Juventus 1-0 Valencia: Mario Mandzukic strike sees hosts into Champions League last 16
Valencia knocked out after Man Utd's 1-0 win against Young Boys
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 27/11/18 10:36pm
Mario Mandzukic's tap-in was enough to send Juventus into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win against Valencia.
Tuesday night's hosts went into the game knowing a point would see them through to the knockout stages and although the performance was not the most polished, they did their job.
After a goalless first half - which saw Mouctar Diakhaby go close with a header just before half-time in the pick of Valencia's chances - Mandzukic slotted home a Cristiano Ronaldo cross to see Juventus into the next round.
Juventus are currently two points clear at the top of Group H ahead of Manchester United - who also beat Young Boys 1-0 on Tuesday - with the Old Trafford result knocking Valencia out of the competition.
Juventus: Szczesny (6), Bonucci (7), Chiellini (7), Cancelo (7), Sandro (6), Pjanic (6), Bentacur (6), Matuidi (5), Dybala (6), Ronaldo (7), Mandzukic (7).
Subs used: Cuadrado (6), Costa (4).
Valencia: Neto (8), Gaya (7), Diakhaby (7), Paulista (7), Wass (7), Guedes (7), Kondogbia (7), Parejo (6), Coquelin (6), Mina (4), Rodrigo (4).
Subs used: Gameiro (4), Batshuayi (4), Soler (4).
Man of the match: Neto.
After a few snapshot efforts early on from Ronaldo, Juventus had the first real chance of the game on the 15-minute mark. Joao Cancelo put a wonderful cross in, but Daniel Wass tracked Mandzukic well towards the back post with the Juventus forward's header going straight into the hands of Neto.
Eight minutes later, and Ronaldo nearly turned Alex Sandro's cross home, but he was put off target by Geoffrey Kondogbia as the ball went behind. Not long after, Valencia went close with Goncalo Guedes' cross headed away by Giorgio Chiellini before Wass' shot from range went whipping through the area.
Juventus kept six players in their XI from the weekend, with Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentacur, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic all started. Valencia made one change with Carlos Soler being replaced by Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Valencia's best chance of the game came on the stroke of half-time as Diakhaby headed a Valencia corner towards goal at the near post, but Wojciech Szczesny was there to make a superb reaction save to see the ball away.
Juventus took the lead in the 59th minute. Ronaldo left Gabriel Paulista in his wake as he burst down the left-hand side of the box, getting the extra yard on the defender, with Mandzukic waiting to tap home his cross at point-blank range.
Two minutes later, Valencia thought they had scored the equaliser. Daniel Parejo delivered a free kick which found the back of the net via the arm of Diakhaby. Juventus called for the handball and Scottish referee Willie Collum agreed, disallowing the goal and booking the Valencia defender.
Juventus should have had a second, but were denied by some brilliant Neto saves. He saved twice after the hour mark, keeping out a Mandzukic effort and a curling Paolo Dybala shot, before leaping to catch Ronaldo's bullet header from Dybala's corner.
Juventus could not find another, although it was not needed as they booked their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League for the fifth successive season.
- Juventus have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven Champions League group stage games.
- Valencia have now failed to get past the group stages in three of their last four Champions League campaigns.
- Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo was on the winning side for the 100th time in the Champions League (157th game) - the first player to reach this milestone in the competition.
- Juventus' Mario Mandzukic has scored at least once in all seven of his previous Champions League campaigns, netting 21 goals in total.
Man of the match - Neto
It is, admittedly, strange to choose a goalkeeper and one on the losing side, but Valencia could have been beaten by a lot more - especially in the second half - if it wasn't for their goalkeeper, who showed great confidence.
Neto, returning to his former side, showed them what they are missing, making some superb, leaping saves to keep out the talent of Juventus and showed strong hands when the balls came straight at him. Although Valencia were knocked out, he should be patted on the back by his team-mates for helping them avoid a thrashing.
Juventus travel to Fiorentina in Serie A on Saturday and their next Champions League outing will be to Young Boys on Wednesday December 12. Valencia will go to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid this weekend and will next be in European action on December 12 when they welcome Manchester United.