Juventus in turmoil as sudden Andrea Agnelli departure marks end of an era | Juventus

News that the entire Juventus board had resigned on Monday appeared, in the Italian phrasing, like lightning from a calm sky. Even the official statement published on the club’s website just before 10pm local time buried the departures of the club president, Andrea Agnelli, and his team of directors 10 paragraphs deep in a summary of their meeting that evening.

No major news outlet had anticipated the decision. This has been a complicated season for Juventus from a sporting perspective, beginning with two wins from their first seven league games and continuing through a Champions League group-stage exit lowlighted by defeat against Maccabi Haifa. Yet a sense of optimism had returned before the World Cup break, a run of six straight wins and clean sheets lifting them to third in Serie A.

Improving results distracted the public’s attention from a different cloud on the horizon. Last year, a major investigation was opened into Juventus’s accounting practices and financial reporting. In October 2021, Covisoc – Italian football’s industry watchdog – raised concerns about what it perceived as unrealistic player valuations being used to achieve “plusvalenze (capital gains) on various clubs’ balance sheets.

A list of 62 transfers was passed to the domestic football federation (FIGC), 42 of which involved Juventus. Many were exchange deals, such as the one that took Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona in a swap for Arthur Melo, at list prices alleged to have been artificially inflated.

In April, Juventus, and 10 other clubs, were cleared of wrongdoing by the FIGC’s disciplinary commission, who cited the difficulty of assigning objective values to footballers. In the meantime, however, a parallel investigation had been opened by the public prosecutor’s office in Turin, focusing on Juventus’s published accounts for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Prisma investigation deployed wiretaps to intercept communications between decision-makers at the club. Last November, a warrant was obtained for financial police to search Juventus’s training facilities as well as offices in Turin and Milan, seizing relevant documents. Sixteen individuals were placed under scrutiny, including Agnelli, his vice-president (until Monday), Pavel Nedved, and the club’s former chief football officer, Fabio Paratici, now the managing director of football at Tottenham.

Pavel Nedved and Andrea Agnelli talk before a Juventus match against Sampdoria
Pavel Nedved (left) and Andrea Agnelli have resigned along with the rest of the Juventus board. Photograph: EPA

Prosecutors concluded their inquiries last month, filing accusations of false accounting, market manipulation and false financial statements. Beyond plusvalenze, Juventus were alleged to have made misleading claims about an agreement by players to waive part of their salaries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, the club released a statement reporting a pay cut equivalent to four months’ wages – saving €90m. Instead, players are said to have foregone one month’s salary.

The club denies wrongdoing but Monday’s resignations made plain how seriously these charges are being taken. “Given the centrality and the relevance of the pending legal and technical/accounting matters,” reads one passage, “[it was considered to be in the] best interest of the company that Juventus provided itself with a new board of directors to address these matters.”

Prisma has passed its findings to the FIGC’s disciplinary commission, who will consider whether to revisit its case against the club or to open a new one. The sporting code provides for fines and a potential points penalty if Juventus are found guilty of breaking the rules around player contracts. It is unclear what criminal proceedings could be pursued by the Turin prosecutors.

La Liga, the body which organises top-flight football in Spain, issued a statement of its own on Tuesday demanding “immediate sporting sanctions” against Juventus. It had already lodged an official complaint against the club with Uefa in April, citing the Prisma investigation.

Juventus announced on Monday that new financial statements will be released for last season, guided by “new legal and accounting opinions from … independent experts.” On Tuesday, the club named Gianluca Ferrero, a corporate adviser and auditor, to replace Agnelli as president. The existing chief executive, Maurizio Arrivabene, will stay on in the short term to oversee day-to-day running of the club while the board is replaced.

Agnelli’s departure marks the end of an era. Juventus achieved unprecedented results under his leadership, winning nine consecutive league titles and 10 further domestic trophies, as well as reaching the Champions League final twice.

A modernising push that was launched with the move into the Allianz Stadium in 2011 led to Juventus expanding their reach with documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as the launch of a new logo in 2017. The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo allowed the club to build its social media following.

But the Portuguese forward, and the failed launch of the Super League project, also symbolises a complicated legacy. Agnelli could hardly have predicted the global pandemic that was about to arrive when he signed Ronaldo in 2018, but the financial burden of his transfer fee and salary played its part in growing deficits. Juventus’s recorded losses for the past three seasons amount to more than €550m.

That figure may grow with the revising of the last year’s financial statements. John Elkann, the chief executive of Exor, the holding company that owns Juventus on behalf of the Agnelli family, stressed on Tuesday that the first task of the new board will be to restore stability while resolving the legal issues faced by the club, saying he had trust that “the club will demonstrate it always acted correctly.”

