• Alessandro Del Piero helps Juventus to beat Spaniards - [Sports news]

    2008-11-07 | Tag:Alessandro Del Piero


    Real Madrid's Gabriel Heinze (R) fights for the ball with Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero during their Champions League soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid November 5, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

    BEIJING, Nov. 7 -- Juventus, inspired by two-goal Alessandro Del Piero, chalked up its first win at Real Madrid since 1962 by beating the Spaniards 2-0 on Wednesday to qualify for the last 16 of the European Champions League.

    The 33-year-old Italy striker received a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd when he was substituted in injury time after an effervescent performance hailed by coach Claudio Ranieri.

    "When you have a great player who is performing superbly and giving his all for the team the color of his shirt does not matter," Ranieri told a news conference. "They applaud because they are applauding football, they are applauding a thing of beauty."

    Defeat left nine-time European champion Real in a precarious position in Group H, needing to avoid slip-ups in its final two matches against BATE Borisov and Zenit St. Petersburg. BATE was beaten 0-2 by visiting Zenit on Wednesday.

    Real had the lion's share of possession but created few opportunities after Del Piero fired Juve into an early lead when he drilled in a low left-foot shot from 18 meters.

    Spain defender Sergio Ramos spurned Real's best chance midway through the second half and Del Piero made it 2-0 with a superb free kick that left goalkeeper Iker Casillas watching helplessly.

    "I am extremely happy," Del Piero said. "We won, we have qualified, I scored.

    "I am proud of the applause I received at the Bernabeu, an incredible stadium. You live for these kinds of emotions."

    Holder Manchester United, former winner Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 champion Olympique Lyon moved a step closer to the last 16 but Arsenal still has work to do after a 0-0 home draw with Turkey's Fenerbahce.

    United drew 1-1 at Celtic after a late header from Ryan Giggs canceled out Scott McDonald's early opener, the Australian striker beating goalkeeper Ben Foster with a delightful lob from the edge of the penalty box.

    "In the second half we kept our perseverance and deserved the point but with minutes to go you obviously think you are going to lose," United manager Alex Ferguson said.

    "That's football and you keep thinking it's never going to be your night."

    The result left the English and European champion top of Group E level on eight points with Spain's Villarreal, which drew 2-2 at AaB Aalborg after the Danes twice came from behind to keep a mathematical chance of progressing.

    Group F took on a similar look after Bayern drew 1-1 at Fiorentina in Italy and Lyon beat Romania's Steaua Bucharest 2-0.

    Tim Borowski struck in the 78th to put Germany's Bayern level on eight points with Lyon after Juninho and Anthony Reveillere scored in each half for the winner of seven successive French league titles.

    Fiorentina has three points and a slim chance of reaching the last 16 while Steaua, with one point, can only hope for a UEFA Cup berth available to third-placed teams.

    Arsenal failed to break down a stubborn Fenerbahce at the Emirates Stadium but still leads Group G with eight points, two more than Porto following the Portuguese champion's come-from-behind 2-1 win at Ukraine's Dynamo Kiev, which is still in contention on five points.

    (Source: Shanghai Daily/Agencies)