AMSTERDAM – Borussia Mönchengladbach winger Fabian Johnson broke the ice with his first career UEFA Champions League strike, but the Group D cellar dwellers were eventually forced to settle for a 1-1 share with 2014-15 silver-medal holders Juventus.
Though stationed on the left flank, the US star turned up in the right channel to cap a 19th-minute Foals fast break with an angled drive. It was also his first goal in any UEFA tournament competition and his second of the full term.
Johnson had an excellent chance to put 'Gladbach back in front in the 64th minute, but he fired just over from a good position. He departed the game with five minutes left, having completed 15 of 18 passes and making three interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
While the result all but killed Borussia Monchengladbach's chances to advance to the knockout rounds, it also pulled them to within a point of the Europa League parachute slot held by Matchday 5 visitors Sevilla. The two will clash for control of third place on Nov. 25.
Turning focus to England's Championship, Jonathan Spector returned to the starting lineup with a strong outing as Birmingham City battled guests Blackburn to a 0-0 draw.
The veteran defender not only chalked up four clearances and three pass picks but also moved the ball well and found a couple of occasions to join danger rushes. Though winless in three, the St. Andrews crew remained in the promotion playoff zone.
Birmingham stayed a point up on Danny Williams and seventh-placed Reading, who rallied late for a 2-2 home draw against Huddersfield Town.
Williams nearly logged an easy assist when he sent Ola John running on 13 minutes, but the winger saw his shot deflected just wide. The possession ace completed 57 of 64 passes and added a big area shot block near the hour before leaving 17 minutes from time.
Despite a decent effort by Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest fell 1-0 at Preston North End.
The right back nearly made a quick reply to Preston's second-minute opener, but his left-footed drive from distance could only buzz the frame. In addition to providing a few dangerous crosses, Lichaj came back from a minor knock to notch five clearances, two tackles and a cross block. Nevertheless, 19th-placed Forest saw their win drought reach eight games.
Tim Ream received a rare early exit as Fulham dropped a 3-1 decision at Burnley.
The American started as a center back and then switched to the left side with a formation change before exiting in the 57th minute. Ream enjoyed a strong outing on the ball, but he lacked impact in defense as the Cottagers waved goodbye to a five-game bulletproof run.
Meanwhile, recovered netminder Cody Cropper was on MK Dons' bench for a 1-0 home win over Charlton, and Charlie Horton served the same backup role as Leeds United topped visiting Cardiff City by the same count.