Entire Juventus board including president Andrea Agnelli resigns | Juventus

The entire board of Juventus, including president Andrea Agnelli, have announced their resignations.

It comes after Juventus’s financial statements underwent scrutiny by prosecutors and Italian market regulator Consob in recent months for alleged false accounting and market manipulation. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

Agnelli and vice-president Pavel Nedved, who is also stepping down, were among those under investigation. The Serie A club finished fourth in the league last season and made a €254.3m (£220m) loss – a record in Italy.

A statement from Juventus said the board have stepped “having considered the centrality and relevance of pending legal and accounting issues” in reference to the ongoing police investigation.

The outgoing board “considered to be in the best social interest to recommend that Juventus equip itself with a new board of directors to address these issues,” the statement added.

CEO Maurizio Arrivabene will remain in his role for an interim period while a new board is brought together.

Liverpool and Juventus tracking Mason Mount with Chelsea talks on hold | Chelsea

Liverpool and Juventus are keeping track of the growing uncertainty around Mason Mount’s future after Chelsea’s talks with the England midfielder over a new deal were put on hold until after the World Cup.

Mount’s deal expires in just over 18 months and his situation has prompted clubs to check whether he could be lured away from Stamford Bridge. The 23-year-old has been in discussions with Chelsea since the summer and, with no sign of a breakthrough, negotiations are not expected to resume until January.

Chelsea’s owners have no interest in losing Mount, who has been attached to the club for his entire career, and remain optimistic that negotiations will end on a positive note. Mount has been built up as a future Chelsea captain and the hierarchy want to reward his performances with an improved deal.

However there have been indications that an agreement is not guaranteed. Mount is one of the lowest earners in the first-team squad and wants a new deal to reflect his status as one of Graham Potter’s most important players. Chelsea’s initial proposals have fallen below his expectations.

Mount has established himself as one of the brightest young talents in the Premier League during the past three years and he is attracting interest from Juventus and Liverpool, who need to freshen up their midfield options.

Manchester City have previously been linked with Mount, who has been valued by his managers for his ability on the ball, versatility, pressing and tactical intelligence. Whether Mount would see moving to Italy to join Juventus, who are having a disappointing season, as a good move at this stage of his career remains to be seen.

The prospect of some of Europe’s top sides targeting Mount could lead to greater urgency from Chelsea. Their owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, will be keen to avoid a repeat of the messy situation they inherited. Chelsea lost Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers last summer and Thiago Silva’s, N’Golo Kanté’s and Jorginho’s deals run out at the end of this season.

Mason Mount

Chelsea, who have promoted their academy director, Neil Bath, to director of football development and operations, have shown a willingness to reward their young talents. Reece James and Armando Broja signed new long-term deals recently.

Meanwhile Édouard Mendy is considering his future after losing his place as Chelsea’s No 1 to Kepa Arrizabalaga. Mendy, who will be Senegal’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup, could seek assurances after a difficult start to the season.

The 30-year-old’s deal runs out in 2024 and he is also one of the squad’s lower earners. He has so far been reluctant to sign an extension.

Potter has favoured Arrizabalaga since replacing Thomas Tuchel in September. Mendy got back in the team after Arrizabalaga was injured against Brighton last month, but there is no guarantee he will be a starter after Qatar.

Juventus get their shambolic Big Cup exit out of the way early this season | Football


La vita è bella for Juventus at the moment. Beautiful, that is, if you’re looking at life solely in the context of being the best team in Turin. Should you be peering through that poxy prism, Juve are absolutely banging it, sitting proudly in eighth spot in Serie A, a whole two places and five points ahead of their city neighbours Torino. Additionally, while Il Toro’s rampant-bull badge has a certain classic-car charm, the Fiver much prefers the sleek seventies sass of Juve’s modernist J. So the Bianconeri have it all sewn up, two in the hole, whichever way you look at it. Providing that way is through the special prism.

However, ditch the light-refracting polyhedron o’ Piedmont positivity, and they don’t appear to be in such good shape. Refocus on that badge, squint a little, and suddenly it looks less a stylised J and more a pipe leading towards a U-bend. Oh no, logo! And sure enough, last night, Juve were literally flushed out of Big Pan Cup, having been flatteringly thrashed 4-3 by Benfica, whose forward line put on a display that combined exhilaration, verve, skill and rank chance-spurning ineptitude in such a way that the entire concept of Darwin Núñez suddenly made perfect sense.

