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2017/18 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Gonzalo HiguaĆ­n (69')
  • Mario Mandzukic (80')

Higuain, Mandzukic goals get Juventus back on track

TURIN, Italy -- Gonzalo Higuain proved his doubters wrong as he came off the bench to set Juventus on their way to a 2-0 win against Olympiakos in Champions League Group D play on Wednesday.

Higuain, who has been dropped from the Argentina squad, was left out of Juve's starting lineup for the second successive match. But he was brought on for Juan Cuadrado on the hour mark and responded by scoring nine minutes later and then helping to line up his team's second goal.

Mario Mandzukic netted Juve's second as the Italian side moved onto three points in Group D, three below Barcelona, which won 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon.

Juventus, last season's runner up, were looking for their first points in the competition after losing 3-0 at Barcelona in the opening round. But they were forced into a late change when Miralem Pjanic pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur.

Massimiliano Allegri's side struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities although they should have taken the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when they had two chances in quick succession.

Cuadrado's cross was headed goalward by Mandzukic but Silvio Proto finger-tipped the ball over the bar and then punched away Stefano Sturaro's header from the resulting corner.

Olympiakos almost scored an own goal on the stroke of half-time when Alex Sandro's cross was turned onto the post by Bjorn Engels.

The visitors looked threatening on the counter-attack, but the match changed when Higuain was brought on.

The former Napoli and Real Madrid forward broke the deadlock in the 69th minute, firing in the rebound after his initial volley from Sandro's cross was blocked.

It was only his third goal in all competitions this season.

Higuain was also involved in Juve's second goal, 11 minutes later, with a through ball in to Paulo Dybala, whose attempt was hooked off the line by Engels but went in off Mandzukic.

UEFA Champions League News