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    Poulsen wins the day for Juventus at Catania

    New Delhi: Substitute Christian Poulsen was the unlikely hero with an injury time winner, as 10-man Juventus ended their two-game losing streak in Serie A with a much-needed win at Catania.

    Juventus were in desperately poor form coming into this game, having lost twice on the trot in the league, and fortuitously sneaking through in the Coppa Italia on penalties against Napoli in midweek.

    The Bianconeri injury list was still long, with Andrade, Zebina, Knezevic, Marchisio, Salihamidzic, Chiellini, Zanetti, and De Ceglie all out. Alessandro Del Piero was left on the bench, as Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta led the attack. Mauro Camoranesi and Tiago both returned following long-term injuries.

    Catania were struggling themselves, having picked up just one point from their last five league games. The Sicilians were without influential midfielder Pablo Ledesma due to injury, but otherwise coach Walter Zenga had a virtual full-strength squad to choose from.

    First Half

    Juventus immediately showed their intent, as Iaquinta warmed Albano Bizzarri's hands with a header.

    But it was Catania who missed a glorious early chance to take the lead, as a free kick found its way through to Lorenzo Stovini, who poked the ball wide from six yards, when he perhaps should have scored.

    The home side squandered another gilt-edged opportunity soon after, as Takayuki Morimoto was released clean through on goal, but Gianluigi Buffon came to Juve's rescue with a great save.

    These missed proved crucial because on 11 minutes it was Juventus who struck first blood. Camoranesi curled in a free kick from the right, and Iaquinta bulleted home an unstoppable header.

    Iaquinta's joy soon turned to despair, as 60 seconds later he was bizarrely sent off. The striker had already been given a yellow for taking off his shirt while celebrating, and he was then shown a second yellow for a supposedly late tackle on Alessandro Potenza. Replays showed that there had been minimal contact with the Catania defender.

    It was going to be a long afternoon for the Bianconeri now, and Buffon preserved their lead with a truly miraculous stop from Potenza's close-range header. It was world class stuff from the goalkeeper.

    As the half wore on, Juventus began to smother the Catania attacks, with Momo Sissoko particularly prominent in midfield. The Sicilians were limited to harmless long-range efforts from Giacomo Tedesco, Marco Biagianti, and Morimoto.

    Just before half time though, Jorge Martinez did have a fine opening, but with just Buffon to beat, the Italy No.1 again produced a brilliant finger-tip stop, and Juve survived to lead 1-0 at the turnaround.

    Second Half

    Catania attacked right from the start of the second half, and grabbed an equaliser on 51 minutes. Buffon produced another fine save to deny Mascara, but could do nothing on Morimoto's follow-up.

    The wind was in Catania's sails, and they almost took the lead soon after, as Davide Baiocco flicked on a corner that clipped the bar on its way over.

    Catania, a man-up, were having all the play but, on 65 minutes, Tiago fired a warning that Juventus were not going to lie down, with a 25-yard shot that whistled just wide.

    Marchionni also cut in from the left and curled over the bar, as Juventus knew that if the scores stayed as they were, Inter would be nine points above them at the top of the table.

    Buffon continued to impress, and made another stunning stop from Morimoto on 75 minutes, although the forward was offside so it would not have counted anyway.

    Alban Bizzarri tipped over from Amauri, and caught Olof Mellberg and Pavel Nedved headers from corners.

    The game seemed destined for a draw, but in injury time Juventus grabbed an incredible winner. Amauri headed down a corner, Cristian Terlizzi kicked at thin air, and substitute Christian Poulsen, just on the field, turned the loose ball home.

    The Dane has had a disastrous first season in Turin, but this goal may just keep Juve's slim title hopes alive, as they trail leaders Inter by seven points, and move above Milan into second.


    Catania: Bizzarri, Potenza (Terlizzi 79), Silvestre, Stovini, Capuano (Martinez 25), Baiocco, Izco (Carboni 70), Biagianti, Tedesco, Morimoto, Mascara

    Juventus: Buffon, Grygera, Legrottaglie, Mellberg, Molinaro, Camoranesi (Marchionni 50), Sissoko, Tiago (Poulsen 83), Nedved, Iaquinta, Amauri


    Iaquinta 11 (J)

    Morimoto 51 (C)

    Pouslen 91 (J)

    Red Card

    Iaquinta 12 (J)

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