Shakhtar Donetsk gave Juventus a real test in their first home Champions League tie, as they were perhaps fortunate to get a 1-1 draw.
The Juventus Stadium hosted its first European fixture against Mircea Lucescu’s Ukrainian side. The former Brescia Coach was the man who first brought a 15-year-old Andrea Pirlo into the first team and he had a full squad to choose from after beating Nordsjaelland 2-0. Alessandro Matri got the nod alongside Mirko Vucinic, as Simone Pepe was the only absentee.
These sides have only met once before, when Juve won 3-0 at home and lost the second leg 1-0 in the 1976-77 UEFA Cup.
Bizarrely considering this arena has been sold out for practically every game since opening, there were many empty seats in this Champions League home debut.
It was Shakhtar who had the first chance when a ball was squared to the back post for Henrik Mkhitaryan, who turned wide under pressure from Giorgio Chiellini.
Fernandinho drilled wide from distance, but Vucinic was incorrectly flagged offside when sent clear by Andrea Pirlo.
Moments later, Alex Teixeira flashed a ball across the six-yard box and Willian fell under a Stephan Lichtenstein shirt-tug, but the referee waved play on.
Vucinic hit a taut slightly deflected pass across the face of goal and Matri was inches away from getting a toe to it. Gigi Buffon smothered at the feet of the dribbling Teixeira, then Claudio Marchisio ran on to a Pirlo ball over the top and fired over on the half-volley.
Shakhtar had been the more dangerous side and took a deserved lead on 23 minutes. The first shot by Willian was charged down, but he passed it back to the onside Teixeira to drive in off the underside of the crossbar from eight yards.
Juve fought back and Yaroslav Rakitskiy threw himself at Matri’s shot to block. However, from the resulting corner Pirlo passed back to the unmarked Leonardo Bonucci to smash under the bar from 14 yards. It was a wonderful strike and clearly practiced on the training ground.
Arturo Vidal was blocked, but Matri picked up the loose ball and hit a ferocious effort straight at Andriy Pyatov. The Bianconeri pushed harder towards half-time and had more possession than in their rather shaky start to the match.
In stoppages they nearly scored from another corner, as this time Bonucci’s glancing header was hoofed off the line by goalkeeper Pyatov’s outstretched foot.
Juve took control after the break and kept hold of the ball comfortably, but were struggling to get through the Ukrainian defence, so Sebastian Giovinco replaced Vucinic.
Shakhtar almost caught the Bianconeri out on the break, but Willian’s angled daisy-cutter skimmed the base of the far post.
Just 30 seconds later Giovinco sprung the offside trap and pulled across for Matri to balloon over from six yards!
Matri had hopeful penalty appeals when his arm was pulled as he ran into the box, but it was his last contribution as Fabio Quagliarella was introduced. Giovinco’s meek shot was smothered when he should’ve passed to the other substitute.
Marchisio tried to burst into the box, but essentially ran into Fernandinho, so the referee waved play on.
Lichtsteiner came tearing down the left flank and his cross-shot to the back post went past Giovinco and Marchisio in a great chance.
Buffon did well to punch a dangerous Razvan Rat free kick round the upright, even clattering into the woodwork, then from the corner Mkhitaryan side-footed just wide.
Shakhtar were now focused on the counter and Willian curled wide with Buffon rooted to the spot after Chiellini blocked off Mkhitaryan.
In the final minute, Mkhitaryan placed an angled drive just off target after running into space, while a massively deflected Quagliarella effort was tipped out from under the bar.
Deep into stoppages there was a huge scare. Willian had his first shot charged down, but the ball came back to him and the follow-up cracked against the crossbar.
Juventus 1-1 Shakhtar
Scorers: Teixeira 23 (S), Bonucci 26 (J)
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Pogba 85), Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Matri (Quagliarella 65), Vucinic (Giovinco 59)
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hubschman; Mkhitaryan, Willian, Alex Teixeira (Ilsinho 84); Luiz Adriano
Ref: Nijhuis (HOL)