French champions Bordeaux earned a deserved point in a 1-1 draw at Italian giants Juventus in Champions League Group A here on Tuesday. Vincenzo Iaquinta gave the hosts the lead soon after the hour mark but Jaroslav Plasil equalised a quarter-hour from the end for Laurent Blanc's team.
It was not the start Juventus had expected but will give Bordeaux confidence they can qualify from a group that also contains Bayern Munich and FC Zurich.
Juve coach Ciro Ferrara said he was disappointed but admitted at times his team were saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. "Bordeaux were very organised, they played well, they're technically good and quick," he said. "We took too many risks in the first half but we played better in the second. We played higher up the pitch and we were more aggressive.
"I'm disappointed but we still have the chance make up for this in the other games, although we had the opportunities to put this game to bed (at 1-0)," he went on. "Buffon was super but there's nothing new in that. It's a pleasure to coach him, he's the best in the world."
Bordeaux gave a good account of themselves in the first period, keeping Juventus at bay and even looking at times dangerous on the counter-attack, although they mostly lacked a final product. Blanc said this game proved they'd moved on from last year. "Not only did the players do what we expected but they've also retained the lessons from the Chelsea match last year (a 4-0 defeat)," he said. "It was a great pleasure to see them play, compete and make problems for Juve and without such a great goalkeeper (Buffon) we could have won."
The French side's best chance came in the opening minutes when Brazilian Fernando Menegazzo broke clear on the right but Buffon was equal to his low shot.
Juventus opened up Bordeaux down the left on 22 minutes following a quick pass from Sebastian Giovinco but Amauri's first touch took him a little too wide and Cedric Carrasso dealt easily with his deflected shot. The Italians seemed to be lacking the invention of injured playmaker Diego except that the Brazilian's replacement Giovinco was their best player.
Bordeaux rarely threatened but Alou Diarra, released from shackling Giovinco at a corner, lashed wildly over when a cool head and a low finish was needed. On 37 minutes Carrasso almost gifted Juve a goal as he missed Giovinco's corner but Menegazzo saved him by heading the ball off the line.
Bordeaux started the second half well as Brazilian Wendel had a shot blocked and Buffon parried a devilish Yoann Gourcuff free-kick before saving from the same player with his feet when the French had opened up the home defence. For a team beaten home and away by AS Roma last season, Bordeaux did not appear to suffer an inferiority complex against the Italians. However, with Bordeaux's increased confidence came greater vulnerability at the back which Iaquinta almost exposed on 51 minutes.
Bordeaux were on top and Fabio Grosso had to be alert to deny Plasil a tap-in before Grosso then forced a save up the other end out of substitute goalkeeper Ulrich Rame, who had replaced Carrasso when he was injured during Iaquinta's opportunity.
Buffon came to the rescue to deny Mengazzo with a brilliant one-handed save before Rame was at fault on 63 minutes when Iaquinta beat him at his near post. It was a goal against the run of play after Bordeaux had lost the ball in midfield and been exposed defensively by a visionary pass from Fabio Cannavaro.
Juventus started to take control and Amauri had two chances to settle the game, the first blocked and the second instinctively palmed away by Rame. But Bordeaux equalised when Plasil prodded home from a suspiciously offside looking position after Menegazzo's flick-on from Gourcuff's dangerous free-kick.
Juventus almost stole victory two minutes from time when Claudio Marchisio smacked a shot against the bar.