Nantes 0-3 Juventus (1-4 agg): Di Maria hat-trick fires Bianconeri into round of 16

By Sports Desk February 23, 2023

An Angel Di Maria hat-trick fired Juventus into the Europa League round of 16 as they secured a 4-1 aggregate triumph over 10-man Nantes on Thursday.

A 1-1 draw in Turin meant Juve faced a tough task to progress at a loud Stade de la Beaujoire, but Di Maria's spectacular opener set them on the way to victory.

Nantes' task was made harder when Nicolas Pallois saw red for handling Di Maria's inventive goalbound flick, before the Juve winger slammed the resulting penalty into the top corner.

Di Maria capped his excellent display with a late header to seal Juve's progression, and Massimiliano Allegri's men await Friday's draw to find out who stands between them and the quarter-finals.

Nantes started brightly but found themselves behind after five minutes when Di Maria's stunning curler found the top left corner from outside the area.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts shortly after as Di Maria weaved into the box before backheeling towards goal, with the Argentina international's effort striking the arm of Pallois.

The referee awarded a penalty and sent the Nantes defender off, before Di Maria thumped home the spot-kick.

It should have been game over just before the break, but Filip Kostic could only drill off the post from a tight angle.

Di Maria nearly completed his hat-trick shortly after the restart, though Alban Lafont palmed away his attempt from range.

Di Maria did get his treble with 12 minutes to play though as his header from a tight angle squeezed just over the line to put Juve through to the next round in style.

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