Stephan Lichtsteiner made the dream comeback from heart surgery, but Hernanes saw red as Juventus scraped a 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Bianconeri knew they would qualify with a win here and Manchester City victory away to Sevilla. After going down to 10 men, they played for the point and are still five points clear of Sevilla, albeit now second in Group D.
Stephan Lichtsteiner made his surprise comeback straight from the starting XI, having undergone heart surgery to correct an atrial flutter on October 2. Sami Khedira and Roberto Pereyra missed out, Hernanes in the trequartista role. Borussia Monchengladbach had won five of their last six games in all competition, interrupted only by a 0-0 draw in Turin. Andre Hahn, Patrick Hermann, Nico Schulz, Martin Stranzl and Tony Jantschke were sidelined.
Patrice Evra volleyed over from a free kick in the opening minutes, but 19-year-old Mahmoud Dahoud unleashed a sudden scorcher from outside the box that swerved and dipped to bounce off the bar. Gigi Buffon assumed it was going over and misjudged the flight of the ball.
The hosts were gifted the opening goal by a howler from Giorgio Chiellini, who prodded the ball straight at Raffael and Fabian Johnson drilled a precise angled drive across Buffon into the far bottom corner.
Buffon fingertipped an Ibrahima Traore effort out from under the bar, but Chiellini almost made up for his error with a free header just wide on a corner.
Granit Xhaka and Havard Nordtveit had snapshots from distance, then Yann Sommer got down well to palm an Evra header round the base of the post.
Dybala tried to get on the end of a Hernanes assist, but Xhaka’s leg was so high it was almost a kick to the head and the referee waved away protests.
Incredibly, it was Lichtsteiner on his comeback just a month after heart surgery who scored the equaliser. It was a divine Paul Pogba chipped pass over the top and Lichtsteiner down the right volleyed across Sommer into the far bottom corner.
Straight after the restart, Pogba curled inches wide and Christiansen’s decisive header prevented Leo Bonucci nodding in a corner.
Just as Juve were taking control, Hernanes threw himself into a shocking two-footed challenge on Alvaro Dominguez and it was a straight red card. The Brazilian jumped over the ball and the player’s leg, which is fortunate, as otherwise it could’ve resulted in a broken fibula.
Pogba’s free kick was deflected on to the side-netting and Johnson fired over from 10 yards, while Buffon dealt with a Xhaka strike that bounced right in front of him.
Juve were increasingly pinned back into their own half with 10 men and Buffon stuck out an ankle for a decisive save from point-blank range on Lars Stindl’s downward header.
The Bianconeri barely went beyond the centre-circle in the final half-hour of the game and tried to run down the clock, Dybala booked for time-wasting as he walked very slowly off the pitch.
Buffon needed a fantastic fingertip save in the final minute to turn Thorgan Hazard’s curler on to the crossbar and on the resulting corner Chiellini made an acrobatic clearance.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Juventus
Scorers: Johnson 18 (B), Lichtsteiner 44 (J)
Borussia Moenchengladbach: Sommer; Nordveit, Christensen, Domínguez, Wendt; Traoré, Xhaka, Dahoud, Johnson (Hazard 85); Raffael, Stindl
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Sturaro (Lemina 87), Marchisio, Pogba; Hernanes; Dybala (Cuadrado 63), Morata (Barzagli 75)
Ref: Kuipers (NED)
Sent off: Hernanes 53 (J)