Allegri refutes sacking fears but demands Juve response after Benfica loss

By Sports Desk September 14, 2022

Massimiliano Allegri insisted he has no fears for his Juventus job as he urged the Bianconeri to put worries aside to respond to their Champions League defeat to Benfica.

Juve are without a point in the Champions League after two Group H games, falling to a 2-1 defeat after Joao Mario cancelled out Arkadiusz Milik's opener before David Neres scored a second-half winner.

That marked the first time Juve have opened a Champions League group stage with two losses, while they suffered three straight defeats in Europe's premier club competition for the first time since September 1972.

With just one win in seven games amid a poor run in Serie A, pressure continues to grow on Allegri but the Juve coach remains confident he is the right man to take the Bianconeri forward.

"Absolutely yes, we have a bit of difficulty but there are a few players missing," Allegri responded to Amazon Prime Video when asked if he felt he could turn things around.

"We must work with calmness and with the responsibility of all."

Juve have won just one of their last seven games in Europe against Benfica, who moved level at the top of Group H with Paris Saint-Germain after the Ligue 1 side downed Maccabi Haifa 3-1 on Wednesday.

The Bianconeri had no response to the dominance of Benfica, who had previously lost 10 of their last 12 visits against Italian sides, leading Allegri to call on a response from his players.

"It is difficult to explain what happened but after going 2-1 down, the match is over. The performance would have been bad too [even if we got] a draw," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Now we don't need to talk, just work and think about on the pitch. I told the team that in football these moments happen and you have to get out of them as a collective.

"In the Champions League it's hard, but it's not finished. I understand the difficult moment for the team. We don't have to think about worries, we just have to do."

Juve will hope to respond when they visit Monza in Serie A on Sunday, with their next Champions League clash coming against Maccabi Haifa at home on October 5.

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    Opponents Cameroon have plenty still to play for, on the other hand, as they must win to have any hope of reaching the second round for the first time since 1990.

    They have never won their final group game at a finals, however, while Brazil are unbeaten at this stage in a record 17 matches.

    And the Selecao have their own goals in mind, looking to take nine points from a possible nine for the first time since 2006.

    "Being first is always the goal, regardless of who the opponent is in the next match," said Fabinho, one of the men set to come into the XI.

    "Our focus is always to win the games, try to earn nine points and give our best. 

    "Whoever will play will have the opportunity to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team in a World Cup, so the thought of a winning team has to always be this, to enter, give the best, win and be the first."

    Tite's first-choice stars have set a high standard, winning both games without conceding or even facing a single shot on target. They are the first team not to face a shot on target in their first two games at a World Cup since France in 1998.

    "Personally, I don't think [maintaining the standard] brings pressure to us," added Fabinho. "I think playing in a World Cup is every player's dream. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

    "We have to face this with great joy, knowing the responsibility, come in and give our best. We know the way the team plays, the team is solid defensively.

    "Sure, you have the worries of keeping that, the ideas, but I don't think it adds pressure. We don't feel that."

    Cameroon have lost only two World Cup matches to South American teams, but both have been in their two meetings with Brazil, who have won all seven of their finals clashes with African opposition, scoring 20 goals and conceding just two.

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    Cameroon – Vincent Aboubakar

    Aboubakar has twice appeared from the bench, yet he could hardly have done more to earn a starting berth. Against Serbia, he became the first substitute to both score and assist a goal in a World Cup match for an African nation, bringing Cameroon back from 3-1 down to 3-3 within 11 minutes of his introduction.

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    The Selecao may not need to risk playing Vinicius, with Neymar already injured, but it must be tough not to pick a man in this form. Only Kylian Mbappe (23) was involved in more open play sequences that ended with a shot than the winger (15) through two matchdays. Only Mbappe and Ismaila Sarr (four) created more chances following a carry (three).

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    Even with the potential for changes in the Brazil XI, the supercomputer has no doubts about this one. Tite's men are massive 72.7 per cent favourites.

    Cameroon must win but are given only a 10.6 per cent chance, with a draw that would confirm Brazil as group winners rated at 16.7 per cent.

  • Serbia v Switzerland: Milinkovic-Savic happy with must-win situation Serbia v Switzerland: Milinkovic-Savic happy with must-win situation

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    Serbia - Aleksandar Mitrovic

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    Only two men have made more saves than Sommer's nine, the Netherlands' Andries Noppert (albeit from three matches rather than Sommer's two) and his opposite number on Friday, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic (12).


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    Regragui added: "It wasn’t easy and when you have this kind of opportunity to make history you think about it.

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    English coach John Herdman said: "It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve got here and we’d like to have been here longer.

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