Juventus 1-0 Freiburg: Di Maria strikes again as Bianconeri draw first blood

By Sports Desk March 09, 2023

Angel Di Maria scored the only goal of the game as Juventus beat Freiburg in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 encounter.

Juve registered a whopping 20 shots at the Allianz Stadium, where Di Maria's second-half header Bianconeri gave them a slender lead in the tie.

The Argentina international continued to shine in this competition, having netted a hat-trick against Nantes in the previous round.

Freiburg, who saw their five-match unbeaten streak halted, must come from behind when the teams recommence battle in Germany next week.

Massimiliano Allegri's decision to drop Paul Pogba from the squad for disciplinary reasons dominated the build-up to what was Juve's first Europa League showdown against German opposition since they faced Borussia Dortmund in the 1994-95 semi-finals.

Pogba's fellow France international Adrien Rabiot almost opened the scoring when he drew smart reflexes out of Mark Flekken, who also kept out Juan Cuadrado's free-kick.

Bremer then somehow failed to find an open goal in the 31st minute, the defender heading over Di Maria's deep corner from just two yards out, while Cuadrado stung Flekken's palms once more before the break.

Juve eventually made the breakthrough eight minutes into the second half, when Di Maria powered home a header from Filip Kostic's centre.

Freiburg thought they had responded in the 62nd minute but, following a consultation with the VAR, Lucas Holer's wonderful volley was ruled out as Matthias Ginter handled in the build-up.

Vincenzo Grifo was then marginally off target with a free-kick that represented the visitors' only recorded attempt on goal, as the Serie A side saw out a narrow victory.

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