Juventus and Sevilla draw a blank

An absorbing contest between Juventus and Sevilla featured plenty of high-quality football but no goals, Gonzalo Higuaín's header off the crossbar the closest either side came.

Matchday 1 highlights: Juventus 0-0 Sevilla
Matchday 1 highlights: Juventus 0-0 Sevilla

Sevilla have now gone 300 minutes without scoring at the Juventus Stadium but this was a valuable point for Jorge Sampaoli's team away to the Italian champions.

Having played a goalless 120 minutes against Benfica in the 2014 UEFA Europa League final and lost 2-0 here to Juve last season, Sevilla might have been forgiven for a touch of trepidation but their tactical plan involved pressing Gianluigi Buffon so that Juve could not play out from the back.

That set the tone as Sevilla sought to regain possession quickly, although the game's best chance came when the tables were turned. Sami Khedira won the ball and quickly found Dani Alves; Gonzalo Higuaín's header rattled the bar.

Sergio Rico was beaten then but made a series of cool interventions, including a diving tackle on Paulo Dybala in the first half and a full-length stop to deny Alex Sandro in added time.

Key player: Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Jorge Valdano was at the Juventus Stadium and described Dybala as the "most naturally talented" young footballer emerging from his native Argentina today. The 22-year-old striker showed velvet touches, intelligent movement and threat to back up Valdano's praise. His link-up play helped lay on Higuaín for a header that cracked off the bar, and his quick thinking and even quicker sprint onto a loose ball in the first half was Rico's only real test all night.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri©AFP/Getty Images

Pjanić crucial for Juve
While waiting for Claudio Marchisio to return from a knee injury, Juventus must rely heavily on Miralem Pjanić's quality and creativity in midfield. The former's absence was felt in the opening period when Dybala was forced to drop deep to pick up the ball – with Dybala, and his left foot, far from the opponents' goal, the Juve attack certainly looked less dangerous.

All change against at Sevilla
Sevilla's starting line-up featured just four players who appeared in the UEFA Europa League final defeat of Liverpool four months ago, with Adil Rami, Steven N'Zonzi, Sergio Escudero and Vitolo the only survivors. It is testimony to the tremendous work of Sevilla's technical department, led by the famous Ramón 'Monchi' Rodríguez, that there can be such turnaround and a terrific 'champion' side like Juventus can still be matched tactically and technically.

Reporter's view

Still going strong: Gianluigi Buffon
Still going strong: Gianluigi Buffon©AFP/Getty Images

Paolo Menicucci, Juventus (@UEFAcomPaoloM)
Juventus will feel they deserved more after creating most of the chances though Sevilla have once again proved they can compete with the top European teams. Maybe they did not attack like their charismatic coach Sampaoli had promised, but the Andalusians were well organised and can look forward to their campaign with belief. Juventus, meanwhile, must improve if they wish to be among the title favourites, yet given the influx of new players in Turin this summer, time will only help the Bianconeri.

Graham Hunter, Sevilla (@bumpergraham)
If this is a Sevilla side with wholesale squad changes after a turbulent transfer market, plus a new coach who, in the words of Vicente Iborra, is imposing a very new and challenging style of play, then their rivals should watch out. This was a point the UEFA Europa League holders would not have earned last term: ceaseless effort, confidence on the ball and a 'toe to toe' attitude. Only a draw and no goals but very definitely a promising start to this European campaign for Sevilla and their manager.

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