PARIS: Substitutes were to the fore in the Champions League on Tuesday as Manchester United replacements Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored all their goals in a record 3-0 home defeat for Juventus to seal their place in the last eight for the seventh successive season.
Holders Real Madrid also had a substitute to thank as Javier Portillo struck in injury time to earn a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund – who beat Juventus in the 1997 final – and keep them a point ahead of the Germans in the second-phase Group C.
Both Real and Dortmund are playing for the runners-up spot as AC Milan progressed serenely through to the last eight for the first time since the 1994/95 season with a 1-0 win at Lokomotiv Moscow.
United like Milan have won all four of their second phase matches, but the fight for second place in the former’s Group D involves all three of the teams as Deportivo La Coruna avenged their defeat to Basel last week by beating the Swiss side 1-0.
Diego Tristan’s fourth goal in his last two matches was enough for the Spaniards to leapfrog Basel into third, where they trail Juventus on goal difference, and keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals for the third successive season.
If ever there was a fortuitous injury it came for United with the sixth minute departure of Diego Forlan and the arrival of Giggs. After Juve had twice hit the woodwork, the Welshman slotted home twice in the first-half - the second a brilliant individual effort - to virtually wrap up the game.
Giggs himself was then replaced by van Nistelrooy in the second half and the Dutchman put away the third to break his own record of scoring in seven successive Champions League matches and reignite memories of the last time United won in Turin when they went on to collect the trophy in 1999.
United coach Alex Feguson was beaming after watching his side move a step closer to the final which will be contested at Old Trafford.
Ferguson said he had no intention of bringing Giggs on so early, with one eye on Sunday’s League Cup final against Liverpool.
“Football can be a funny game - I didn’t want to use Ryan tonight,” Ferguson added.
“But we had to use him because of Diego’s injury and he turned out to be the match winner.”
Ferguson explained why he took Giggs off just after the break.
“He picked up a knock and wasn’t running freely,” he said.
Juventus coach Marcello Lippi, who before the match said United’s best performances are always away from home, blamed tiredness for his side’s record home defeat in European competition.
“The main problem for us was physical,” he said. “We didn’t look as sharp as United and we were punished for our mistakes.
“Having said that every piece of fortune went United’s way. These are not excuses, this is the truth.”
United’s victory, though, was nothing on the drama at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.
Trailing at half-time to Jan Koller’s 23rd minute strike, Real Madrid were heading for defeat until, two minutes into stoppage time, Zinedine Zidane rolled a pass across the area for Portillo to shoot past Jens Lehmann and into the corner of the net.
Real remain second in Group C with five points to Dortmund’s four and the Spanish giants next face AC Milan at home on March 12.
Lehmann, who was sent off for attacking team-mate Marcio Amoroso at the weekend, redeemed himself with a superb performance that kept his side in the game.
And Dortmund missed a gilt-edged chance to take a 2-0 lead when Brazilian striker Ewerthon headed wide from close-range midway through the second half.
Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer was furious his team had thrown away victory by losing the ball, allowing Zidane to penetrate into the penalty area to deliver his telling pass.
“The team played well, but this result makes me mad,” said Sammer. “At this level, the slightest mistake is punished and it has cost us dear.
“Amoroso losing the ball is only a partial cause of the equaliser. It wasn’t Billy Reina’s job to come to cover him, he can do that himself.
“That meant there was a gap on the left wing. If Dede hadn’t been substituted this wouldn’t have happened.”
AC Milan had Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo to thank for their victory over Lokomotiv as he scored his first of the campaign for the five-time European champions and 24th of his career from the penalty spot.
Deportivo had their moments of anxiety against Basel but deserved the three points and should have had a second minutes from time.
Tristan, who replaced Albert Luque in the starting line-up from last week’s defeat, struck early to continue his remarkable scoring touch with his second goal of the campaign.
Controlling Hector Berenguel’s cross, he shot past Pascal Zuberbuhler to give the hosts the start they needed and it was to be the Swiss guardian who kept his side in the match making a succession of smart saves.
However even when Zuberbuhler was caught out the hosts couldn’t seal the match as Luque, who had replaced Makaay midway through the second half, rounded the keeper but with the goal gaping he slipped.