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Paulo Dybala was withdrawn at half-time and replaced with Alvaro Morata, which changed little and Juve appeared to be lacking confidence when it came to making a final pass or taking a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.
JUVENTUS PLAYER RATINGS
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
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