regular-article-logo Saturday, 03 June 2023

Europa League: Angel Di Maria nets 3 as Juventus advance

It was Juve’s first hat-trick in a Uefa competition away from home since Filippo Inzaghi in 2000

Reuters Nantes, France Published 25.02.23, 06:10 AM
Angel Di Maria.

Angel Di Maria. File picture

Angel Di Maria scored a hat-trick as Juventus eased to a 3-0 win at 10-man Nantes on Thursday to reach the Europa League round of 16 4-1 on aggregate.

Juventus only managed a 1-1 draw against the French side in the home leg as they eyed a long run in the European competition to boost a miserable campaign in which they have been deducted 15 Serie A points for financial irregularities.


Argentine Di Maria put Juventus ahead after five minutes with a delightful curling strike from the edge of the box into the top corner.

The evening got worse for Nantes after 18 minutes when defender Nicolas Pallois was sent off when he used his arm to stop another goal from Di Maria. The 35-year-old Di Maria had no problem converting the resulting penalty.

Filip Kostic was close to getting a third for Juventus in first-half stoppage time, but his shot hit the inside of the post and the rebound landed in the hands of Nantes keeper Alban Lafont.

Juve’s Alex Sandro sent in a diving header late in the second half but Lafont was down quickly to make an impressive one-handed save.

Di Maria completed his treble 12 minutes from time when he sent in a glancing header and the ball just crossed the line before being pushed away.

It was Juve’s first hat-trick in a Uefa competition away from home since Filippo Inzaghi in 2000.

Fan attack on ’keeper

Luuk de Jong and Fabio Silva snatched late goals for PSV Eindhoven as they beat Sevilla 2-0 in the second leg, but the Spanish club advanced 3-2 on aggregate.

The match was halted in the closing stages after a supporter ran on to the pitch and assaulted Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, punching him in the face before being wrestled to the ground by the Serbian.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Dmitrovic told Movistar Plus as a red bruise could be seen on his neck. “I’ll keep my mouth shut so I don’t say what I would really like to do in that moment.”

In another match, Union Berlin cruised past Ajax Amsterdam 3-1 to book a spot in the round of 16 with the club’s biggest European victory to date.

It was another disappointing night in the Europa League for Ajax, who reached the knockout phase a record 10th time but have now been eliminated at the first hurdle six times.

United to take on Real Betis

London: Manchester United’s reward for getting the better of La Liga leaders Barcelona in the Europa League playoffs is a last-16 clash with another Spanish side, Real Betis, while Premier League table-toppers Arsenal will face Portuguese outfit Sporting.

United edged a thrilling playoff with Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate thanks to a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in Thursday’s second leg and remain in the hunt for four trophies this season as they continue to improve under coach Erik ten Hag.

The English side are looking to secure their first trophy since their 2017 Europa League triumph under Jose Mourinho, with the Portuguese’s current side AS Roma pitted against Real Socieded in this season’s last 16.

Arsenal sailed through the Europa League group stages, winning five of their six group matches and take on Sporting next.

Juventus will face Germany’s Freiburg next. Record six-time winners Sevilla must negotiate a way past Turkish side Fenerbahce.


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