Juve de­pleted, look­ing for sec­ond City scalp

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MILAN: De­pleted Ju­ven­tus host Manch­ester City to­day look­ing for the win that would se­cure their pas­sage to the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League.

City’s 3-1 win away to Sevilla last time out left Manuel Pel­le­grini’s men top of Group D on nine points and, with Ju­ven­tus one point be­hind in sec­ond, they will clinch top spot with a win in Turin.

But look­ing at City’s re­cent form, Ju­ven­tus have rea­son to be­lieve they can claim their sec­ond suc­ces­sive win over the Cit­i­zens, hav­ing stunned Pel­le­grini’s men 2-1 in Septem­ber when Al­varo Mo­rata hit an 81st minute win­ner at the Eti­had, and claim top spot ahead of their fi­nal game away to Sevilla. City are al­ready qual­i­fied but travel to Italy reel­ing from a hu­mil­i­at­ing 4-1 home de­feat to Liver­pool at the week­end that left them two points be­hind sur­prise Premier League lead­ers Le­ices­ter City.

The re­verse came in the ab­sence of City cen­tre-back and cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany, as well as for­wards Wil­fried Bony, David Silva and Samir Nasri-all of whom are still side­lined through in­jury.

Pel­le­grini said his side’s per­for­mance was “not nor­mal”, adding: “It’s very im­por­tant to turn the page as soon as we can. We have an im­por­tant game to­day.”

With Paulo Dy­bala hit­ting a sec­ond-half win­ner to clinch a 1-0 home win over AC Milan on Satur­day, Ju­ven­tus claimed a third con­sec­u­tive win in Serie A for the first time this sea­son.

But coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri’s tac­ti­cal op­tions are lim­ited, with Sami Khedira join­ing sev­eral other mid­field­ers on the treat­ment ta­ble while France left-back Pa­trice Evra is set for a fit­ness test on Tues­day af­ter suf­fer­ing a left an­kle prob­lem.

Cen­tre-back Gior­gio Chiellini be­lieves Juve’s task won’t be made any eas­ier by the fact City will be look­ing for re­venge.

“I would have pre­ferred to come up against a more re­laxed and se­cure Manch­ester,” Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia on Mon­day. “Against teams with top play­ers it’s some­times eas­ier to make the most of your chances if their play­ers are a lit­tle more re­laxed. “But I ex­pect them to be cau­tious, and su­per-mo­ti­vated for re­venge. We need to go out and pro­duce a great per­for­mance if we are to stamp our ticket for the last 16.”

Sagna de­flated

An in­quest by City’s play­ers in the wake of their de­feat to Liver­pool left City’s French right-back Bacary Sagna ad­mit­ting the events of last week’s terror at­tacks in Paris had phys­i­cally drained him. “It was not easy to be part of that event (in Paris). Mentally I was ready to play. Phys­i­cally I be­lieved I was. But I wasn’t. I tired quite quickly,” said Sagna.

Evra, who along­side Juve team­mate Paul Pogba was play­ing for France against Ger­many when three ex­plo­sions were heard out­side the Stade de France 10 days ago, lasted less than half an hour at the week­end be­fore hob­bling off. Yet ar­guably Juve’s big­gest loss among a de­pleted mid­field is Khedira, who has been side­lined af­ter a scar from a re­cent thigh in­jury flared up while he was on in­ter­na­tional duty with Ger­many.

Brazil­ian play­maker Her­nanes was sus­pended for the game be­fore suf­fer­ing a thigh in­jury on Satur­day that has side­lined him for three weeks. Also miss­ing through in­jury is Roberto Pereyra, Kwadwo Asamoah and Si­mone Padoin, while Uruguayan mid­fielder Martin Cac­eres will have a late fit­ness test on a right thigh prob­lem.

On-loan Chelsea for­ward Juan Cuadrado is ex­pected to start for the Bian­coneri, while Al­le­gri has yet to de­cide whether Dy­bala-one of Juve’s few bright lights in an oth­er­wise muted per­for­mance at the week­end-or Mario Mandzu­kic will part­ner Mo­rata up front. —AFP


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