“I don’t consider this a failure,” insisted under-fire coach Max Allegri post-fiasco, presumably on the grounds that it’s better to fall to pieces when comparatively out of sight, rather than in the latter stages as Juve are usually wont to do. Juve’s failure to reach the knockout stage of Big Cup for the first time since 2013-14 will sting pride, not least because even the sides clogged up by a superannuated Cristiano Ronaldo managed to make it through the groups before embarrassing themselves. Throw in Juve’s risible domestic campaign and you’d think things couldn’t get much worse. But they can, they surely can.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday, the Turin prosecutor has concluded its initial investigation into allegations of false accounting and market manipulation. The club president Andrea Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved and CEO Maurizio Arrivabene could all face trial over the allegations, which cover player contracts, transfers and agent dealings between 2018 and 2020. The club and everyone involved strongly deny the claims, with a statement saying Juve “operated according to the laws and rules that govern financial relations” and complied with the “customs of the football industry.”

Juve announced in March 2020 that players and staff would waive four months’ wages due to the restrictions of the belt-tightening Covid era. Prosecutors have been looking into whether these payments were actually sacrificed, or simply deferred – with La Gazzetta reporting that documents show the club promising the aforementioned CR7 €20m (£17m).

In a new statement on Tuesday, Juve said: “salary reductions agreed in March 2020 would have been negotiated once competitions resumed and stadiums were reopened.” But this is a story that could have legs, just like poor old Ron once did. Worth keeping an eye on, then … though the prism o’ positivity might not be so much use to Juve and their fans in this particular instance.


Big Cup week continues! Join Scott Murray for Ajax 1-2 Liverpool, while Luke McLaughlin will cover Tottenham 2-0 Sporting and plenty more in our clockwatch. And you can join Sarah Rendell for updates from Chelsea 4-0 Vllaznia in Women’s Big Cup; all games kick off at 8pm, BST.


“He’s very passionate and presented to the group really well. I think he got a lot from us as well, he spoke very highly about the experience. It’s really important to get other people in. We’ve had some important chats with Stuart. He’s a very humble man” – the England rugby league coach, Shaun Wane, after his team were given a World Cup pep talk from none other than Stuart Pearce.

Stuart Pearce
‘Into ‘em!’ Photograph: Simon Dael/Shutterstock

Football Weekly is here! The podders talk about Chelsea’s Big Cup progress, City’s penalty blues, Paul Mullin’s boots and a shocker of a miss. Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Take a bow, David Squires. Magnificent, memorable, moving” – Mark McFadden.

“Re: Ed Taylor’s letter (Tuesday’s Fiver). Unfortunately the magnificent bridges of Teeside aren’t the draw for football managers, or anyone else, that they once were. The Tees-Newport bridge hasn’t been raised since 1990 and the Transporter Bridge is closed as no one can afford to repair it. I’ll leave it to others to decide if there is a metaphor there for the football club” – John Lawton (and 1,056 others).

A mural at the Riverside
A mural at the Riverside depicting the nearby Transporter Bridge. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

“Having lured away Graham Potter and six other coaches, Chelsea are now returning to Brighton to poach head of recruitment Paul Winstanley. There is a rumour there will soon be a further raid to seek the services of team coach driver Alan Jenkins and Jo Smithson, head of sales for Piglet’s Pies. It has come to the point that Brighton fans are expecting representatives from Chelsea to show up at the Amex offering free season tickets, paid travel to Stamford Bridge and a round of golf with Clive Walker” – Tony Crawford.

“I couldn’t help noticing that the new Tory chief whip, Simon Hart, [at time of writing – Fiver Politics Ed] bears an uncanny resemblance to Brian Clough. I can’t think of anything witty or clever to say about that, but didn’t think that was necessary for this column” – Jonathan Carver.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … John Lawton, who wins a copy of Inside Qatar by John McManus. We have more to give away this week, so get scribbling.


The UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, has been criticised for telling gay football fans they should “be respectful” in Qatar while attending the Human Rights World Cup. The shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, Lucy Powell, called Cleverly’s comments “shockingly tone-deaf”.

The shirt worn by Sergio Agüero when he scored Manchester City’s title-winning goal against QPR 10 years ago is going under the hammer and is expected to fetch at least £20,000. Not quite the £7.1m paid for Maradona’s Hand of God shirt.

The FA has announced no disciplinary action will be taken over an alleged comment made by Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson to the Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhães during the Gunners’ recent 3-2 win. “There is no case to answer,” said a suit after the FA carried out a “full and thorough investigation”.

Harry Maguire is back in contention for Manchester United after injury and may get the game time to be match fit for the Human Rights World Cup because of Raphaël Varane’s hamstring problem. Good news there, then.

And England will face South American champions Brazil in the first ever Women’s Finalissima at Wembley next April. “The great games keep on coming for us, it will be another big moment” cheered Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman.

