Depleted Juventus set to reshuffle for City visit
MILAN: Juventus are preparing to do without Sami Khedira, Patrice Evra and Hernanes when they host Manchester City tomorrow looking to clinch their place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Serie A champions Juventus claimed a third consecutive win in Italy’s top flight for the first time this season with a 1-0 win over AC Milan in Turin on Saturday.
But the victory came at a price, France international Evra hobbling off with an ankle injury and Brazil midfielder Hernanes-who is already suspended for Wednesday-suffering a thigh “muscle problem”, according to the club.
Khedira did not even make Massimiliano Allegri’s matchday squad after a scar from a recent thigh injury flared up while he was on international duty with Germany.
Reports say Khedira will “train apart” from the rest of the squad this week and is definitely sidelined for the visit of Group D leaders City, who qualified for the last 16 with a 3-1 win away to Sevilla last time out.
Evra, meanwhile, is set for fitness tests on Monday and Tuesday on his left ankle. Alex Sandro is the logical replacement, but the Brazilian has been used sparingly so far and Allegri may opt to tinker with his formation instead.
Also missing through injury is Roberto Pereyra, Kwadwo Asamoah and Simone Padoin, while Uruguayan midfielder Martin Caceres is also set for a late fitness test on a right thigh problem.
The absences should see on-loan Chelsea forward Juan Cuadrado start for the Bianconeri, while Allegri has yet to decide whether Paulo Dybala-who hit Juve’s winner on Saturday-or Mario Mandzukic will partner Alvaro Morata up front.
Morata was the hero earlier this season when Juventus eclipsed their poor league form to stun City 2-1 at the City of Manchester stadium and will again be looking to put Manuel Pellegrini’s men to the sword.
Morata equalled a club record, set by former Juve great Alessandro Del Piero, when he scored for the fifth time consecutively in a Champions League game during Juve’s 2-0 win over Sevilla last month-narowly missing on making the record his own when he then missed a great chance in a scoreless draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Juventus will qualify for the knockout phase with a win, or with any result if Sevilla do not beat Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.
City, stunned 4-1 at home by Liverpool at the weekend, will clinch first place in the group with victory in Turin. — AFP