x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Gio shines in Juve fightback

The striker Vincenzo Iaquinta scored the goals that helped Juventus turn around a two-goal deficit and salvage a 2-2 draw against BATE Borisov, but the World Cup winner hailed winger Sebastian Giovinco as the real hero of the piece.

Giovinco tussles with BATE's Aleksandr Yurevich.
Giovinco tussles with BATE's Aleksandr Yurevich.

The striker Vincenzo Iaquinta scored the goals that helped Juventus turn around a two-goal deficit and salvage a 2-2 draw against BATE Borisov, but the World Cup winner hailed winger Sebastian Giovinco as the real hero of the piece. The Belarus side BATE, playing their first home game in the Champions League proper, raced into a surprise 2-0 lead in Minsk to show they are far from whipping boys in Group H.

Juve were heading for the same fate as fellow Serie A side AS Roma, who lost to unheralded Romanians CFR Cluj last month, before 21-year-old Giovinco twice played in Iaquinta with pinpoint balls. The diminutive midfielder, who impressed at the Beijing Olympics for Italy, is fast pressuring 36-year-old Pavel Nedved for a regular starting berth. "To have him on the field changes things a lot," Iaquinta said. "He puts some great balls in the middle, which we attackers need. He is also a great player."

Juve, who now have four points from two games, have yet to agree a contract extension with the tricky winger but Giovinco said there was nothing to worry about. "There is no problem. I'll sign soon," he said. "For now I am only thinking about winning a place in the team. It was a surprise to play. We lacked an understanding in midfield but this will come by playing together." Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri heaped praise on BATE.

"BATE Borisov surprised us," he said. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. We have to compliment the Belorussian players and the coaching staff because they have done a very good job. It was a game that we should have won but in the end it's better to take home a point than nothing." The Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster admits his side were made to suffer by Zenit St Petersburg before making it two Champions League wins out of two in Group H.

Madrid won a thrilling encounter 2-1 where all three goals were scored in the opening 31 minutes, with an own goal from Tomas Hubocan and a Ruud van Nistelrooy strike cancelling out Danny's equaliser for the hosts. "We've obtained a very important win in St Petersburg against a difficult and hard-working team, who have a lot of speed," said Schuster. * With agencies