Sarina Wiegman
Sarina Wiegman: heading back to Wembley. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images


Aston Villa’s new manager Unai Emery has unfinished business in the Premier League, writes our man in Spain, Sid Lowe.

Two-times champions Portland Thorns are the favourites for Saturday’s NWSL final but Kansas City Current have the momentum, says Megan Swanick.

Who has played under the most different managers at the same club? Get your teeth into the latest instalment of The Knowledge.

And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

Champions League roundup: Benfica eliminate Juventus as PSG run riot | Champions League

Benfica’s Rafa Silva scored twice as the Portuguese side defeated Juventus 4-3 in a thriller at the Estádio da Luz to seal a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League and end the Italian club’s chances in this year’s competition.

Benfica have 11 points from five games, the same as the Group H leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who defeated Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in an equally stunning game at the Parc des Princes. Juve’s three points, meanwhile, leaves them to focus on winning a place in the Europa League, something they can secure on the final matchday when they host PSG.

Benfica are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season and it was easy to see why on Tuesday night. They were inventive with the ball and might have been out of sight at half-time before a late Juve rally meant a nervous finish. As it was, it is the first time in the Italian giant’s history they have conceded three first-half goals in the Champions League, and the first time since 2013-14 they have failed to get out of their group.

The teenager Antonio Silva scored his first Benfica goal to give the home side the lead after 17 minutes before Juventus drew level when Moise Kean bundled the ball home four minutes later. Benfica were back in front thanks to a controversial penalty that was converted by João Mario before Rafa Silva appeared to make the points safe with two sublime finishes either side of the break.

The visitors pulled a goal back late on through Arkadiusz Milik after he was set up by the young English winger Samuel Iling, and the latter was key in creating a chance for Weston McKennie to score Juve’s third. That led to a tense finish on a night when Benfica looked as though they would humiliate their visitors but had to hold on as Rafa Silva missed out on a hat-trick by hitting the post.

“It’s really a pity and difficult to find the words,” the Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli said.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé both scored twice, with Neymar also on target, as the French club’s fearsome attack tore apart Maccabi Haifa in a 7-2 win to send them into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa Photograph: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

The irrepressible trio were simply too much for Maccabi to handle although the Israeli side showed plenty of spirit in the Group H clash, with Abdoulaye Seck scoring twice. PSG’s romp means with one game remaining against Juventus they top the standings on goal difference from Benfica.

Despite their heavy defeat, Maccabi remain level on three points with Juve and will go into their last game at home against Benfica still hopeful of sealing a Europa League spot.

Christophe Galtier’s side took a while to find their attacking rhythm but once they clicked they were devastating as they threatened to surpass their 7-1 rout of Celtic in 2017.

“The 4-3-3 system meant the front three could be a little higher up the pitch and they had a little more freedom in their movements thanks to the work of the midfield,” Galtier said. “It’s a privilege to have those players and to see them play like that, for each other.”

Messi started things off in the 19th minute with a sumptuous opening goal scored with the outside of his left foot after being played in by Mbappé on the left side of the area. Mbappé’s opener was just as silky, the French forward bending a right-footer in the 32nd minute past goalkeeper Joshua Cohen who could not be faulted for any of PSG’s goals.

It began to turn ugly for Maccabi three minutes later when Mbappé and Messi combined to play in Neymar and the Brazilian’s shot went in on off the post. PSG switched off defensively to allow an unmarked Seck to head in from Omer Atzili’s free-kick but Messi then swapped passes with Neymar before dropping his shoulder and belting a left-footed shot low into the corner to make it 4-1 at half-time.

It took Messi’s Champions League total to 129, 12 behind the record of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maccabi actually controlled the opening 10 minutes of the second half and when PSG made a hash of clearing a corner, Seck looped a header over Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the net. The visiting fans celebrated joyously but PSG then moved through the gears to run riot.

In the 64th minute Mbappé was picked out by a diagonal pass from Achraf Hakimi and he took a deft touch before picking out the far corner. As Maccabi finally lost heart Neymar’s dribble and low cross ended with Sean Goldberg netting an own goal.

Messi, who was denied a record ninth Champions League hat-trick by the crossbar, then set up Carlos Soler to wrap up the scoring with a low shot.

“We caught Paris on a good day. The smallest slip in concentration against players like that and they can score or have a big chance,” Maccabi defender Dylan Batubinsika said.”

RB Leipzig took a big step towards the Champions League knockout stage with a 3-2 home win against the holders Real Madrid.

With Real having already qualified for the last 16 their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, rested several regular starters and his side were dominated early on by a young Leipzig team. The hosts took the lead on 13 minutes with Josko Gvardiol scoring on the rebound from a Thibaut Courtois save after a bullet header by André Silva.

