Villarreal hold Juve to draw despite lightning strike from debutant Vlahovic

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(Reuters) -Dusan Vlahovic scored the second-fastest goal ever for a Champions League debutant as his Juventus side were held to a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in a last-16 first-leg tie on Tuesday.

The Serbian striker, who joined the Turin side from Fiorentina in January, needed only 33 seconds to net a perfect cross shot.

Juventus dominated the game until a mistake by their defence in the 66th minute gave Dani Parejo the chance to score the equaliser.

Etienne Capoue spotted Parejo alone and unmarked behind defenders and sent a perfect pass over the top for the Spanish midfielder to tap into the net.

After the goal, Villarreal had a couple of clear opportunities and could have gone ahead if their forwards had been more efficient.

“I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth, I believe we deserved more,” Capoue told reporters.

“It’s not a bad result because of the end of the away-goal rule. We are confident that we can go there and get the result we need to advance.”

The 22-year-old Vlahovic lived up to expectations, posing a constant danger to the Villarreal defence and hitting Juve’s only two shots on target in the game. On the second one, late in the second half, goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli made a great save.

“He is very young, was making his debut and managed to score. That says everything about who he is,” Juventus striker Alvaro Morata said of Vlahovic.

“One can only imagine the career he has in front of him. He is an extraordinary kid; in one week he has completely adapted to the club. It looks like he has been with us for months now. We are delighted to have him.”

Juventus could have ended the game with 10 men after a bad, studs-up foul by midfielder Adrien Rabiot on Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze but the Video Assistant Referee took the controversial decision to let a yellow card stand.

Reporting by Fernando Kallas; editing by Clare Fallon


Photo Juventus’ striker Dusan Vlahovic celebrates after scoring the 0-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match Villarreal CF vs Juventus at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real, eastern Spain, 22 February 2022. EPA-EFE/Domenech Castello

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