Nantes showed they were no pushovers and secured one of the upsets of the night.
A Ludovic Blas equaliser on the hour, as well as an incredible performance from goalkeeper Alban Lafont, were enough to give Nantes a fighting chance in their UEFA Europe League Round of 16 playoff tie against giants Juventus.
Nantes came away from the Juventus stadium with a commendable 1-1 draw which means that they now hold the aces when they host the Old Lady in one week.
Despite missing several players during the tie, Les Canaris were able to rally back from conceding an early Dusan Vlahovic goal to secure a famous result that will certainly go down in the club’s history.
How it happened
Juventus were heavy favourites to win in the round of 16 playoffs, as Nantes entered the game with a number of players missing and others not completely fit for the tie.
Nantes striker Ignatius Ganago missed the match while on compassionate leave after losing his daughter and the teams had a moment of silence ahead of the game for him.
Centre-back Jean Charles Castelletto struggled to get fit for the tie after being injured at the weekend, and Nigerian forward Moses Simon was only fit enough for the bench.
Add this to the fact that Juventus would already be favourites having come from the UEFA Champions League and Nantes stood no chance.
It appeared that things would go as expected when Dusan Vlahovic opened the scoring for Juventus following a brilliant team move to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
It was one of the easiest chances Vlahovic would ever score and Nantes’ usually tight defence could not deal with Angel Di Maria’s long diagonal.
Juventus’ defence in the first half proved to be more compact than Nantes’ defence as they denied their visitors any big chances or even a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes to help them keep the halftime score at 1-0.
The second half told a different story, however, as Nantes stepped up their efforts to score in the second 45 minutes and reaped the rewards.
They scored their goal with their only shot on goal after a brilliant counter-attack that took advantage of Juventus’ defender Bremer’s slip.
Ludovic Blas stole in and blasted home, scoring his second important goal for Nantes in under a week.
Nantes rode their luck for the rest of the game as Juventus hit the post two times and had another great chance blazed over the bar.
Federico Chiesa hit the crossbar and post, but the ball just would not go in for him, while Di Maria almost scored an olympico goal directly from a corner kick but also hit the post.
Danilo came closest to giving Juventus the win, but he blazed Juventus’ best chance of the second half over the bar.
All to play for in the second leg
Thanks to the absence of the away goal rule, Juventus know that the result from the first leg is far from perilous.
Nantes will also know that they are not safe, but they will value the chance to play Juventus in front of their own fans without having to claw back any deficits.
They hold the advantage in the tie, and given their recent form, it would be foolhardy to write them off, especially after their performance tonight.
15:20 - 08.02.2023
SERIE A 'Juventus first priority is to avoid relegation' - Allegri
Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that Juventus' top priority is to avoid relegation following their Serie A points deduction
20:08 - 12.02.2023
SERIE A Juventus squeeze past Fiorentina at home to keep momentum going
Juventus picked up their first victory in three Serie A matches at the Allianz Stadium following a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Fiorentina.
16:34 - 07.02.2023
SERIE A 'I hate Juventus' - Video emerges showing Juventus prosecutor was a Napoli fan
Doubts over the fairness of Juventus' points deduction continue to surface
19:18 - 12.02.2023
LIGUE 1 Ludovic Blas goal edges Nantes past Lorient
The French winger scored in the second half to give Nantes all three points
20:37 - 03.11.2022
UEL Moses Simon's Nantes seal away win against Olympiacos to qualify for round of 32
The Super Eagles winger was only on the pitch for 45 minutes in the crucial away game in Greece.