TURIN, Italy — Juventus star striker Gonzalo Higuain was largely anonymous as his new side was held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Sevilla in their opening group match in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Higuain transferred from rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million) in the offseason after scoring 36 goals last campaign to break a 66-year-old Serie A record. He scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of a 3-1 win over Sassuolo on Saturday.
The Argentina forward was kept quiet by a defensive-minded Sevilla at the Juventus Stadium, although he did go closest to breaking the deadlock shortly before the hour mark when he headed Dani Alves’ cross to the crossbar.
“The team shouldn’t be disappointed, only the result was negative,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “It’s a pity it was 0-0, everyone was expecting it to be 3-0 but in order to win in Europe, you need to be calm.
“The performance was good. There were two games in one: in the first they pressed high up and we struggled to attack, in the second they dropped back, and we tried to open their defense, crossing the ball a lot.”
Higuain almost had a great opportunity with 10 minutes remaining but Sevilla defender Nicolas Pareja managed to get in front of him to clear substitute Miralem Pjanic’s cross out for a corner.
Higuain also fired straight at Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico in the 15th minute when in a good position, moments after teammate Sami Khedira had done the same.
Khedira had missed an earlier chance in the eighth minute when put through by Paulo Dybala, but the Germany forward’s diagonal effort flew past the left upright.
Sevilla substitute Joaquin Correa had a rare sight of goal for the Spanish side in the 66th as he cut in from the right, but his powerful shot flashed wide of Gianluigi Buffon’s goal.
Juventus had a strong penalty appeal waved away in the final minute when Sevilla forward Franco Vazquez appeared to push over Marko Pjaca, while Rico made his first real save moments later to keep out Alex Sandro’s header.
Sevilla, which managed just one shot on target all match, has now not scored at Juventus Stadium in 300 minutes. It drew 0-0 against Benfica in the 2014 Europa League final, before going on to win the first of its three successive titles on penalties, and lost 2-0 to Juventus in last year’s group stage — winning 1-0 at home.
“I think that starting with a draw in Turin against Juventus, with a group that hasn’t known each other long, is certainly a great result,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said.
“We are certainly on the right path, we have to try to improve our ball possession, especially in defense, but the difference everyone thought existed between us and Juve before the match has been proved to be less (than expected).”