Europe: Europa League
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
M. Gulde (44)
D. Vlahović (45), F. Chiesa (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Juventus end shorthanded Freiburg's European campaign

SC Freiburg have become the third German team this week to be eliminated from European competition after losing 0-2 to visiting Juventus Thursday night at the Europa Park Stadion. 

Christian Streich's charges were unable to overcome an early sending off for defender Manuel Gulde that left them decimated before the first half was out.
For the second consecutive European evening, a German representative has been eliminated from European club competition by an Italian opponent. Having their work cut out for them after falling 0-1 against Juventus last week, Christian Streich's Breisgauer were unable to overcome a first half sending off for defender Manuel Gulde and a converted penalty in the return leg. The Serie A giants prevailed 2-0 at the Europa Park Stadion on Thursday, advancing to the UEL quarterfinals 3-0 on aggregate.

SCF gaffer Streich made one surprising change to the weekend XI that prevailed over Hoffenheim on Saturday. Regular starter and set-piece wizard Vincenzo Grifo began the game on the bench. Kiliann Sildillia replaced the squad's leading goalscorer, enabling Streich to re-format into a clean 3-4-3. Lucas Höler and Ritsu Doan worked behind lead striker Michael Gregoritsch. Sildillia and skipper Christian Günter served behind them as the wingbacks. Nicolas Höfler and Maxi Eggestein worked as the sixes ahead of a back-three consisting of Matthias Ginter, Lukas Kübler, and Manuel Gulde.

The German hosts began the game on the front foot and narrowly missed a chance to take an early lead in the 5th. Doan sent an effort wide when he might have considered lifting the ball above the very much off-his-line Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny. The early offensive flash nevertheless proved difficult for the clear underdogs to sustain. Their Italian guests steadily wrested back more control over the match as the first-half wore on. Freiburg were able to get another chance in against the run-of-play in the 22nd. 

The Italian "Old Lady" thought they had grabbed a largely deserved lead five minutes after that when Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic polished off a free-kick in the 27th. After VAR review, however, the tally was chalked off due to Vlahovic's offside position in the lead-up. Massimilano Allegri's Serie A giants were still able to play forward with confidence as if they had scored the opening goal. Stretch's men found themselves under constant bombardment as the half drew to a close. The guests did take the lead shortly before the half.

Double disaster struck for the Breisgauer in the 43rd when Gulde was adjudged to have handled a ball in the box. Having already been cautioned by match official Serdar Gözübüyük earlier in the half, Gulde was sent off on double-yellows. Vlahovic converted from the spot and Juventus were able to take a 2-0 lead on aggregate against their shorthanded German hosts. Streich, even more surprisingly, kept Grifo in reserve after the restart. Instead, youngster Kenneth Schmidt was given his professional debut in place of Eggestein.

The southern Badeners got off to a brisk start in the second 45. Gregoritsch even supplied a dangerous free-kick from about 23 meters out in the 49th that didn't miss by much. Freiburg appeared the far more active team. Juve were, of course, content to withdraw and play matters conservatively. A controversial scene in the penalty area in the 57th is sure to be talked about in detail afterwards. Keeper Szczesny appeared to handle a back-pass from teammate Manuel Locatelli. Referee Gözübüyük ruled that there was an offensive foul from Gregoritsch prior to the pass.

Grifo and Roland Sallai were finally introduced in the 62nd. The Italian international wasn't able to supply much on a pair of free-kick opportunities. The game itself dragged on at half-pace to its inevitable outcome. Players on neither side seemed prepared to risk injury. Juve substitute Frederico Chiesa added the capping goal five minutes into injury time after SCF keeper Mark Flekken had put in some good work to deny the Italians a decisive tally in the minutes beforehand.

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