Juventus go through to the Champions League last 16 as one of the seeded clubs after finishing top of Group H, securing it with a scrappy win over Malmo on matchday six.
Juve started the night second in the standings after losing heavily to Chelsea last time out, but knew a victory could still send them top if Chelsea slipped up against Zenit Saint Petersburg, which is exactly what happened in an action-packed 3-3 draw in Russia.
Moise Kean scored the only goal of the game on a rare start, which proved to be enough.
To be expected, Juve dominated possession and forced Malmo goalkeeper Ismael Diawara into a couple of saves before getting in front, all without holding a real sharp edge.
The opener when it came in the 18th minute was at least well worked. Federico Bernardeschi whipped a pinpoint cross into the penalty area with the outside of his left foot that Kean met with a powerful header only a few yards from goal.
But wastefulness rather characterised the rest of Juve’s performance. Chances went begging to extend the lead, which always made Malmo a potential danger – Mattia Perin had to be sharp to smother the ball on one occasion later in the first half.
Paulo Dybala was withdrawn at half-time and replaced with Alvaro Morata, which changed little and Juve appeared to be lacking confidence when it came to making a final pass or taking a shot.
Juve looked like they would have a second when Diawara spilled a low shot from Adrien Rabiot, whose forceful run forward was a refreshing injection of energy. But the Malmo stopper threw out a leg to deny Kean an easy tap-in – it was a top save but he shouldn’t have been given a chance.
Juve players finished the game assuming the victory wasn’t enough to leapfrog Chelsea until news filtered down from the stands that Zenit had equalised at the death.
Mattia Perin (GK) – 6/10 – Sharp when he needed to be but not busy.
Koni De Winter (RB) – 6/10 – Full first-team debut. Held his own.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – 6/10 – Will be delighted to get a rare 90 minutes under his belt without being tested too much.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 6/10 – Pretty much all of the game was played in front of him, making it a comfortable night.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 5/10 – Quiet performance.
Federico Bernardeschi (RM) – 7/10 – Glorious assist with the outside of his left foot to break the deadlock. Forced a good save later on.
Arthur (CM) – 7/10 – Hardly gave the ball away and was important in winning it back in central areas.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 5/10 – Had been largely ineffectual until a purposeful run forward with 10 minutes to go almost gave Juve a killer second goal.
Rodrigo Bentancur (LM) – 6/10 – Occupied a few different roles across the midfield over the course of his 89 minutes on the pitch.
Paulo Dybala (ST) – 5/10 – Spent most of his time in a ‘number 10’ role and saw plenty of the ball. Didn’t do enough to impact the game.
Moise Kean (ST) – 7/10 – Looking to impress on a rare start. Attacked the ball in the six-yard box to score his headed goal but should have scored another later on when he gave Diawara a chance to save.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 3/10 – His presence was ultimately quite pointless.
Mattia de Sciglio (RB) – 5/10 – Back from injury.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – 5/10 – Joined the wasteful brigade with a clear chance blazed over the cross bar.
Marco Da Graca (ST) – N/A
Fabio Miretti (CM) – N/A
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