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Ángel Di María’s Hat-Trick Helped Juventus Overcome 10-Man FC Nantes in the UEFA Europa League Play-Off Round

Ángel Di María’s Hat-Trick Helped Juventus Overcome 10-Man FC Nantes in the UEFA Europa League Play-Off Round

Ángel Di María has been known as one of the clutchest football players in the world, since the footballer almost always delivered when his club and country needed his contribution in a crucial match. Nantes and Juventus were all-tied before last night’s UEFA Europa League Play-Off second-legged fixture in Stade de la Beaujoire – Louis Fonteneau, until the Argentinian winger decided to show that he is still more than capable of competing against the best players in the world despite now in his mid-thirties, by scoring three goals against the home side to lead his Serie A club to the next round of the second best tier of European club football competitions.

 

Nantes Down to Ten in the 17th Minute

The home side suffered a loss against Lens in the French Ligue 1, prompting Antoine Kombouaré to make six changes to his team, whereas Massimiliano Allegri altered his squad that emerged victorious against Spezia in  Serie A with four replacements, with Di María playing at the no. 10 position.

It was Allegri’s change in the game who sparked the eventual victory for the Old Lady, when the Rosario-born Di María opened the score line as early as in the 5th minute of the game. The winger received a pass just inside the penalty box, before he curled a beautiful strike from the right flank into the goal; The opposing shot stopper Alban Lafont stood no chance of saving the wonder goal. The dazzling player then danced his way through to the box again in the 17th minute and almost scored another, before his shot was blocked by Nicolas Pallois right before the goal. The referee penalised the defender’s handball and gave him a straight red, which puzzled everyone from the home side as it was seemingly unintentional. Later, Di María calmly hit the ball to the back of the net for his second goal of the evening.

Juventus carried the 2-0 score line and the 3-1 aggregate to the second half, before Di María completed his hat-trick 12 minutes before the second added time was given. The offence started when Alex Sandro played a one-two with Adrien Rabiot, before the left-back’s strike saved by the opposing goalkeeper. Dušan Vlahović then came up with his own shot, but was deflected to the mid-air, only for Di María to head home his and Juventus’ third goal of the night. The goal was ruled valid upon video assistant referee check, allowing the Old Lady to progress into the next round with a 4-1 aggregate score line.

 

Allegri: “Di María Increased the Quality of This Juventus”

Juventus’ head coach Allegri could not hide his excitement about the team’s victory and his megastar winger’s emphatic display throughout the match. He said: “Angel is a world champion. He increases the quality of this Juventus and we are all happy to have him. Having someone like him is important to the team. Now, he knows the team better and is physically better.”

The 55-year-old Italian is definitely relieved as his team is slowly walking out of the misery in Serie A, after it was slapped with a 15-point deduction due to balance sheets fixes with false gains from player transfers between 2019 and 2021. He added, “Now seeing the [Serie A] standings, the Europa League seems like the only way to get to the Champions League. Barcelona, ​​Manchester United, Sevilla, Feyenoord, Arsenal, there are important teams [in the Europa League]. Let’s see who we get in the round of 16, if Roma also get through. We try to get to the final, but not just to get to the Champions League, but also to win a trophy.”

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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