A clinical last-minute goal from Douglas Costa saw Juventus clinch a spot in the Champions League knockout stage on Wednesday, as Maurizio Sarri's team beat Lokomotiv Moscow on the road 2-1 on Matchday 4. Juve needed the win to clinch but looked like it would settle for a draw, only to see Gonzalo Higuain assist the Brazilian in the 93rd minute, as Costa nutmegged the goalkeeper with his final touch.
Juve was outshot and outplayed for much of the match but never gave in, controlling the final minutes in search of a winner that didn't seem likely to come. But it did, and at an opportune time considering star Cristiano Ronaldo was taken off in the second half when it felt like a draw would be an OK result. Lokokmotiv had 18 shots, one more than Juve, and was unlucky to not score a second, as Leonardo Bonucci cleared a Joao Mario shot off the line in the second half.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
This was a fortunate result for Juve
It feels like Juve stole the victory, and part of that is due to how the team got its opening goal. Just three minutes in, a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick was mishandled by Guilherme. The Brazilian keeper let the ball go through his arms and legs with Aaron Ramsey tapping home the opener just before it crossed the line:
A nice start for Juve, but far from deserving and makes you wonder what the result would have been had if not been for the gaffe.
Guilherme redeemed himself... for the most part
Conceding a late goal is never fun, especially when it was the decider, and while Lokomotiv had its chances, Juve did as well. Guilherme kept his team in it with this incredible save on Higuain in the first half, going low to keep out a powerful effort.
He had another strong save on Higuain, giving his team a fighting chance that in the end just wasn't enough.
Costa saves the day, but Higuain was key
Not to take anything away from Douglas Costa's finish, because it was perfect, but watch Higuain with the nifty assist. He looks to make the run into the box, doesn't get the ball he wants but is smart enough to knock a little flick into space. It got the speedy Costa through, and it worked to perfection:
Costa is not a starter for Juventus, but a moment like that should earn him more minutes and the confidence of Sarri with a busy schedule ahead. Costa played 20 minutes and gave his team three valuable points with one magical moment.
Juventus 2-1 Lokomotiv Moscow (FT)
We were with you the entire way, providing analysis and highlights from the match. You can relive Juventus' win below.