Saturday, December 4, 2021

Allegri hails Juventus response as win over Zenit seals Champions League qualification

SoccerNews in Serie A 2 Nov 2021

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Massimiliano Allegri hailed Juventus’ response after they beat Zenit 4-2 to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 following defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.

Paulo Dybala opened the scoring at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday and restored Juve’s lead with a retaken second-half penalty after Leonardo Bonucci’s own goal had brought Zenit level.

Federico Chiesa added a third for the Bianconeri – becoming the first Juve player since David Trezeguet in 2001 to score in four consecutive home games in the competition – and Alvaro Morata netted as Allegri’s men cruised to victory.

Sardar Azmoun scored a late second for Zenit, but that could not stop Juve from sealing their fourth win from their opening four games for just the third time in the Champions League after doing so in 1995-96 and 2004-05.

After their ninth win in 10 home games in the competition, the Group H leaders secured qualification and Allegri saluted his side’s desire following back-to-back Serie A losses.

“It’s a question of wanting things, nothing else,” Allegri told Mediaset post-match.

“The team has technique, everyone is growing. In the meantime, we have reached the first goal of the season.”

Allegri sensed Juve were ready to put two poor results behind them.

He added: “We went to a retreat yesterday morning, we met and we had a good workout. Tomorrow morning as a reward I gave a day off, on Thursday we meet again for training.”

Dybala moved past Bianconeri legend Michel Platini with a brace and imitated the Frenchman’s famous celebration as he posed on the floor after his first goal.

Asked after the game about his celebration, Dybala – who has six goals and four assists in ten appearances this campaign – spoke of his adoration for Platini.

“Platini is an idol for me and for football, I hope he will watch it,” Dybala said.

“I wanted to celebrate like this when I equalled his goal tally against Inter, but it was not the case in that game.

“We played as a great team and we achieved the result. We’ve reached the first target, now we want to go to London [to play Chelsea] and get the first place [in Group H].”

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