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Gatti gives Juventus slim 1st-leg lead over Sporting

Chris Ricco / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Federico Gatti's first ever Juventus goal gave the Italian side a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Thursday and a solid chance of reaching the Europa League semi-finals.

Joyous Gatti tapped in the only goal of a tight game in the 73rd minute at the Allianz Stadium in Turin to give Juve a slender lead to defend in Portugal next week.

The 24-year-old defender was on hand to poke home after Antonio Adan flapped at a deep cross and Dusan Vlahovic had his resulting header cleared off the line.

Scoring for Juve is the latest step up for Gatti, who has risen from being an amateur footballer and bricklayer to playing for Italy's biggest club and the national team.

"I can't even say how I feel right now, it's impossible to explain," said Gatti to Sky Sport.

"The more you play the more comfortable you become with everything, and my teammates make things so much easier for me."

The win was a positive end to a night in which Juve had to watch in worry as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was checked over by medical staff following chest pain.

Poland international Szczesny was replaced by Mattia Perin late in the first half, leaving the pitch in tears after breathing problems and heart palpitations.

"The reality is that I'd seen Mattia was doing really well in training and I was tired," joked Szczesny, who then spoke of his tearful exit from the match.

"It was fear, it was something that had never happened to me before. I was struggling to breathe so I was worried and scared."

Perin proved a handy replacement for Szczesny, who Juve say didn't have any serious health issues after early tests.

Former Italy international Perin pulled off a superb double save in the final seconds from Pedro Goncalves and Hector Bellerin, who both blew chances to tap the away side level at the last.

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