Allegri calls for calm after Juve stalemate
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
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (left) vies with Sporting’s William Carvalho. –