Guardiola meltdown after Juventus find dramatic equaliser

Pep Guardiola was not impressed by questions on his team's fitness after they conceded a late equaliser in Turin.
Pep Guardiola was not impressed by questions on his team's fitness after they conceded a late equaliser in Turin.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TURIN (Italy) • Pep Guardiola lost his cool after his Bayern Munich side blew a two-goal lead as Juventus rescued their Champions League hopes in a dramatic 2-2 draw in Turin.

The Bayern manager snapped at questions about his team's character and fitness following substitute Stefano Sturaro's equaliser 14 minutes from time.

"The result is what it is. I know in Italy you are about physical condition," said the Spaniard after the first leg of their round of 16 encounter on Tuesday. "I don't give a f*** for the physical condition. It's the mental question that I care about.

"I didn't expect to come here and expect Juve not to shoot on target, or that we would play 90 fantastic minutes. They have players like (Mario) Mandzukic, (Paul) Pogba and (Leonardo) Bonucci, one of my all-time favourite players. And we showed character."

Bayern were faultless on their way to a two-goal lead by the 55th minute thanks to goals from Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben as they pinned the hosts back in their own half for long periods.

  • Pep not the cause of poor form: Pellegrini

  • KIEV • Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has rejected the notion that the club's announcement that Pep Guardiola will take over at the end of the season has derailed their campaign.

    "Really, that's not the problem," he told a news conference ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Dynamo Kiev yesterday.

    The club announced on Feb 1 that Bayern Munich manager Guardiola would replace Pellegrini from July and since then their form has nosedived.

    City won at Sunderland in the Premier League the day after Guardiola's arrival was confirmed but they have since lost home games to title rivals Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur and exited the FA Cup with a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Chelsea.

    On Sunday, City take on Liverpool in the League Cup final during a crucial period that could determine whether the Chilean's last season ends with a trophy.

    "All the players and staff are thinking about just this season. We have important challenges this year and we are focused in every game," Pellegrini said on Tuesday.

    REUTERS

But Sturaro took advantage of a makeshift Bayern backline due to a string of injuries and added to Paulo Dybala's 63rd-minute strike to restore parity ahead of the return leg in Munich on March 16.

Bayern will at least be heartened that winger Franck Ribery and central defender Medhi Benatia gained valuable playing time as late substitutes as both marked their return from injury.

"We should have killed it off after the 2-0. What happened to us afterwards should not happen," said Robben. "We should have been cooler and calmer."

Still, with two vital away goals, Bayern remain favourites to reach the last eight.

"In the second half we were rewarded for our more daring approach," Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said. "But if you want to advance into the next round of this competition you have to win a game. We did not win it here so now we have to go and win it in Munich."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline 'Guardiola meltdown after Juventus find dramatic equaliser'. Print Edition | Subscribe