Allegri 'not worried' about toothless Old Lady

Roma striker Edin Dzeko (right) and team-mate Miralem Pjanic were on target to send a woeful Juventus to two defeats in as many games of the new Serie A season.
Roma striker Edin Dzeko (right) and team-mate Miralem Pjanic were on target to send a woeful Juventus to two defeats in as many games of the new Serie A season.PHOTO: REUTERS

MILAN • Juventus suffered a second straight loss at the start of the Italian Serie A season for the first time in the Old Lady's history, with a 1-2 defeat by Roma on Sunday.

Runners-up in the past two seasons, Roma built a two-goal lead with 11 minutes to play thanks to Bosnia pair Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, after Juventus had been reduced to 10 men following Patrice Evra's sending-off.

The champions pulled a consolation goal back - their first of the league season - through Paulo Dybala in the final minutes. But Roma held on to beat Juventus in the league for the first time since February 2013.

Not since Bologna in 1941 have the title holders begun the defence of their crown with successive defeats. Juve, beaten 0-1 at home by Udinese last week, lost only three league games last season.

"I think we played incredibly," Roma captain Daniele de Rossi told Sky Sport. "Don't forget, Juventus were in the Champions League final a few months ago."

Beaten 1-3 by Barcelona in last season's Champions League final, Juve appear to be paying the price for fumbling around the transfer market as they rebuild a team that was used to dominate Serie A.

They lost three influential players - playmaker Andrea Pirlo, midfielder Arturo Vidal and striker Carlos Tevez - during the summer.

In their place have come the temperamental Mario Mandzukic, the inexperienced Dybala and injury-prone midfielder Sami Khedira.

Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado seemed to be an afterthought when he was signed last week and there was a failed, drawn-out attempt to coax midfielder Julian Draxler from Schalke to join.

An injury to Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio has not helped either, but Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri, who surprisingly trotted out a three-man defence on Sunday, is unconcerned heading into a two-week international break.

"I'm not worried about our zero points in the league, that's something that can happen in football," he said. "Yes, we have to catch up, but we've got all the time and quality to do so. We need to remain calm, clear-headed and run through what didn't work for us."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Allegri 'not worried' about toothless Old Lady'. Print Edition | Subscribe