Maccabi Haifa thrashed Juventus in the Uefa Champions League to clinch their first European victory since 2002.
In front of a packed Sammy Ofer Stadium on Tuesday, Juventus suffered a 2-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa, who won their first Champions League match in 20 years thanks to a pair of goals from Omer Atzili.
Maccabi Haifa has not won in the Champions League since defeating Manchester United 3-0 in 2002.
With a crucial winger (Di Maria) injured, Juventus furthered its dilemma and are now in danger of being eliminated from the Champions League.
As a result, third-placed Juventus’ chances of moving on to the knockout stages are now hanging by a thread. Paris St. Germain and Benfica, who currently lead Group H with 8 points apiece, played a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.
The victory was well deserved for a buzzing Haifa squad that played with a lot of energy in stark contrast to the Italians who were second best. Juventus have never lost three of their first four games in a group stage untill now.
Massimiliano Allegri, the manager of Juventus, is under extra pressure after the defeat because his team is also having trouble in Serie A, where they are currently seventh. However, club president Andrea Agnelli insisted that Allegri’s position was not in danger.
When winger Atzili headed home Pierre Cornud’s cross in the seventh minute, Haifa got off to the best possible start. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was forced to scramble on the goal line after failing to stop the ball.
Five minutes later, Tjaronn Chery’s free-kick hit the crossbar before Szczesny was forced into another long-range diving save as the visitors failed to exert any pressure on the team they had defeated 3-1 in the previous match.
Concerns for Juventus were increased when they lost Argentine winger Angel Di Maria to injury once more. Before the half-time mark, Di Maria was forced to leave the game holding his hamstring.
Atzili extended the advantage just before halftime with a stinging shot to Szczesny’s near post that the Polish goalkeeper got a touch on but could not keep out as the home team continued to apply pressure.
“This evening is challenging”, Agnelli said to Sky Sport, “I feel ashamed about what is occurring, and I am upset.
“We are incapable of even making a tackle, which is not the coach’s fault. You can’t point the finger at one person in a circumstance like this; the entire club is to blame.”
Juventus had numerous opportunities, but they were consistently denied in the final third by Maccabi’s American goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who also made a few excellent saves to preserve the clean sheet.
Despite the embarrassing defeat at the hands of a minnows like Maccabi, Futballnews gathered that coach Allegri will remain at Juventus at least until the season finish.
What’s next for Juventus?
Juventus will look forward to bouncing back from their loss to Maccabi Haifa as they face Torino in the Serie A.
Torino will host Massimiliano Allegri’s men on Saturday 15th, 2022 at the Olimpico di Torino Stadium in Turin.