Turin (Italy), Nov 26 (IANS) Striker Mario Mandukic’s first-half goal was enough for Juventus to replace Manchester City as Champions League Group D leaders and qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare. The Italian side now have a two-point cushion over the English side with 11 points from five matches in Group D and will progress as section winners if they avoid defeat against Seville in the last round. City, already through, had the first opportunity, but Fernandinho’s low drive from the edge of the penalty area flew narrowly wide, here on Wednesday.
The Brazilian midfielder was City’s chief threat in the early stages, yet he could have done better when he fired over from a good position after the ball fell invitingly following a duel in the box between Yaya Toure and Giorgio Chiellini. Juventus took the lead two minutes later, Mandukic volleying in a left-wing cross from Alex Sandro. He almost struck again soon after, but Joe Hart produced a wonderful save to deny the Croatian international. After the break, Hart’s counterpart Gianluigi Buffon conjured a fantastic stop, pushing a Fernando header against his left-hand post. Both teams continued to threaten till the end but were unable to alter the scoreline.