Europa League: Angel Di Maria masterclass help Juventus move past Nantes

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Juventus have progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League after defeating Nantes 4-1 on aggregate.
Again, the hero was Angel Di Maria with the hat trick that sent Juventus into the Europa League Round of 16.

The world cup winner scored a stunning curler, penalty, and header to take Max Allegri’s to the next round.
He had also forced the red card that sent Nantes down to 10 men before the half hour.

The first leg ended 1-1, and the new rule in place means away goals no longer count for double. The game was all decided at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

The visitors made an ideal start when Nicolò Fagioli won the ball in midfield, and Angel Di Maria unleashed a stunning strike into the far top corner from a distance and a tricky angle.

Di Maria would turn on the magic again to earn a penalty. The winger dribbled past everyone at the by-line and attempted a back-heel flick going in from six yards until Nicolas Pallois lying on the ground, charged it down with his arm. The referee pointed to the spot and dished out a straight red card. Di Maria then converted to complete his first European brace since September 2019.

Di Maria would have scored a first-half hattrick on his return to French soil after his time at PSG. He forced a flying save out of Alban Lafont from a distance, then Adrien Rabiot nodded his cross over from six yards.

Filip Kostic did a pull-back from the by-line for Moise Kean to tap in, only for it to be intercepted. Kostic was also close to making it three in first-half stoppages when his angled drive thumped the base of the far post.
Di Maria, Kostic, and substitute Juan Cuadrado tested Lafont as Jube5wwnt to put the match to bed.
Lafont also stopped an Alex Sandro diving header from a corner routine.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t stop the third goal from going in through Di Maria.

The attacker’s header had already crossed the line before Lafont and defenders could charge down several attempts in the mad scramble.

Despite being a man down so early in the game, Nantes still threatened down in the final minutes with Mohamed’s counter saved. Wojciech Szczesny pushed a Blas screamer out from under the bar, having blocked Guessand’s shot earlier.

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