Agnelli 'ashamed' of Juve, but Allegri's job safe for now

By Sports Desk October 11, 2022

Andrea Agnelli was "ashamed" of Juventus' performance in their shock defeat to Maccabi Haifa, but Massimiliano Allegri still has the club's backing.

Juve slipped to a 2-0 defeat in Israel on Tuesday, leaving their chances of progressing from Champions League Group H hanging by a thread.

Maccabi's win ended a run of nine consecutive Champions League defeats and was just their third triumph in the competition, with the other two coming in the 2002-03 season.

Juve, meanwhile, have lost four of their last six group games in the competition, as many defeats as they had suffered in their previous 34 matches. This was the first time they have lost three of their first four group games in a single campaign.

But Allegri retains the support of Agnelli, who insisted the coach cannot be blamed for Juve's issues.

"This is a difficult night in a difficult period. It is one of the most difficult periods and the moment to take responsibility, which is why I am here," said Agnelli to Sky Sport after the match.

"In a situation like this, it's not about one person. It's a matter to be dealt with by a whole group. We feel ashamed, we apologise to our fans, because we know they must feel ashamed to walk around at the moment.

"Allegri is the coach of Juventus, and he will remain as the coach of Juventus."

Asked if Allegri was keeping his role just because of the financial implications of sacking him, Agnelli replied: "No, you are completely off track.

"It cannot be the fault of the coach if we don't win a single tackle on the field.

"Juventus have always evaluated situations at the end of the year. I always struggled to consider a dismissal during a season, and I continue to believe that."

Having taken 13 points from their opening nine Serie A matches, Juve are 10 adrift of pacesetters Napoli, while the Bianconeri have won just two of their nine games in all competitions since the start of September.

Related items

  • Houston Dynamo v Seattle Sounders: Olsen hopeful of replicating away form on home turf Houston Dynamo v Seattle Sounders: Olsen hopeful of replicating away form on home turf

    Head coach Ben Olsen is hopeful Houston Dynamo can carry their recent form on the road into their clash with Seattle Sounders when they return to home turf on Thursday. 

    Houston are now unbeaten away from the Shell Energy Stadium in their last two games with draws against Atlanta United and Portland Timbers.

    However, the hosts have won just three of their last 12 league matches, leaving them seventh in the Western Conference and level on points with Austin FC. 

    While Olsen was impressed with his side's display in their most recent outing, he insists that his players must put on a better display this Thursday. 

    "The goals we conceded were fairly naive on our end," Olsen said. "It was two poor giveaways that led to goals, and it is something we continue to have some issues with and not maximising the points when we play this well on the road. 

    "But again, then I switched to resiliency and being able to get something out of the game when it wasn't our best night. 

    "We will take the point, we have Seattle now at home, and we need to get a better performance from myself and this group at home, but on the road we have been pretty good."

    Meanwhile, Seattle come into the contest following an impressive win over Minnesota United, recording their fifth triumph of the season. 

    The Sounders have not won consecutive regular-season matches since July 2023 but will be hopeful of doing so, having lost just once in their last five MLS games. 

    Just two points separate the sides in the Western Conference table, and Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer is confident his side can continue their winning momentum.

    "We have evaluated the film, and we are going to get the guys recovered," Schmetzer said. 

    "We are going to come up with a strong line-up because the gap between Saturday and Wednesday is certainly better than Wednesday and Saturday. 

    "So, we are going to go down to Houston to try and collect points. 

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Houston Dynamo – Latif Blessing

    Blessing’s 89th-minute equaliser against Atlanta on Saturday was his third goal in his last four matches in the MLS.

    Prior to that, the midfielder had scored just three times in his previous 110 league matches for the Dynamo dating back to the start of the 2020 season, and he will be hoping to continue his hot streak in front of goal.

    Seattle Sounders – Jordan Morris

    The 29-year-old has scored four goals in his last five league matches, including finding the net in back-to-back matches.

    Morris has scored in more than two straight league games only once in his career, a four-match run he managed to achieve in 2016.

    MATCH PREDICTION: HOUSTON DYNAMO WIN

    Houston have recovered well after losing five of their last 12 league matches (D4 W3), and are now unbeaten in the last three matches (W1 D2), recording consecutive 2–2 draws in their previous two league games.

    While their recent form in the MLS has left a lot to be desired, the Dynamo have an impressive record over their opponents heading into the contest at the Shell Energy Arena.

    Seattle have won 12 of its last 13 meetings against the Dynamo (L1, incl. playoffs) dating back to June 2017. The Sounders have outscored Houston, 23 -6, during that run.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Houston – 48.1%

    Draw – 25.9%

    Seattle – 25.9%

  • St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists

    St. Louis City will be desperate to snap a record six-game winless run in MLS when they host Colorado Rapids at CityPark Stadium on Thursday.

    The Missouri-based side have just three wins from their 17 league matches this term, falling down to 11th in the Western Conference standings.

    Bradley Carnell's men have not triumphed in MLS action since a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire in the middle of May, and were defeated 2-0 by FC Dallas last time out.

    St. Louis coach Carnell referenced injury struggles, however, as his side continue to battle through a troubling period.

    "Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to look at the roster and see where we are. We're not the first team to struggle with this.

    "Now we get challenged and now get to prove what we are as a group, team, organisation and unit – sticking together.

    "We have a plethora of young players who are performing [for our academy] and we will keep some of those guys with us through the week."

    The Rapids have enjoyed a better season, sitting sixth in the West table after returning to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

    That ended a four-game winless streak for Colorado, who secured a much-needed victory after a rocketed finish from Cole Bassett before Rafael Navarro netted his 10th goal of the season.

    The next challenge for the Rapids is to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since April, though they have lost three straight on the road.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    St. Louis City – Jared Stroud

    Jared Stroud was involved in a goal in both matches (one goal, one assist) against the Rapids last season.

    The St. Louis man has eight assists to his name in MLS this season, too, and will hope to deliver once more when Colorado come to town.

    Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic

    Djordje Mihailovic has scored in each of the Rapids' last three away matches.

    He is the first Rapids player to score in three straight away from home in a single regular season since Shkelzen Gashi scored in five straight on the road from June-October 2016.

    MATCH PREDICTION – ST. LOUIS CITY WIN

    St. Louis are the heavy favourites for victory in this encounter, considering their record against the Rapids.

    Carnell's side collected four points from their two matches against Colorado last season, including a 2-0 win at home last July.

    Colorado have lost their last three road matches, conceding 10 goals in those games, and that run of form comes as no surprise.

    Indeed, the Rapids have lost 15 of their last 21 away from home in all competitions (W3 D3), dating back to last May.

    Yet a home win is by no means a foregone conclusion.

    St. Louis are winless in six straight matches (D2 L4) for the first time in club history. They have just three wins so far, tied for the fewest in MLS this season, though all three have come at home.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    St. Louis City win – 48.8%

    Colorado Rapids win – 25.5%

    Draw – 25.7%

  • Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Selecao on Ronaldo's landmark outing Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Selecao on Ronaldo's landmark outing

    Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive appearance for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

    Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a loose ball to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

    Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded strike, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's half-cleared left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

    Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

    Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

    Czech need more from Schick

    Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

    The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

    Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.