was a positive game given the circumstances," Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters. "We started well, then risked and conceded a goal. Then we seemed to have the game in hand until the sending off."
"But I would like to see an improvement, because this is about developing character and technique. We should not be getting in trouble at the first sign of pressure. We have to read the game differently then, stretch it out."
Gladbach, who have won six straight league matches under coach Andre Schubert, took an 18th-minute lead through Johnson after early pressure but Juve levelled and were in control until Brazilian Hernanes was sent off in the 53rd minute for a wild challenge on Alvaro Dominguez.
They managed to hold on thanks to veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who made crucial saves in the second half. Gladbach also hit the crossbar in the 89th minute.
Juventus, who are unbeaten in their last six away games in the Champions League, tried to surprise Gladbach with an early goal but Patrice Evra's shot from 10 metres out sailed high.
The hosts were unimpressed and quickly deployed the high pressing game that has helped them turn their Bundesliga season around under Schubert.
It paid off when Johnson beat Buffon with a diagonal shot from a Raffael assist after some sloppy defending by Giorgio Chiellini.
The Italy defender then rose high to connect with a corner but the ball bounced just wide as Juve tried to turn the tables on the Germans.
They managed that a minute from halftime when Paul Pogba chipped the ball over the entire Gladbach defence and the 31-year-old Lichtsteiner, returning from a month out due to heart surgery, volleyed in.
Frenchman Pogba went close right after the restart with a sublime long-range effort but when Hernanes was dismissed for a reckless studs-up sliding tackle on Dominguez, it forced Juve into a change of plan.
The Italians dropped back and soaked up Gladbach's attacks to draw for the second time against the Germans after their goalless stalemate in Turin last month.
"It was a shame because we were missing just that one goal," Gladbach's attacking midfielder Ibrahima Traore said. "But we can still be proud of our performance."