Turin, Sep 15 (IANS) Serie A champions Juventus were left frustrated after being held goalless by Spanish football club Sevilla in their Champions League Group H game at the Juventus stadium here.
Juventus on Wednesday created chances galore but failed to find the goal. They came closest when Gonzalo Higuain’s header from Dani Alves’s right-wing cross bounced off the crossbar in the second half.
Goalkeeper Sergio Rico made some stupendous saves towards the end to give Sevilla a valuable point against one of the tournament favourites.
Cheered on by a vociferous home support, Juventus began brightly and created two good chances in the first 15 minutes, both of which fell to German midfielder Sami Khedira who hooked a volley wide before dribbling into the box and shooting into the arms of Rico.
A cagey half an hour would follow, however, with scoring opportunities few and far between until the interval, Rico intercepting Paulo Dybala’s potentially dangerous run into the area after 30 minutes the only standout moment as the interval beckoned.
The hosts stepped up a gear or two after the break and were very nearly celebrating what was proving to be an elusive opener in the 59th minute when Argentine Higuain’s bullet header from Alves’ right-wing cross clattered off the underside of the crossbar.
Alves played another menacing ball into the box shortly afterwards, only for Rico to palm inches away from the reach of an onrushing Dybala.
Higuain was again be in amongst the action, as he poked wide Khedira’s through ball before Nicolas Pareja blocked Miralem Pjanic’s cross which was destined for the Argentine striker lurking a matter of yards from the goalline.
The hosts continued to knock on the door right up until the final whistle, with Rico clawing out Alex Sandro’s downward header in injury time as the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
“This point is valuable due to how we earned it, and against a very difficult opponent,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaolli said.
Massimilano Allegri-coached Juventus company will look to put in a more clinical attacking performance next time out in Europe, when they travel to Dinamo Zagreb’s Maksimir Stadium on September 27.
After the match, Alves admitted that Juventus came close to securing a victory, but fell just short of the mark against his former club.
“Tonight we didn’t get that break you sometimes require in matches. You need to be psychologically very strong in competitions like these and it’s crucial to take advantage of every opening on goal,” the defender said.
“We created plenty of chances and imposed ourselves on the match, but you don’t always get the rub of the green. After the break, we had even more opportunities, but Sevilla continued to make matters tough on the night.”