Allegri 'worried' by Juventus display despite clinching top spot

By Sports Desk December 08, 2021

Massimiliano Allegri is "worried" about Juventus' second-half display in their 1-0 win over Malmo that helped clinch top spot in Champions League Group H.

The Italian side saw off Malmo in Wednesday's contest at the Allianz Stadium thanks to a first-half header from Moise Kean.

That fifth win from six group matches ensured Juve finished two points above holders Chelsea, who were pegged back late on in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Zenit.

Despite securing one of the seeded spots for Monday's last-16 draw, Allegri was not pleased with the way his side dropped off in the second half.

"We're happy to finish first; it shows that winning is not easy," he said at his post-match news conference. "But let's put the game aside and think about Venezia on Saturday.

"I'm worried because I didn't like the second half. But we go into the game with three wins without conceding a goal and on Saturday we play in a field where it is difficult to play.

"As for finishing top, it's like I said before – being first does not tell us who we will draw. Right now, the only concern is the match against Venezia."

With his match-winning header, Kean has now scored four goals in five Champions League starts across spells with Paris Saint-Germain (three goals) and Juventus (one).

He is only the second Italian aged 21 or under to score for Juve in the competition after Alessandro Del Piero, who netted eight times before turning 22.

Fellow youngster Koni de Winter also impressed as he became the youngest player to start a match for the Bianconeri in the Champions League at 19 years and 179 days.

Belgium Under-21s international De Winter played 71 minutes at right-back and had the fourth-most touches (78) of any Juve player on the field.

"He didn't play the whole game but I'm happy with him," Allegri said. "He's a technical player and can play central or full-back. He played with real personality today."

Juve have won six home Champions League games in a row for just the second time in the 21st century, having previously done so between December 2016 and October 2017.

Allegri's side are well off the pace domestically, however, and Leonardo Bonucci accepts his side cannot be considered among the favourites to win a third European Cup.

"It would be hypocritical to say that Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Liverpool do not have something more than us," he said. 

"Whoever we draw, even if it's Paris Saint-Germain or Atletico Madrid, we need to arrive in the best possible form. We have to reach at least the quarter-finals this time."

Related items

  • Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne

    Ash Barty continued her fairy-tale run at the Australian Open, crushing Madison Keys to become the first local woman to reach the singles final in 42 years.

    The two-time grand slam champion continued her impressive form at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Keys on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

    Barty, the world number one, became the first Australian woman to reach the singles final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

    She can become the first to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978 when she faces either Danielle Collins or Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final, which she will undoubtedly start as favourite.

    Barty has dropped just 21 games on her way to the decider and the reigning Wimbledon champion was again ruthless against Keys, who lost her fourth grand slam semi-final in five such appearances.

    The 25-year-old Barty settled well and broke the Keys serve in the opening game.

    A powerful forehand created the opportunity before she delivered a cross-court winner off that wing to convert following a Keys drop shot.

    Barty only made two first serves in her opening two service games yet did not lose a point.

    Spurred on by a hopeful and enthusiastic home crowd, Barty's variety and depth – plus nine unforced errors in five games from Keys – helped her race into a 4-1 lead.

    Keys finally won a point against the Barty serve in the sixth game, the Australian forced to save a break point before sealing the opening set in 26 minutes courtesy of a forehand return winner down the line.

    The first real signs of nerves from Barty came in the fifth game of the second set, but she dug out a tough hold for 3-2.

    Keys had settled, but Barty grabbed the break she was after in the sixth game with back-to-back forehand winners.

    Barty looked calm throughout and that did not change as she served out the match in style, booking a spot in the final with a forehand winner.

    DATA SLAM: Brilliant Barty on verge of ending Aussie wait

    Barty has already ended one long wait – an Australian reaching the women's singles final at Melbourne Park.

    She is a win away from ending another by becoming the first Australian winner of the men's or women's singles title in 44 years.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Barty – 20/13
    Keys – 8/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 5/0
    Keys – 1/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 4/6
    Keys – 0/2

  • Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal

    Dusan Vlahovic has drawn interest from Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham among others.

    The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his contract and Fiorentina are keen to maximise their profit on him.

    Vlahovic has netted 38 goals in the past 18 months in Serie A.

    TOP STORY – FRESH TALKS ON VLAHOVIC DEAL

    Juventus are set for fresh talks on Thursday on a deal to sign Fiorentina's Vlahovic, reports Fabrizio Romano.

    The Serbia striker has attracted plenty of interest but an agreement between the Bianconeri and Fiorentina is in place.

    The stumbling block is Vlahovic's final contract and agent's fees, with a deal potentially set to trigger Alvaro Morata's exit to Barcelona, although Romano claims there are no new talks on that.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

    - L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

  • 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has provided injury updates on James Harden and Kevin Durant after reports that the latter would be out until after the All-Star Game.

    Harden missed Wednesday's 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets with "hamstring tightness" while Durant has not played since spraining his MCL on January 15.

    The Nets did not provide a timeframe on Durant's return although ESPN claimed it would be between four and six weeks.

    ESPN also reporting this week that Durant would miss the All-Star Game scheduled for February 20 although Nash did not confirm that.

    "We'll re-evaluate in the next week or so," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "We’ll see how his rehab goes and what the re-evaluations tell us."

    Durant is currently averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists through 36 games this season.

    Harden has averaged 23.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 10.1 assists this season, but is also averaging 37 minutes per game with the absences of Durant and Kyrie Irving impacting his on-court time.

    "I think we're all hopeful he'll play next game," Nash said about Harden with the Nets to play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

    "It's day to day, so we'll see. It's likely, probable and we're all very hopeful that he'll be ready to go."

    Cameron Thomas top scored with 25 points against the Nuggets, while Patty Mills impressed with 21 points, three rebounds and six assists.

    The defeat leaves the Nets with a 29-19 record having lost three in a row, slipping to fourth in the east.

    "Details. We're proud of the guys' effort, but details, we talked about them last night," Nash said.

    "Part of that, is we had some guys play together who've not played many minutes together over the last few years so there's some cohesion that is lacking and some understanding and familiarity lacking.

    "That's where we have to improve especially with guys out of the lineup."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.