Champions League

Allegri wants Juve to improve

2016-02-24 11:40
Massimiliano Allegri (AFP)

Turin - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has called for "improvements" after the Italian giants were handed a footballing masterclass by Bayern Munich before rescuing their Champions League hopes in a dramatic 2-2 draw in Turin.

Juventus ended a 12-year wait to reach the final last year when the Old Lady was outclassed 3-1 by Barcelona in Berlin.

But their chances of reaching even the quarter-finals this time around look slim after a display that underlined just why Bayern are considered favourites along with holders Barcelona and Real Madrid to win this year's trophy in Milan.

Pep Guardiola's men were faultless on their way to a two-goal lead by the 55th-minute lead thanks to goals from Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben as they penned the hosts in their own half for long periods.

Although late substitute Stefano Sturaro rescued the hosts 14 minutes from time when he added to Paulo Dybala's 63rd minute strike, Juve only saved face.

Outclassed at home, the Turin giants will be given few favours when they travel to Bavaria on March 16 looking for the win that would secure passage to the last eight.

"We need to make improvements in relation to our first-half performance," said Allegri.

"In the opening period they pushed us hard in our own half and we just couldn't settle. We started making a lot of mistakes with our passes and didn't use the space well, but let's not forget we were playing Bayern.

"We showed the courage you need for this competition with a much better second half, so compliments to the lads.

"It was a big test for us and our squad is relatively new. We were up against one of the favourites for the trophy."

After filling Barcelona's cabinet with trophies in his time at the club, Guardiola is hoping to steer Bayern to this year's final in Milan before he takes over at Manchester City in the summer.

But the Spaniard is taking nothing for granted.

"I expect Juventus to be a more difficult side in the second leg. We're not dealing with a team from the provinces. Juventus made it to last year's final, not us," said Guardiola.

"But it looks like a great second leg. I think it will be epic."

Juventus were kept locked in their own half for most of the opening period and only began to play with purpose after Dybala beat Manuel Neuer at his near post in the 63rd minute.

The outstanding German goalkeeper had had little to do until then, except keep himself warm as Bayern squatted in Juve's half for most of the opening period.

Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved efforts by Juan Bernat and Joshua Kimmich before Mueller made no mistake from 12 yards out, although Robert Lewandowski looked to be in an offside position.

Juve's defence was taken apart by Bayern's passing game before Robben ran across the area to pick his spot and beat Buffon on 55 minutes.

But the stadium erupted when Dybala reduced arrears on 63 minutes and Juve immediately began to play with purpose.

Allegri replaced Sami Khedira with Stefano Sturaro on 69 minutes and seven minutes later the stocky midfielder pulled the hosts level.

"It's the highlight of my short career so far," said Sturaro.

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