Sevilla tactics to enliven encounter with Juventus

MILAN • Jorge Sampaoli's unique brand of whirlwind football will be unleashed on an unsuspecting Champions League when his Sevilla team face Juventus today.

Sampaoli turned Chile into one of the most entertaining teams at the World Cup two years ago and the Argentinian's first few games with Sevilla have shown that he is not afraid to bring his unique style to the European club game.

The Europa League winners kicked off their La Liga campaign with a 6-4 win over Espanyol and, on Saturday, after a lacklustre first half hour, beat Las Palmas 2-1 with a 94th-minute winner.

Sampaoli's teams play with a fast and furious style which often threatens to blow their opponents away but can leave their own defence dangerously exposed.

Whenever they have the ball, they sweep forward in waves, with seven or eight players in attack.

Spanish media have been trying to work out Sampaoli's formation, with one writer venturing that it was a 2-1-5-2 configuration.

Shaven-headed and sometimes with a wild stare, Sampaoli also brings an extra dose of energy to the touchline, where he leaps up and down and rants, a complete contrast to Juve's phlegmatic coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Sevilla's visit will be an interesting test for the Italian Serie A champions, who have won their first three league matches of the season and are encountering little resistance domestically.

The teams also met in the group stage last season and, although the Italian side qualified and Sevilla went out, a 1-0 defeat away to the Spanish side meant Juventus finished second and faced Bayern Munich in the round of 16.

Juventus coach Allegri is already worried about the amount of praise that his new-look team are getting. "Everyone says that Juventus will win everything, the championship, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League and that doesn't do us any good, because we lose our balance and sense of perspective," he said.

"There are moments in the game when we must defend well, without letting the opposition get away from us. We all have to work hard and cannot just take it for granted that the three at the back will take care of things."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Sevilla tactics to enliven encounter with Juventus'. Print Edition | Subscribe