Thursday, November 23, 2017

Allegri laments Juve´s failure to secure qualification

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 1 Nov 2017

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Massimiliano Allegri rued a missed opportunity after Juventus failed to clinch a Champions League last-16 berth by drawing at Sporting CP.

Juventus had the chance to secure their passage through to the knockout round but the Italian champions stuttered to a 1-1 draw away from home on Tuesday.

Allegri’s men were fortunate to escape with a point after Gonzalo Higuain struck 11 minutes from the end to cancel out Bruno Cesar’s first-half opener in Group D.

Runners-up last season, Juve are second in the group, three points adrift of Barcelona but only three ahead of Sporting with two matchdays remaining.

“It’s a shame – we’ve not managed to put it beyond doubt. It’s still all to play for, with another two tough games to go,” Allegri said.

Allegri added: “It was a poor first half. Even after the goal there was no reaction from us – we didn’t spring back into life.

“It was better after the interval. The changes around the 70th minute provided more dynamism, as you’d expect, but even once we’d equalised we weren’t very slick in our play.

“We had time to try and turn the game in our favour, but we didn’t do so.

“There clearly needs to be an element of fear to bring the best out of us. We’ll take tonight’s result and we’ll think about approaching Benevento with respect and focus on winning that game.”

Argentine forward Higuain was the hero again for Juve, having struck twice in last week’s 2-0 victory over AC Milan in Serie A.

“It was tough. Barcelona won here with an own goal, they started strong and it’s an important point. Now we need to recover and prepare for Sunday,” Higuain told Mediaset Premium.

“The important thing was not to lose against a great side, we still have a three-point advantage over them and hope to secure qualification in the next two rounds.

“I always try my best to help the team. We picked up an important point in a difficult arena.”

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