Juventus blank Malmo to pull second in Champions League group

MALMO, Sweden — 

Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez scored in the second half as Juventus eliminated Malmo from the Champions League on Wednesday with 2-0 away win.

Defeats on the road against Atletico Madrid and Olympiacos had left Juve in third place prior to kick-off, but second-half goals from Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez gave the Italians a crucial win. Tevez’s strike angered Malmo, with Erik Johansson earning seeing red for dissent, while two of his teammates were also booked amid the protests.

”We took a big step and now we will be playing for the first place in the group at home against Atletico,” Tevez said after the victory.

Juve move up to second place, three points behind Atletico and three clear of Olympiacos going into the final round of fixtures, while Malmo are left to fight for a Europa League place. Malmo began brightly with Isaac Kiese Thelin enjoying two early sights of goal, but not managing to test Gianluigi Buffon on either occasion.

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Instead, Juventus took control of the game as they began to pile up chances. Robin Olsen pushed Arturo Vidal’s drilled effort to safety before holding Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick. Claudio Marchisio’s shot just before the half-hour mark was straight at the goalkeeper, while Stephan Lichtsteiner shot wide soon after.

Olsen made a fine save to push Marchisio’s volleyed effort around the post for a corner. Buffon got a rare touch when he held on to Thelin’s shot five minutes before the break, while Vidal volleyed wide at the other end.

Pirlo sent a free-kick into the wall and Malmo hung on until the break. However, the stalemate did not last long into the second half. Tevez had gone close moments before Llorente broke the deadlock, shooting low past the goalkeeper from Marchisio’s assist.

Still Juve came forward, with Tevez shooting wide from close range while Olsen kept out Llorente’s header. Malmo were offering little and Juve finally killed the match off with two minutes to go.

Seconds after Markus Rosenberg had warmed the palms of Buffon, Pogba played in Tevez and he bobbled in a right-footed shot. Malmo immediately protested with Johansson earning a head-start on his shower and Olsen and Rosenberg also booked.

”It felt like they had quicker legs in the second half, and we ended up falling behind,” Malmo striker Markus Rosenberg said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.