Juventus 1 Manchester City 1: Jo goal helps Roberto Mancini's second string earn a draw

17 December 2010 01:20
It is unlikely that a transfer request from the modestly talented forward Jo Silva would cause a fraction of the consternation prompted by Carlos Tevez's decision to leave Manchester City.

Nevertheless, it was a goal from the unheralded Brazilian that saw his club through to the knockout stages of the Europa League as winners of Group A.

With City boss Roberto Mancini heading for a meeting with Tevez, the last thing he needed last night was a defeat against the team he supported so passionately as a child growing up in Italy.

Late show: Jo celebrates with Adam Johnson after his sweet strike late on earned a draw for City

Thanks to Jo's goal 14 minutes from time at a freezing Stadio Olimpico, Mancini's side returned home with a draw that was as creditable as it was deserved.

City will go into today's draw for the next stages knowing a tie against a team like Rangers, Sevilla or Napoli will be as hard as it gets.

Mancini - perhaps realising Friday's meeting with Tevez will be a more taxing occasion - said: 'I am happy. We wanted to finish at the top of the group. I was surprised to find ourselves playing against all Juventus's top players and I think we did very well.

Turin breaks: Goalscorer Niccolo' Giannetti (R) celebrates his strike shortly before the interval with team-mate Milos Krasic

'I have known Jo for five years and Iknow how hard he works and tries. I am very happy for him. It's difficult to say how far we will go in this competition. It is importantthat we get a good draw.'

The game attracted only about 7,000 spectators, though the fact the City section of this old stadium was full reflected well on the English club's support. Some of the monkey noises directed at Patrick Vieira and the obscene songs about City's absent striker Mario Balotelli, once of Inter, reflected rather less well on the locals.

Despite this, City certainly set the tone early on, playing positive football and using the width of the field. Indeed it looked as though they were about to take the lead in the second minute. Captain for the night Micah Richards was played in down the right and gallopped into Juve's penalty area. The City defendercould have taken a shot himself but chose to cross low towards Jo.

Crowded out: Shaun Wright-Phillips struggles to keep hold of possession under pressure from Armand Traore

A block close to goal prevented the Brazilian from scoring but still the danger wasn't cleared as the ball rebounded to Adam Johnson on the left. But the winger couldn't apply thefinish that was required and City were denied what would have been a perfect start.

For the following 20 minutes, however, City did look dangerous. Johnson was a threat down the left while James Milner was very much in the game from a central position. Both these players should ask themselves why they are not in Mancini's Premier League team at the moment and they were playing with something to prove.

Taking control: Giannetti squeezes the ball past Shay Given to give Juventus the lead on the stroke of half-time

A misplaced back pass from Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko caused his goalkeeper Alex Manninger some concern in the sixth minute, prompting the former Arsenal player to turnit behind for a corner. Then, eight minutes later, Alex Nimely was handed his first chance of the night but failed to hit the target with aheader from 10 yards.

Juventus, it must be said, were a little slow to get going, attacking only sporadically and with little fluency. Vieira was performing a screening role in front of central defenders Dedryck Boyata and Jerome Boateng and the Italians found it rather hard to get within sight of Shay Given's goal.

Running the show: Italy legend and Juventus stalwart Alessandro Del Piero runs into trouble in the form of Jerome Boateng (R)

The 36-year-old Alessandro del Piero - looking more like Bruce Springsteen with each passing year - drove one shot over the angle of the bar from 25 yards onthe quarter-hour but he was to return later with a much more meaningfulcontribution.

After a bright opening, the game had fallen into a lull for the best part of half an hour when Juve sprung the City defence out of nowhere just before half-time. Del Piero got thebetter of Richards down the left and, when he crossed low, Nicolo Giannetti got ahead of Boyata to poke the opening goal past Given from seven yards.

Unbelievable tekkers: Mancini reminds Italian fans of his silks as he puts the ball back into play with a heel-flick

City certainly didn't deserve to be behind but for a while in the second half things threatened to get worseas Jo had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside and Juventus threatened through the excellent Felipe Melo, Milos Krasic and Nicola Legrottaglie.

Legrottaglie's chance was pivotal. Hehad already blocked an effort from Johnson at the other end and it looked as though he was about to make it 2-0 before Boateng got in the way.

Slide away: Patrick Vieira, playing his 100th game in Europe, tackles former Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko

City did regain a foothold in the game as it entered its latter stages and could have had a penalty when Nimely's shot hit a hand.

But Jo finally gave them the draw when he ran on to Johnson's astute pass to score past Manninger with his left foot.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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