Juventus will host Sporting CP for their Europa League quarter-finals after the two teams entered this stage in contrasting styles.
In what has been a difficult season for Juventus, who face Sporting CP next, and their fans. But they can still make it a success with the UEFA Europa League trophy. The continental title remains the only realistic opportunity to gain something relevant and bring optimism to the Allianz Stadium ahead of the summer.
Juventus got here in a rather comfortable manner, beating SC Freiburg in their Round of 16 clashes. The Bianconeri came to the second leg of the tie with a slender lead from the first one but put the Germans to the sword and easily collected a win.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) April 11, 2023
Their domestic fortunes have taken a hit recently, including that chaotic draw against Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg. After that, Lazio thoroughly beat them, thus defeating their slim hopes of a top-four finish.
Unlike Juventus, Sporting CP had to fight hard to get to the quarter-finals. After an entertaining draw against Arsenal in the first leg in Lisbon, Ruben Amorim’s side turned up the head in the second half of the second leg with a tremendous equaliser from Pedro Goncalves, taking the clash to penalties and eventually winning it.
Nobody envisaged Sporting beating Arsenal considering the Premier League leaders’ form. However, they now have the chance to salvage their season with consistent performances in the Europa League, but now face another European giant in Juventus.
Even if they beat Juventus, that giant-playing experiment will not end there. Sporting could potentially face Manchester United if they beat Sevilla in their two-legged quarterfinals.
Team News & Tactics
There is some positive news for Massimiliano Allegri with injuries, as he could welcome Moise Kean and Mattia De Sciglio back to the squad. Juventus will continue to miss the services of Paul Pogba once again, who remains sidelined with another problem. The Frenchman was yet spotted in training, but his presence remains doubtful.
#UEL 🔜 pic.twitter.com/oKYhhUDAJ3
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) April 12, 2023
Meanwhile, Leandro Paredes has no place after his sub-par campaign and bust-up with Allegri. The Argentine may not play again for the Bianconeri this season and beyond. There are doubts about Dusan Vlahovic’s participation, meaning Arkadiusz Milik will lead the attack.
Allegri could name an unchanged lineup that lost to Lazio at the weekend, which did have some good moments in the game. Gleison Bremer, Federico Garri and Alex Sandro will take up the back three roles, with Manuel Locatelli sitting at the base of midfield.
Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic could take the wing-back roles, while Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli are in fluid midfield roles. With Milik leading the attacking front two, Angel Di Maria could play behind the pole or alongside him.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Sandro; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Milik
Amorim will rue his side’s luck with suspensions, especially that of key midfielder Manuel Ugarte. The Portuguese had only returned from a ban against Arsenal in the second leg, only to get sent off late in that clash. He will now miss the current clash.
Getting ready for @EuropaLeague 🔛 #UEL pic.twitter.com/dg1wjFT9CE
— Sporting CP English (@SportingCP_en) April 11, 2023
Meanwhile, Daniel Braganca, Paulinho and Jovane Cabral are out of the contest, while Hector Bellerin continues to nurse an injury. The latter could return to the matchday squad against Juventus.
Amorim will set his side somewhat like their opponents with a back three. The impressive Ousmane Diamonde will marshall the back three with Jeremiah Juste and Goncalo Inacio on either side. Ricardo Esgaio and Matheus Reis are expected to hold the width for Sporting.
Pote and Hidemasa Morita will keep their places in central midfield in support of a fluid front three comprising Marcus Edwards, Trincao and Youssef Chermiti leading the line.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Adan; Juste, Diamonde, Inacio; Esgaio, Pote, Morita, Reis; Trincao, Edwards; Chermiti
- Juventus have conceded only once in four Europa League games this season.
- Juventus have lost only three games all season, with two coming in the Champions League.
- Sporting are unbeaten in their last eleven games in all competitions.
- Sporting have not lost a game since mid-February when Porto defeated them.
- Sporting have lost only one of their last six away European games.
Player to Watch
Against Arsenal, the visible difference for Sporting in both legs was the presence of Manuel Ugarte, who will miss the Juventus trip. Hence, with the influential Uruguayan out, the onus is on Locatelli to make his mark and snatch control of this clash.
The midfield battle in this game will prove crucial to determining who takes advantage in the next leg. As for Juventus, they might have the in-demand Italian international to control the tempo, and on home soil, he has been tremendous this season. Hence, Locatelli will prove crucial to Juventus’s chances.
Juventus 1-0 Sporting CP
Sporting CP have been in tremendous form in European competition despite their elimination from the UEFA Champions League. After beating Arsenal in the previous rounds, they will come to Turin in optimistic form. But Massimiliano Allegri’s men will offer a different test than Mikel Arteta did.
Juventus are unlikely to open their doors for Sporting to snatch anything in Turin, with Allegri focusing on shutting out the opponents first and foremost. Their recent clinical run will ensure the Bianconeri will take some advantage into the next leg, which could see them score a single goal in this clash.
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