Italian football champions Juventus have scored two late goals to notch a dramatic 3-2 win over the A-League All Stars in Sydney.
Italian football champions Juventus scored two stunning late goals to deny the A-League All Stars a famous win and earn a 3-2 victory in Sydney on Sunday night.
The All Stars led twice and performed well against the Italians, who had to dig deep for the win at ANZ Stadium after trailing 1-0 for 50 minutes.
Western Sydney Wanderers and Socceroos striker Tomi Juric drilled an unstoppable left-foot shot home from 15 metres in the 76th minute to give the All Stars a 2-1 lead.
French midfielder Paul Pogba, who was named best young player at the recent World Cup and has been the subject of transfer speculation, chested the ball down in the 88th minute and blasted a superb equaliser.
Substitute Simone Pepe then snatched a stoppage-time winner with a fierce first time drive after the All Stars failed to clear a corner.
The local side held a 1-0 lead from the ninth minute after Adelaide’s Argentinian midfielder Marcelo Carrusca clinically drilled home a pass from Brisbane’s German midfielder Thomas Broich, the A-League player of last season.
His strike was cancelled out just before the hour when towering 195cm Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente powerfully headed home a perfect left wing cross from French fullback and new recruit Patrice Evra, who played for Manchester United against the All Stars last year.
After Pogba’s equaliser, substitutes Gui Finkler, Storm Roux and David Williams had late chances to win the game for the All Stars in a frantic finish.
Juventus fielded a starting XI comprised entirely of internationals from six different nations with a combined tally of almost 650 caps.
The All Stars didn’t appear daunted by the expensively assembled array of talent pitted at them in front of 55,364 spectators.
They passed the ball especially well in the first half-hour, playing the passing game favoured by coach Josep Gombau at Adelaide.
In the first 35 minutes, the All Stars created the best chances.
Carrusca’s goal apart, Besart Berisha had a shot brilliantly saved by veteran Italian international goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
A-League captain Alessandro Del Piero put one shot over and smashed a free kick into the Juventus wall as he strove hard to deliver a goal in probably his final appearance in Australia.
The Italian icon received a standing ovation and hugs from some of his A-League and former Juventus teammates as he left the game in the 64th minute.
Juventus and especially striker Carlos Tevez came to life in the last few minutes of the first half, with the Argentinian going close on three occasions.
He drilled one shot wide, hit the post with another and had a third attempt saved by Eugene Galekovic.
Broich and Albert Riera had shots at goal blocked in the first four minutes of the second half, but then Juventus enjoyed a good spell prior to their equaliser.
Claudio Marchisio had a shot deflected wide and Leonardo Bonucci and Paul Pogba both headed over from corners.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was impressed with the organisation of the All Stars considering the short time they had together and the performances of Berisha and fellow forward Bernie Ibini.
“We met a team that was very well organised and put us under big pressure, particularly in the first half when we made some technical mistakes,” Allegri said through an interpreter.
“But we were better in the second half, but we still need to work quite a lot, particularly on the physical side.
“It was certainly a good test for us.”
Gombau was delighted with his team’s performance.
“I am happy with everything apart from the result,” Gombau said.
Del Piero was amazed by the ovation he got when he came off and suggested the All Stars’ performance was a plus for Australia’s footballing reputation.
“We did a great game, we had more opportunities to score goals,” Del Piero said.
“It was great to show to everyone, not just a big team like Juventus, how the level of the A-League has improved and Australian football.”