With the European champions still recovering from that blow, Leipzig extended their advantage five minutes later when David Raum tried to pass into the box but the ball deflected off a defender into the path of Christopher Nkunku who was quick to react and rifled the ball in off the crossbar.

Leipzig had two more great chances but Courtois saved Amadou Haidara’s strike from the edge of the box and Nkuku put a close-range shot wide after beating the onrushing Real goalkeeper to the ball but ending up with a tight angle trying to find the empty net.

“I think we came out very distracted in the beginning of the game and were caught sleeping against a team that is very aggressive,” Courtois said.

Leipzig are second in Group F on nine points, one behind the leaders Real and three ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, who they face in their final group game next week in need of a draw to guarantee a top-two spot.

Milan revived their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a 4-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb. Back-to-back defeats by Chelsea in their two previous matches had left the Serie A champions with plenty to do to qualify for the knockout stages, but Matteo Gabbia’s first-half header set them on their way to a crucial victory in Croatia.

Rafael Leão’s solo run and finish early in the second half put the game beyond the home side before Olivier Giroud made sure of the three points with a penalty just before the hour mark. A late own goal put the seal on the second win of Milan’s European campaign and one that moves them up to second place in Group E on seven points. If they avoid defeat next week against Salzburg they will reach the last 16.

“I think it is clear that our growth continues with qualification,” the Milan head coach, Stefano Pioli, said.

Sevilla kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the last 16 after second-half goals from Youssef En-Nesyri, Isco and Gonzalo Montiel secured a convincing 3-0 home win against 10-man FC Copenhagen in Group G.

European roundup: Dusan Vlahovic scores winner for Juventus at Torino | European club football

The Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic scored a late goal to secure a 1-0 win at local rivals Torino in Serie A after both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances.

The pressure was on for Juve and their manager Massimiliano Allegri after a 2-0 Champions League loss at Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday, but their lacklustre performance in the first half gave the injury-hit visitors little cause for optimism.

The first 45 minutes of the Turin derby was a tame affair with little to cheer for either side. Torino had half-chances around the box but they were snuffed out by the Juve defence.

Vlahovic had the first chance of the match after 34 minutes but his fellow Serb Vanja Milinkovic-Savic made an impressive save and then kept out Manuel Locatelli’s effort.

Vlahovic then lost his marker in the 74th minute and tapped the ball in from close range after an assist from Danilo, securing a much-needed win for Allegri’s team who are now seventh with 16 points from 10 games. Torino are 11th with 11 points.

In France, Lorient missed out on the chance to move provisionally top of Ligue 1 as they were held to a goalless stalemate at home by nine-man Reims on Saturday.

Lorient lacked their usual creativity and failed to take advantage after Dion Lopy was given Reims’ eighth red card this season early in the second half. Emmanuel Agbadou was also sent off in stoppage time.

The result leaves Lorient in second place on 26 points from 11 games, behind Paris Saint-Germain on goal difference ahead of the French champions’ clash with third-placed Marseille on Sunday. Reims are 14th on nine points.

Lorient started brightly but suffered a setback when the forward Terem Moffi was forced off injured in the 24th minute.

The Reims midfielder Lopy got a second yellow card and was sent off a minute after half-time, but the visitors continued to dominate and they also coped with Agbadou’s dismissal to earn a point.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Spanish head coach Xabi Alonso reacts during his side’s 5-1 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Spanish head coach Xabi Alonso reacts during his side’s 5-1 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

Eintracht Frankfurt climbed to fourth in the Bundesliga after thrashing 10-man Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 at home, including two penalties by the Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada.

The Europa League champions Frankfurt have 17 points after 10 games and trail third-placed Hoffenheim on goal difference. Leverkusen slipped into the relegation zone in 16th with eight points.

After a series of missed chances, Leverkusen were awarded a penalty before the break when Jesper Lindstrøm was brought down in the box by Edmond Tapsoba. The forward Randal Kolo Muani took the penalty, which was saved by Lukas Hradecky, but the VAR ruled the Leverkusen keeper was off his line, forcing a retake. Kamada took the second attempt and made it 1-0.

Leverkusen, playing under new coach Xabi Alonso, drew level in the 56th minute through a header from Piero Hincapié after a free-kick, but their joy was short-lived as Kolo Muani made up for his penalty miss with a diving header two minutes later.

Lindstrom made it 3-1 in the 65th minute with a sublime lob over Hradecky from a tight angle before Kamada scored a 72nd-minute penalty as Hincapie was sent off for picking up a second yellow for a tackle on Kolo Muani.

Lucas Alario wrapped up the win with a tap-in in the 86th minute, scoring his first league goal for Frankfurt against his former side.

