Juventus’ season got a double boost today as first they rightfully had their 15-point deduction in the league rescinded and then followed that up with a hard-fought draw away at Lisbon to beat Sporting CP 2-1 on aggregate to make it into the final four of the Europa League.
Adrien Rabiot capitalized early on a goalmouth mix-up to put the Italian giants up two on aggregate, before his clumsy challenge gave away a penalty to give the hosts life. However Juve would hang on with a typical grinta-filled performance to ensure their berth in the semi-finals where they will take on Sevilla who easily dispatched a weakened Manchester United side 5-2 on aggregate.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri looked very pleased.
“It’s a wonderful day. It was a good performance, especially in the second half, but we must do better in our finishing. The lads behaved well and we were a little bit lucky too.”
“We suffered, we did good things in the second half at the beginning. But we have to do better when it comes to our chances. We rushed the play in the box and more patience would have been needed. We shot little from outside the box and we must improve.
“We knew it would be difficult, but we are bringing home a good result.”
Regarding the restoration of their 15 points in the league which could yet still be imposed with another Federal Court of Appeal ruling in the offing.
“As far as we were concerned, we always had 59 points. Now we just see on the table what we earned on the field.
“This is a day where we get 15 points returned, now we need to dive back into Serie A, as we lost points too often recently. We must consolidate our position in the top four.”
His thoughts on Spanish side Sevilla who have proven to be masters of this tournament in the past.
“I expected Sevilla to be honest. They are a tricky team, they play well and are good with the ball.
“They have won so many Europa Leagues, so they definitely have an advantage. The signs from the last game [in Manchester] were in their favour, I had that feeling.”
Rabiot has been scoring goals for fun in his contract season, but Allegri feels there’s still room for improvement for the France international midfielder.
“He has the qualities but he can still improve. Sometimes he gets close to the area and doesn’t shoot. He has to improve but he has become important, extraordinary.”