Higuain scores late as Juventus draws with Sporting Lisbon
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain scored a late equalizer as Juventus drew with Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Tuesday to remain ahead of the Portuguese club in Group D of the Champions League.
Higuain scored for the visitors with a flick shot from inside the area after a perfect pass by Juan Cuadrado in the 79th minute.
The draw kept the Italian club in second place with seven points, three in front of Sporting and three behind leader Barcelona with two matches remaining.
“Barcelona won here only thanks to an own goal, so we knew it was going to be difficult,” Higuain said. “We still have a three-point advantage and we will try to keep Sporting behind us after the last two games in the group.”
Juventus, last year’s finalist, had a chance of securing a knockout spot with a win, but now it still has to fight to earn one of the two qualifying berths from the group.
“I’m upset because we had a chance to secure advancement,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Now we have to wait (for the next matches). It’s our own fault. We played an ugly first half. The second half was better.”
In the other group match, Barcelona and Olympiakos drew 0-0 in Greece.
Sporting had opened the scoring with a low shot from inside the area by Brazilian midfielder Bruno Cesar in the 20th after Gelson Martins’ strike was parried by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
“We are not bitter,” Sporting coach Jorge Jesus said. “We played against a fine team with excellent players who have great technical quality and tactically speaking are so strong.”
Juventus was outplayed by the hosts in the first half but improved significantly in the second, creating most of the scoring chances at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio had to make some difficult saves to keep his team ahead, but there was nothing he could do when Higuain entered the area and sent a shot over his head to level the match.
“We must remain calm because we made a few mistakes and could have lost this game,” Cuadrado said. “Everything is in our hands now, we just need to finish the job.”
Right back Mattia De Sciglio was back in Juventus’ squad after a long absence because of an ankle injury.
Sporting was without a few regular starters, including William Carvalho, who was replaced by Cesar.
Juventus had beaten Sporting 2-1 in Turin two weeks ago.
Sporting next hosts Olympiakos, while Juventus hosts Barcelona.
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