Costa’s late winner sends Juve to Champions League knockouts


Moscow (AFP) – Substitute Douglas Costa’s injury-time winner secured Juventus their spot in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday after a 2-1 victory over Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Brazilian winger struck a magnificent, last-gasp solo goal for the Italian champions after Aleksei Miranchuk had cancelled out Aaron Ramsey’s fourth-minute opener.

Juve are three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of Group D ahead of the Spanish side’s game at Bayer Leverkusen, who will likely battle Lokomotiv for a Europa League place.

Lokomotiv coach Yuri Semin made one change from the weekend’s draw at Ufa as on-loan Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario came in for Murilo Cerqueira.  

Juve’s Maurizio Sarri brought in seven new faces from Saturday’s Turin derby victory which included handing Wales midfielder Ramsey his first start for the club in the competition.

Ramsey, whose appearances for his new side this season have been restricted by injury, opened the scoring early after Lokomotiv goalkeeper Guilherme fumbled Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick.

Ronaldo fired his effort from the corner of the box straight at Guilherme who spilled the ball through his legs, allowing Ramsey to poke home from the goal-line on the greasy surface.

The Russians equalised eight minutes later after Juve took their foot off the gas.

Maciej Rybus whipped a cross towards Miranchuk who tapped in unopposed with Wojciech Szczesny on the floor after his header bounced back off the post.

The equaliser seemed to inspire Lokomotiv and they could have taken the lead less than 10 minutes later.

Miranchuk wasted a chance to double his tally after glancing his header over the crossbar from a chipped cross by Rifat Zhemaletdinov.

Ronaldo troubled Guilherme from a set-piece once again three minutes into the second half, the Brazil-born Russia international nervously parrying away the long-range effort.

Guilherme denied Ronaldo again nine minutes later sending the Portugal attacker’s powerful shot over the bar with an impressive save.

Ronaldo was substituted off for Paulo Dybala on 82 minutes with Sarri potentially keeping an eye on Sunday’s Serie A game against AC Milan, despite the former Real Madrid forward’s frustration at the decision.

Juve dominated the final moments and Costa clinched their sixth straight last 16 appearance with a tidy side-footed finish in injury time for his first Bianconeri goal since January.

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