Champions League

Angry Allegri calls for calm after Juve stalemate

2016-09-15 10:12
Massimiliano Allegri (Getty Images)

Milan - Coach Massimiliano Allegri 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 on Wednesday, 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 two-time 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.

And he was quick to calm expectations that Juventus, outclassed 3-1 by Barcelona in Berlin two years ago, can make it to their second final in the space of three editions.

"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 90m euros, but the Argentine - who hit a Serie A record 36 goals for Napoli last season - looked out of sorts.

He was not the only Juventus culprit, and Allegri added: "We had seven chances to score and in normal circumstances we would have won. They didn't even have a proper shot on goal.

"But the team shouldn't be too disappointed with this performance."

'EUPHORIA TO DEPRESSION'

Although Sevilla came to defend, Juve carved open their defence with ease during two busy spells in each half.

But at every turn, the hosts were thwarted.

Khedira twice wasted early opportunities to give the hosts a winning start and, after looking nervous in the opening half, Higuain headed Dani Alves's great delivery off the crossbar on the hour after the ex-Barcelona man was sent clear down the right.

Allegri eventually replaced Kwadwo Asamoah with Mirlamen Pjanic and Patrice Evra with fellow wing-back Alex Sandro with 22 minutes remaining.

Juve continued to dominate, but Higuain spurned another chance when he sent Khedira's cross wide of the upright and five minutes later Pjanic dragged his shot wide of the post.

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."

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Fixtures
27 September 2016
CSKA Moscow v Tottenham Hotspur, Arena CSKA 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Legia Warsaw, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Leicester City v FC Porto, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Juventus, Maksimir 20:45
FC København v Club Brugge, Parken Stadion 20:45
Sevilla v Lyon, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Signal Iduna Park 20:45
Monaco v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Stade Louis II 20:45
28 September 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Barcelona, Borussia-Park 20:45
Celtic v Manchester City, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v FC Basel, Emirates Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v PSV, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Napoli v Benfica, San Paolo 20:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Paris Saint-Germain, Vasil Levski National Stadium 20:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Bayern München, Vicente Calderon 20:45
Besiktas v Dynamo Kyiv, Vodafone Arena 20:45
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
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