Al­le­gri calls for calm af­ter Juve stale­mate

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

COACH Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri (car­i­ca­ture) launched an ex­plo­sive out­burst to serve a re­minder that a star-stud­ded Ju­ven­tus could strug­gle to end their 20-year wait to win the Cham­pi­ons League this sea­son.

The Ital­ian cham­pi­ons dom­i­nated their Group H opener at home to stub­born Sevilla yes­ter­day, but were held to a score­less draw by the Europa League cham­pi­ons which means the pres­sure is now on ahead of the trip to Di­namo Za­greb in a fort­night.

Al­le­gri, who steered Ju­ven­tus to the 2015 fi­nal in his first sea­son in charge of the twotime cham­pi­ons, saw the Turin gi­ants stretch their un­beaten run at home in Europe to 18 games.

But Sami Khedira spurned two early chances and star striker Gon­zalo Higuain’s header came off the cross­bar on the hour, leav­ing the Ital­ian gi­ants with just a point.

It was the first time the 49-year-old Al­le­gri had failed to win the open­ing group game in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“Ju­ven­tus are not the only can­di­dates (to win the Cham­pi­ons League),” Al­le­gri shouted dur­ing an an­gry tirade in the post-match press con­fer­ence.

“I be­lieve, and I re­peat, that Real Madrid, Bay­ern Mu­nich, Barcelona and Manch­ester City are all at the level of Ju­ven­tus, or above. Even more so af­ter the re­sults and the wins they’ve had.

“Ju­ven­tus haven’t won the Cham­pi­ons League in 20 years. We were very ac­tive in the sum­mer trans­fer pe­riod, but so were a lot of clubs: that doesn’t guar­an­tee vic­tory.”

Ju­ven­tus no­tably cap­tured Higuain for an Ital­ian record of € 90mil­lion (RM418.58m), but the Ar­gen­tine – who hit a Serie A record 36 goals for Napoli last sea­son – looked out of sorts. Although Sevilla came to de­fend, Juve carved open their de­fence with ease dur­ing two busy spells in each half.

As Sevilla coach Jorge Sam­paoli lapped up claim­ing an un­ex­pected share of the spoils, Al­le­gri was ul­ti­mately left frus­trated.

“When you play in this com­pe­ti­tion, you have to keep your wits about you,” said Al­le­gri. “Here, it seems we’ve gone from eu­pho­ria to de­pres­sion.” – AFP

AFPPIX

Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo (left) vies with Sport­ing’s Wil­liam Car­valho. –

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