Juventus 0-0 Sevilla: Bianconeri frustrated in Turin

Juventus 0-0 Sevilla: Bianconeri frustrated in Turin

The Italians were held to a goalless draw at The Juventus Stadium by a resolute defensive display by last years Europa League winners, Sevilla

Neil Leverett

Juventus were held by Sevilla FC to a goalless draw at The Juventus Stadium in Turin, on Matchday One in Group H of the UEFA Champions League

The hosts were repeatedly frustrated by a dogged and organised defensive display by the Spaniards.

Gonzalo Higuain hit the bar for the hosts and Alex Sandro was denied by keeper Sergio Rico late on, as Sevilla take a point back to Spain.  

Max Allegri named summer signings Miralem Pjanic and Mehdi Benatia on the substitutes bench, as Juventus rolled out a customary back three, with Dani Alves playing his first European game for the Italians as a right wing-back.

Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli made his bow for the Spaniards on the Champions League stage and named midfielder Pablo Sarabia in the starting XI, following his move from relagated Spanish side Getafe in June.

Visitors hold Juve at bay

In a cautious start to the first half, Paulo Dybala was running the show through the middle of the park, as the the diminutive forward searched for his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain at the head of the field.

It was Dybala who released Sami Khedira for the game's first real chances. Again through the middle, Dybala slipped the German in on goal but wasted the opening.

Khedira was wasteful for the hosts (photo:getty)
Khedira was wasteful for the hosts (photo:getty)

On the second opportunity, Khedira found space on the right once more, but slammed a shot wide of Sergio Rico's goal.

Dybala then found his own opening on the half-hour as descending on goal, the Sevilla stopper raced out to intercept the ball. As Dybala attempted a pirouette to fend off Rico, his moment of audacity ricocheted to safety.

The visitors themselves had little to shout about in a cagey first period and were largely reduced to long-range efforts. full-back Sergio Escudero's shy from outside the area was safely gathered by Gianluigi Buffon. The half-time whistle blew with both sides deadlocked and goalless.

Italians began to up tempo

Both sides emerged at the break unchanged, but with plenty of ammunition in reserve. The scrappy pattern of the game continued to Los Rojiblancos' liking, but the visitors began to find a foothold also.

It was still the Italians that came the closest to breaking the deadlock. First, Patrice Evra's in-swinging cross from the left found the surging Dybala, whose shot skied over the bar.

Higuain was repeatedly frustrated by a stalwart Sevilla defence (photo:getty)
Higuain was repeatedly frustrated by a stalwart Sevilla defence (photo:getty)

Then from the other side, Alves whipped a ball that eliminated the Sevilla defence. Higuain met the ball but could only watch as his header crashed off the woodwork and away. As the hour mark ticked by, the Bianconeri were beginning to move through the gears.

Sampaoli brought on Joáquin Correa to freshen his side up. Almost simultaneously, Pjanic was brought into proceedings, fresh from scoring on his debut against Sassuolo at the weekend.

It was Correa however that almost gave Sevilla the lead. The midfielder lost the attentions of Giorgio Chiellini on the right and slipping into the area, hammered a shot across Buffon's boughs but wide. 

Juve push for winner

With Alex Sandro now on for the hosts, Juve now had threats across the field. The Argentina combination continued to show promise for Allegri's men but again more gutsy defending from Sevilla defender Nico Pareja and Rico in the Sevilla goal were snuffing the danger out.

Efforts from Pjanic went tamely wide and with just 15 minutes to go, the hosts sought what would surely be a precious winner. Pareja once more kept Higuain at bay in the 80th minute, making a vital block to deny the Argentine forward a certain goal. The Spaniards remained staunch.

Allegri made his last throw of the dice as Marko Pjaca came on for Dybala with four minutes left. With stoppage time approaching, it was the Croatian who theatrically went down in the penalty area after being challenged, but his protests fell on deaf ears.

Then with Sevilla seemingly home, dry Sandro found a ball from Dani Alves wide on the right, and the Brazilian's header was saved by the sprawling Rico for the Spaniards. The keeper was again called into to action by Alves late on, as Sampaoli's men held on for a prized point in Turin.