RB Leipzig scored three first-half goals before staving off a spirited Hertha Berlin comeback after the break to win an entertaining game 3-2. Goals from Emil Forsberg, Abdou Diallo and Willie Orbán had put Leipzig in a commanding position before Dodi Lukebakio and Stevan Jovetic pulled two back to set up a nervy finale.

This story will be updated

Champions League roundup: Shakhtar denied by Madrid as Juve lose again | Champions League

Shakhtar Donetsk were denied a memorable win over Real Madrid as Antonio Rüdiger scored a stoppage-time equaliser in their Champions League Group F match in Warsaw, while Juventus crashed to their third group defeat as they lost 2-0 away to Maccabi Haifa.

Oleksandr Zubkov headed Shakhtar, beaten 2-1 by Real in Spain last week, in front at the start of the second half. That had looked to be enough for the Ukrainians to secure a hard-earned victory, but former Chelsea defender Rüdiger headed in a dramatic equaliser in the fifth minute of added time. Real Madrid sit top of the table, now four points ahead of RB Leipzig, who won 2-0 at Celtic.

In Israel, Haifa, secured their first win of the group stage against strugglig Juventus.
Omer Atzili headed the hosts into an early lead and doubled the lead shortly before the break as Juve were dealt another setback following Saturday’s Serie A defeat to AC Milan.

Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica remain locked together at the top of Group H following a 1-1 draw in the French capital. Kylian Mbappé, who is said to be unhappy in the Frech capital and wants to leave in January, converted a penalty late in the first half to give PSG – without Lionel Messi because of injury – the lead, but João Mário equalised from the spot just after the hour.

Kylian Mbappé wheels away after opening the scoring against Benfica.
Kylian Mbappé wheels away after opening the scoring against Benfica. Photograph: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

In Group E, Dinamo Zagreb and RB Salzburg drew 1-1 at the Maksimir Stadium. Nicolas Seiwald gave Salzburg an early lead before the Croatians equalised through Robert Ljubicic’s deflected effort.

Borussia Dortmund fought back to draw 1-1 against Sevilla at Signal Iduna Park thanks to Jude Bellingham’s fourth goal in successive Champions League matches. Tanguy Nianzou headed Sevilla in front following a free-kick on 18 minutes, but the England midfielder bundled in an equaliser before the break. Dortmund sit second in the table, five points ahead of Sevilla and Copenhagen, who drew 0-0 with leaders Manchester City.

Milan bounce back against Juventus to give Allegri a slap in the face | Serie A

Massimiliano Allegri threw down a gauntlet, only for his rivals to pick it up and slap him in the face with it. “Try taking five starters away from Inter or Milan,” said the Juventus manager last month as he sought to defend his team’s slow start to the Serie A season by gesturing at an extensive injury list. “Then let’s see if they run into difficulty.”

Milan did indeed look diminished as they travelled to Stamford Bridge last week without Mike Maignan, Theo Hernández, Davide Calabria, Simon Kjær, Alexis Saelemaekers and Junior Messias – not to mention long-term absentee Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Chelsea made light work of a decimated defence on their way to a 3-0 Champions League win.

Hernández was back in the lineup for Saturday’s game against Juventus, but the rest remained out of action. It looked like an opportunity for Allegri’s team to build on the momentum they had claimed with back-to-back wins – and six goals scored – against Bologna and Maccabi Haifa. A chance for the manager to prove his point.

Juventus started well, carving out a few half-chances and finding some forward thrust through Juan Cuadrado on the right. But after the Colombian had a shot blocked by Sandro Tonali in the 21st minute, his team could not muster another attempt on goal for the next 50. Milan scored twice in-between.

Fikayo Tomori struck first, crashing the ball home after accidentally blocking a shot from teammate Olivier Giroud at a corner, claiming a small slice of redemption after his humbling return to the Bridge. This has been a difficult season so far for the Englishman, who has struggled to match the standards he set last term, but on Saturday he excelled at both ends of the pitch.

Juventus lined up in a 4-4-2 with Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik up front: a €70m striker accompanied by another who was averaging a goal every 78 minutes. Accompanying Tomori at centre-back for Milan was Matteo Gabbia, a 22-year-old with six starts last season. One of those was a 4-3 defeat by Fiorentina, in which Vlahovic – still playing for the Viola back then – scored twice.

The Serbian never even got as close as attempting a shot for Juventus on Saturday, instead providing the assist for Milan’s second goal. With Tomori assailing his every touch, Vlahovic was flustered into a loose pass across the middle of the pitch. Brahim Díaz intercepted, ran 50 yards and beat Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.


