TURIN, Italy (AFP) – Carlos Tevez ended his five-year Champions League goal drought with a second-half brace to give Juventus a precious 2-0 win over Swedish champions Malmo in Turin on Tuesday.
Tevez had not scored in the competition since hitting the net for Manchester United in a 2-2 draw with FC Porto at Old Trafford on April 7, 2009.
But amid a dominant display by the Italian champions in Turin, the Argentinian rekindled the flame to secure a win that leaves Juve level in Group A with Olympiakos after the Greeks’ 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid.
With Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal still recovering from injury, Claudio Marchisio had the task of marshalling Juve’s five-man midfield with Paul Pogba and Kwadwo Asamoah, the latter moving a notch inside in place of wingback Patrice Evra.
At the back, Giorgio Chiellini returned from suspension but for most of the match Juve’s three-man defence had comparatively little to worry about.
Malmo, who battled through three knockout rounds to reach the group stages, had little to offer.
Coach Age Hareide knew the difficulty of the task but said Tevez was the difference.
The hosts took command from kick-off but went in for the half-time break frustrated with what was a poor return from a one-sided encounter after near misses, notably by Claudio Marchisio and Asamoah.
Malmo’s first real offensive was met with jeers after Pogba was upended by midfielder Pa Konate, who earned a yellow card from Polish referee Szymon Marciniak.
Buffon’s biggest challenge until then was to rush out and block Magnus Eriksson as the midfielder connected with a long punt from deep on the right.
Asamoah’s move inside of Juve’s midfield was offering more in the way of goalscoring opportunities and on 19 minutes he missed the target with head and boot on several occasions.