Juventus on verge of CL elimination after 2-0 loss at Haifa

AP , Tuesday 11 Oct 2022

Juventus descended further into crisis and was left on the verge of elimination from the Champions League following a 2-0 loss at Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday that also included an injury to key winger Angel Di Maria.

Massimiliano Allegri
Juventus Italian coach Massimiliano Allegri speaks to his players during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Israel s Maccabi Haifa and Italy s Juventus at the Sammy Ofer stadium in the city of Haifa on October 11, 2022. AFP


Omer Atzili scored two first-half goals as Haifa earned its first Champions League win in two decades.

Juventus was left third in Group H with two games to play.

Paris Saint-Germain, which was hosting Benfica later, leads the group with seven points, followed by Benfica (also with 7), Juventus (3) and Haifa (3).

It's the first time Juventus _ a two-time European champion _ has lost three of its first four group matches.

``Unfortunately, these things happen in soccer,'' Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado said. ``We've got to try to turn the page as soon as possible . We can only emerge from this situation if we're united.''

Juventus is also struggling in Serie A and lost 2-0 to AC Milan on Saturday, leaving the Bianconeri eighth with just three wins in nine matches.

Still, Juventus CEO Maurizio Arrivabene said before the game in Haifa that the club had ``absolute faith'' in coach Massimiliano Allegri.

``The coach is doing everything to get us back on track,`` Cuadrado said at the final whistle. ``We are all a team and it's more the fault of those of us on the field. We must give more, starting from the more experienced players. We need to have faith in ourselves as a team and a family. We have emerged from many difficult situations before and this is an opportunity to do it again.''

An early exit from the Champions League would be particularly painful for Juventus' finances after the club recently posted a record loss.

Juventus was eliminated by Villarreal in the first knockout round of last season's Champions League.

It was Haifa's first Champions League win since beating Manchester United 3-0 in 2002.

Atzili put Haifa ahead seven minutes in by using his back to deflect a cross from the center of the area amid a crowd of defenders. His second was a precise shot into the near corner after faking a shot to the other side of the net.

Tjaronn Chery also hit the crossbar in the first-half onslaught from Haifa.

Things then went from bad to worse for Juve when Di Maria pulled up clutching the back of his right leg _ prompting the Argentina international to exit immediately.

Di Maria provided all three assists when Juventus beat Haifa 3-1 last week.

Juventus was beaten 2-1 both by PSG and Benfica in its opening two games.

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