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Herrera snatches point for Atletico with late Juve strike

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Atletico Madrid’s Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, at The Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, on September 18, 2019. OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP


Hector Herrera grabbed a point for Atletico Madrid with a late header that saw his side come back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in their Champions League opener against Juventus on Wednesday.

Herrera crashed home Kieran Tripper’s corner in the last minute to complete the comeback after Juve had gone ahead through Juan Cuadrado’s superb strike just seconds after the break and a bullet header from Blaise Matuidi on 65 minutes.

Stefan Savic gave the home fans hope when he pulled one back for Atletico five minutes after Frenchman Matuidi had doubled the away side’s lead.

Both side now trail Lokomotiv Moscow in Group D thanks to the Russians’ 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen after a result that will leave Maurizio Sarri’s side disappointed they didn’t get more from an impressive second-half display.

Cuadrado had flashed Juve into the lead two minutes after the restart with an exceptional strike after good work from Gonzalo Higuain, who rolled a neat pass that allowed the Colombian to smash home the opener.

Jose Maria Gimenez then passed up a good chance to level when he blasted over Koke’s low cross, and the away side capitalised when Matuidi charged onto Alex Sandro’s cross and thumped his header past Jan Oblak.

The hosts got back into the game almost immediately when Savic headed home a towering Gimenez’s perfect knockdown, and they were then pleading for a penalty with seven minutes left when referee Danny Makkelie waved away their appeals despite Matthijs de Ligt kicking the ball onto an unsuspecting Leonardo Bonucci’s hand.

Juve had almost re-established their two-goal advantage just before when Higuain’s powerful shot was pushed out to Matuidi, whose follow-up was cleared off the line by Trippier.

However Atletico got what was in the end a deserved point with yet another header, this time from substitute Herrera who towered over an uncharacteristically weak Juve defence to send the home fans wild.


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