Champions League

Juventus 3-1 Maccabi Haifa: Rabiot double secures vital Champions League points

Mitch Wilks
Adrien Rabiot was the unlikely scorer of a brace
Adrien Rabiot was the unlikely scorer of a brace / Stefano Guidi/GettyImages
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Juventus finally got their Champions League campaign off the floor with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday.

Going into the game, both sides were locked at the bottom of group H without any points on the board, meaning a win would likely prove pivotal for whoever could find one.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the visitors to head to the Allianz Stadium and pull off an upset. But with Juve enduring a turbulent season on all fronts thus far, anything was possible and they knew that themselves better than anyone else.

A good start was imperative, then, which Massimiliano Allegri's side managed to carve out. Juve started brightly and a returning Angel Di Maria looked lively, but they weren't in complete control and Maccabi were able to get forward themselves on the break.

Just as the visitors were slowly tempting their way into the contest, though, the Old Lady struck and drew first blood after 35 minutes, Adrien Rabiot popping up with a curled effort from Di Maria's pass.

One quickly became two early on in the second half as Di Maria found Dusan Vlahovic, who smashed the ball low and beyond the goalkeeper from outside of the box after 50 minutes.

With breathing space to operate in, the Bianconeri found their stride and enjoyed a spell of dominance. That was until a flurry of changes brought Maccabi back into the game on the hour mark. They finally made good on their chances with 15 minutes to play; Dean David struck following a counter attack to make for a nervy end to the game.

Any sudden hopes of a comeback for the away side were quashed when Rabiot popped up to head in his second of the night after 83 minutes, putting the seal on the victory and ensuring Juve got off the mark.

It's a huge three points for Allegri's side, who came off the pitch to the news that Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica had played out to a draw elsewhere in group H.

Juve now sit four points behind both PSG and Benfica in third, but a win next week in Haifa would suddenly open the group up significantly.

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