Sevilla v Juve offers intriguing clash of coaching stylesArchive
SEVILLA: Sevilla’s wild-eyed, excitable Jorge Sampaoli faces Juventus’ phlegmatic Massimiliano Allegri in a fascinating clash of coaching styles in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Both sides are unbeaten in Group ‘H’ and seem set to qualify though Sevilla, on 10 points from four games, need a draw and visitors Juve, on eight, a win to guarantee a last-16 place.
Should Sevilla go through to the knockout stage, it will mean they won’t be able to defend the Europa League title which they have won for the last three seasons.
Sampaoli have already brought a breath of fresh air to La Liga, where his side have climbed into third place and beaten Atletico Madrid along the way.
Saturday’s 3-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna, where they scored twice in the last five minutes, was fairly typical of their style which is not for the faint-hearted.
The shaven-headed Argentine, noted for his exuberant celebrations, turned Chile into one of the most entertaining teams at the World Cup two years ago and made history last year when he led them to their first Copa America title.
Sampaoli likes his team to play with a fast and furious style, sweeping forward in relentless waves with seven or eight players joining the attack.
Defending has sometimes been an afterthought, although he has given Sevilla some added steel at the back and they have yet to concede a goal in the group.
Juve’s Allegri also likes his team to dominate possession but he is averse to risk-taking and often talks of the importance of “administering the match”.
He admonished his side after this month’s 1-1 draw at home to Olympique Lyonnais for chasing the game in the last few minutes and leaving themselves dangerously exposed. “We could have thrown our qualification down the drain,” he said.
Juve meet Dinamo Zagreb, who are without a point, in their final group game and can bank on getting the win they will still need if they lose on Tuesday. Sevilla, on the other hand, face a much tougher final game at Lyon.
“I believe that the match [on Tuesday] is more important for Sevilla than for ourselves,” said Allegri. “If we don’t beat Dinamo Zagreb at home in our final group game, then we don’t deserve to be in the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, Juventus said their forward Gonzalo Higuain will miss the Champions League match at Sevilla with a bruised thigh.
Juventus said in a statement that the Argentina forward sustained the injury during the closing minutes of Saturday’s 3-0 league win over Pescara.
SPORTING LISBON TO HOST RONALDO’S REAL
At Lisbon on Tuesday, Sporting Lisbon host Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo taking on his first professional club Sporting as a champion of Europe with Real and Portugal and is widely expected to pick up his fourth Ballon d’Or.
He will doubtless receive a hero’s welcome on his return to the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Ronaldo’s hat-trick this weekend, his 39th for Real, delivered a 3-0 away win at Atletico Madrid despite the visitors missing six key players in captain Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Alvaro Morata and Karim Benzema. Champions League holders Real won the reverse fixture 2-1 and are unbeaten in 29 games in all competitions.
All Zinedine Zidane’s men need here is a point to secure passage to the next round, but with Dortmund top of the group by two points Real will want to hunt them down as a point of pride — and to earn an easier draw in the next round. Sporting are on an upturn and scoring regularly and are still in with a chance of the Europa League.
LEICESTER EYE CL TONIC
They may be slipping into a relegation battle in the Premier League, but Leicester City can create another piece of club history in Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Club Brugge.
Three points clear atop Group ‘G’ and still to concede a goal, Leicester will be assured of a knockout-round spot if they avoid defeat against Brugge or FC Copenhagen fail to win at home to Porto.
Leicester have taken to their first Champions League experience like seasoned campaigners and for manager Claudio Ranieri it is a sign that the fire from last season’s extraordinary title win remains aflame.
“Now there is the opportunity to go to the top of the group. It would be a fantastic achievement,” he told Monday’s pre-match press conference at the King Power Stadium.
Tuesday’s fixtures (GMT):
CSKA Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen (1700GMT)
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur (1945)
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw (1945)
Sporting v Real Madrid (1945)
FC Copenhagen v Porto (1945)
Leicester City v Club Bruges (1945)
Dinamo Zagreb v Olympique Lyon (1945)
Sevilla v Juventus (1945).
Published in Dawn November 22nd, 2016