Brahim Díaz breaks through the Juventus defence and finds the back of the net

PACE. POISE. PERFECTION. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/vepIr1v8Zp

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 8, 2022

If Vlahovic chose poorly then he did not deserve to carry the blame all by himself. Milik, the target for the pass, was leaden-footed in reacting to it and Leonardo Bonucci allowed Díaz to breeze past when even a foul would have served his team better. It was a goal that embodied the worst nature of this Juventus side who play with an air of passivity all over the pitch.

A manager who won five consecutive Serie A titles and reached two Champions League finals during his previous stint at Juventus can feel entitled to believe he knows better than his critics but Allegri’s persistence with rigid lines and low blocks has certainly earned him a few. As one Gazzetta dello Sport journalist wrote in their analysis of Saturday’s game: “A 4-4-2 without overlapping full-backs is as credible as a tiramisù without mascarpone.”

Milan’s Theo Hernández invites a tackle from Juve’s Juan Cuadrado in the corner of the pitch.
Milan’s Theo Hernández invites a tackle from Juve’s Juan Cuadrado in the corner of the pitch. Photograph: Nderim Kaceli/LiveMedia/Shutterstock

After nine games, Juventus are already 10 points off the pace atop Serie A. They have failed to win any of their first four away matches for the second time in the club’s top-flight history, and face an uphill struggle to make it out of their Champions League group, despite beating Maccabi, after losing their opening two matches against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

Most damning of all might be the fact Allegri has not won a single game against Milan, Inter or Napoli since he returned to the club last summer. His assertion on Saturday that Juventus had “given up few chances, other than the two times Rafael Leão hit the post … and two very avoidable goals” started to sound like a Monty Python character asking what the Romans have ever done for us.

Stefano Pioli, by contrast, was able to frame this as a show of resilience, a strong “reaction” to the loss in west London. Milan host Chelsea in the return game on Tuesday and can ill afford another defeat in Champions League Group E, where they sit level on points with the Premier League side and one behind Salzburg.

The return of Hernández offers one reason to think that the second meeting need not be a repeat of the first, as does Pioli’s flexibility. After starting every previous game this season in a 4-2-3-1, he adjusted to a 4-3-3 against Juventus, making space for Díaz on the right at the expense of Charles De Ketalaere – the highly-touted summer arrival who has struggled to consistently influence games from the No 10 position.

This may prove a pivotal week for three of Italy’s four Champions League representatives. Only Napoli, as dominant in Europe as they have been at home, can feel confident of making it through to the knockout rounds.

Inter strengthened their position with a 1-0 win at home to Barcelona but Wednesday’s rematch at Camp Nou might well decide everything in a group where Bayern Munich appear locked into first place and Viktoria Plzen have so far looked unlikely to take points off anyone.

Quick Guide

Serie A results


Bologna 1-1 Sampdoria, Milan 2-0 Juventus, Sassuolo 1-2 Inter, Roma 2-1 Lecce, Cremonese 1-4 Napoli, Udinese 2-2 Atalanta, Salernitana 2-1 Verona, Monza 2-0 Spezia, Torino 1-1 Empoli

Thank you for your feedback.

Simone Inzaghi’s team have endured a difficult start of their own in Serie A, and began this weekend one point behind Juventus, but a 2-1 win at Sassuolo provided a welcome sense of continuity, building on the midweek win. Edin Dzeko grabbed both goals, taking his personal haul to 101 since arriving in the league with Roma seven years ago.

Inter were missing Romelu Lukaku, Marcelo Brozovic, Joaquín Correa and Stefan de Vrij against Sassuolo. Milan Skriniar and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were each limited to second-half cameos off the bench. They did not have it all their own way, conceding a second-half equaliser after Dzeko put them in front, and requiring the Bosnian to unpick the deadlock a second time.

Allegri was perfectly justified in that suggestion last month that any side shorn of five starters would run into difficulty. But as Milan and Inter both demonstrated this weekend, that is not the same as being overcome by it.

European roundup: Tomori on target to help Milan defeat struggling Juventus | European club football

Milan secured a 2-0 win over rivals Juventus with goals from defender Fikayo Tomori and midfielder Brahim Díaz in a spirited Serie A clash at the San Siro.

The defending champions provisionally moved up two places to third in the standings on 20 points, level with leaders Napoli and second-placed Atalanta who both have a game in hand.

Juventus, who appeared to have turned a corner after beating Bologna 3-0 at home last weekend, following that up with a 3-1 victory against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League in midweek, remain eighth on 13 points.

Milan made it 1-0 just before the break through Tomori who followed up a shot by Olivier Giroud and rifled the ball into the roof of the net. Díaz doubled Milan’s lead in the 54th minute when he took advantage of Dusan Vlahovic’s mistake and raced towards Juve’s goal, finishing off a solo effort with a brilliant strike.

