Juventus are 'cursed' in the Champions League, says Sarri

By Sports Desk August 07, 2020

Maurizio Sarri believes Juventus are "cursed" in the Champions League after their exit at the hands of Lyon on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo's brace helped Juve to a 2-1 win in Turin, but they fell in the last-16 tie on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Memphis Depay had given Lyon the lead in the second leg before Ronaldo's double, with Juve's wait for a first Champions League title since 1996 to go on.

Sarri, who is under increasing pressure at the helm, said the Serie A champions were cursed in the competition.

"We are out of a competition where we won six out of eight games we played, we drew one and lost one. That means that in eight matches we got 19 points," he told a news conference.

"If there were a Champions League table we would be first or second. Instead, we are out. That's why I feel incredibly sad. It makes me understand that in this competition Juventus are cursed.

"If I weren't so bitter, I would get out of this match with a smile on my face, because I saw the lads in good shape again, they gave all they had, they fought until the end, they put their heart and soul into the match. I appreciated it."

Lyon and Juventus were both awarded controversial penalties during the second leg, with Depay and Ronaldo converting.

Sarri felt the spot-kick given to Lyon was "crazy" as he rued the first-leg away loss.

"We played a good match. In a match where we had to come from behind, we found ourselves one goal down because of a crazy penalty, because in my opinion it shouldn't even have arrived to the box because I think there was a clear enough foul on [Gonzalo] Higuain. And the penalty itself I think it is debatable," he said.

"The referee was clearly unfit for a situation like this, because for us to concede that goal was like to concede two goals. We were good because we stayed into the game and turned the match around, but we spent a lot of energy.

"We had two or three chances to score towards the end with headers from Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain and I think [Leonardo] Bonucci, so I think we were close to the qualification.

"If we have to have a regret it has to be for our performance in the first half at Lyon. At these levels, it is something you pay for."

Related items

  • MLS: NYC rout Cincinnati after Mitrita makes history, Houston salvage point MLS: NYC rout Cincinnati after Mitrita makes history, Houston salvage point

    Alexandru Mitrita's brace inspired New York City to a 4-0 rout of FC Cincinnati in MLS, while Nashville surrendered a lead against Houston Dynamo.

    Mitrita led the way for New York after opening the scoring just 30 seconds into the match at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

    It was the fastest goal in New York's history and quickest in MLS since Allan Cruz's 28-second effort for Cincinnati in 2019, per Opta.

    After Cincinnati went close to equalising, Anton Tinnerholm doubled New York's lead from an acute angle in the 25th minute.

    Mitrita made it a brace two minutes before half-time and Jesus Medina completed the scoring with two minutes remaining as New York moved up to fifth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind fourth-placed Toronto.

    Elsewhere, Maynor Figueroa's 89th-minute equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw for Houston against Nashville.

    Daniel Rios' 49th-minute goal had Nashville on track for maximum points until Figueroa scored from a set-piece situation.

    Houston are ninth in the Western Conference, while Nashville sit ninth in the east.

  • Zidane celebrates LaLiga century with Madrid Zidane celebrates LaLiga century with Madrid

    Zinedine Zidane claimed his 100th LaLiga victory as Real Madrid head coach on Saturday.

    Zidane reached the century milestone in Madrid's thrilling 3-2 win over 10-man Real Betis.

    The French great, who celebrated his second LaLiga title in charge of Madrid last season, achieved the feat in 147 games.

    Zidane has the second-most league victories in Madrid's history, behind Miguel Munoz (257).

    In his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane – whose first win came in January 2016 – has seen his Madrid team score 342 goals while only conceding 142.

    Madrid earned their first win of the 2020-21 season, following last week's stalemate against Real Sociedad.

    After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener for Madrid, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

    Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when captain Sergio Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

  • Zidane happy with squad as Madrid boss dismisses transfer talk after Betis win Zidane happy with squad as Madrid boss dismisses transfer talk after Betis win

    Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has no plans to sign new players before the transfer window shuts following his team's thrilling 3-2 win over Real Betis.

    Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty as LaLiga champions Madrid claimed their first win of the 2020-21 season at 10-man Betis on Saturday.

    After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

    Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

    Zidane was asked about Madrid's transfer activity pre-game, with the Spanish giants quiet since the market re-opened, having allowed the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave.

    Quizzed again on possible new signings post-match, Zidane told reporters: "No. We spoke about this before. I'm happy with the squad that I've got.

    "We are what we are and we're going to try to have a successful season."

    Reflecting on the match itself following Madrid's goalless draw against Real Sociedad in their season opener, Zidane said: "When you're behind it's difficult to change the dynamics of the game but we managed it today. It's crucial to do that every once in a while.

    "We had a lot of chances, and people we talk about how we don't score enough but today we hit three and could have had more. I'm very proud of all the players, they're working brilliantly. We have to keep it up."

    "The referee is there to review the action," added Zidane after Betis defender Marc Bartra was penalised for handball. "I think that in the end it's just what happened. He's in charge. I never get involved with the referees and I'm not going to get involved today. The most important thing for us is the game we played at a difficult ground.

    "We can be happy with the work done, we had to work hard for it and we managed to take all three points, which is the most important thing."

    "In the end it was a very complicated, difficult game," he said. "The players have given their all. It's three very important points for us at a complicated ground and against a team who have just won their first two games. We are happy. We know there is a long way to go and that we can and will improve."

    Zidane also handed a rare start to out-of-favour forward Luka Jovic, who continues to be linked with a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Jovic – playing alongside Karim Benzema – was tripped when through on goal as Emerson was shown a red card past the hour-mark, and Zidane said: "What I was looking for was to play in the opposition's half with a different formation.

    "We can play in different ways and one of them is with the two forwards. We can be happy with the game because in the end we got all three points."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.