Edin Dzeko’s 100th and 101st Serie A goals gave injury-ridden Internazionale a 2-1 victory at Sassuolo. The 36-year-old became the third-oldest player to reach the milestone behind Goran Pandev and Sergio Pellissier.

In Spain, Ángel Correa scored twice as Atlético Madrid won 2-1 against Girona to move up to fourth in La Liga. Girona made it difficult for the home side who relied on an inspired performance from Jan Oblak and got lucky when two second-half strikes from the visitors hit the post.

Both Correa’s goals were scored in the early minutes of each half. The Argentina international stroked in a close-range, first-time shot from an Antoine Griezmann cross to open the scoring after five minutes. Three minutes after the break, Correa intercepted a poor pass from goalkeeper Juan Carlos inside the box and buried the ball in the open goal.

Ángel Correa watches his shot go past Juan Carlos for Atlético Madrid’s second goal
Ángel Correa watches his shot go past Juan Carlos for Atlético Madrid’s second goal. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Girona reduced the deficit in the 65th minute when Rodrigo Riquelme’s long-range shot deflected off defender José Maria Gimenez, which took it beyond Jan Oblak.

Aleix García smashed a thundering strike off the post in the 77th minute and had a similar strike from the same spot that Oblak acrobatically tipped away. From the resulting corner, Santiago Bueno jumped high to deliver a towering header that smashed against Oblak’s left post. That was as close as Girona came to an equaliser.

Atlético’s win lifted them to 16 points, a point behind third-placed Athletic Bilbao who drew 1-1 at Sevilla, Mikel Vesga equalising for the visitors after Óliver Torres’s early goal. Atlético are three points behind the leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.

In the main game in Germany, Borussia Dortmund scraped a 2-2 draw at home to Bayern Munich. Earlier, Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby scored once and set up two for Jeremie Frimpong in a 4-0 demolition of visiting Schalke to give Xabi Alonso a winning start as a coach in the Bundesliga.

Diaby thundered in a shot from outside the area in the 38th minute before setting up Frimpong to drill in from a tight angle three minutes later.
The pair combined again eight minutes after the restart with Diaby again the provider and Dutch midfielder Frimpong slotting in from close range. Paulinho completed the rout with a well-timed run in the 90th minute.

This story will be updated

Champions League: Sevilla sack Lopetegui after Bellingham’s brilliance | Champions League

Borussia Dortmund struck three times in the first half to beat their hosts Sevilla 4-1 in Champions League Group G on Wednesday and stay firmly on course for the last 16. Sevilla’s manager, Julen Lopetegui, was later sacked with reports in Spain saying the Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli could be his replacement.

Raphaël Guerreiro put the German side in front with a powerful strike before the 19-year-old Jude Bellingham angled a shot into the far corner after a superb run into the box, to become the youngest captain to score in a Champions League match. The England international is also the first teenage midfielder to score in three consecutive Champions League games.

Karim Adeyemi made it 3-0 on the rebound two minutes from half-time although Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri cut the deficit six minutes after the restart before Julian Brandt’s glancing header made sure of the points 15 minutes from time.

As Dortmund players celebrated their win, Lopetegui left the pitch waving to fans who were chanting his name.

Dortmund, who host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday, are second in the group on six points, three behind the leaders Manchester City.

The defending champions, Real Madrid, were forced to ride their luck to extend their 100% start at the top of Group F with a 2-1 win against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The hosts looked poised to coast to victory after Rodrygo fired a long-range opener then Vinícius Junior doubled their advantage with less than half an hour on the clock. But Shakhtar replied through a thunderous volley from Oleksandr Zubkov before the break and the visitors continued to threaten to snatch an equaliser on the counter-attack.

Lionel Messi has Benfica players backing off.
Lionel Messi has Benfica players backing off. He scored a brilliant goal but PSG drew 1-1 at Benfica Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images

A brilliant strike from Lionel Messi was not enough for Paris Saint-Germain to preserve their perfect start in Group H as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Benfica. Messi curled a 22nd-minute opener past the home goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos but his effort was cancelled out by a 41st-minute own goal by Danilo Pereira which keeps the hosts level at the top of the group.

Two goals from Adrien Rabiot got Juventus up and running at the third time of asking as they swept to a 3-1 win against Maccabi Haifa in Turin.

Starting pointless after their first two games, Rabiot grabbed a 35th-minute opener before Dusan Vlahovic doubled Juve’s lead early in the second half. Dean David set up a nervy finish for the hosts when he reduced the deficit in the 75th minute but Rabiot’s second seven minutes from time wrapped up an overdue victory.

A second-half penalty from Noah Okafor proved enough for Salzburg to beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 and take over at the top of the Group E with five points from their first three games.