Sporting CP will aim to bounce back and close down the minor deficit from the first-leg clash with Juventus as they seek a semi-final berth.
Ruben Amorim was somewhat pleased with his Sporting CP side’s performance away in Turin against Juventus last week. However, he might have wanted his side to take something from the game, although there is a relief at seeing only a single-goal deficit with Juventus.
Sporting CP had come to Turin at the back of an 11-game unbeaten run which included positive results against Premier League leaders Arsenal, among others. With that streak snapped in two, Amorim will hope to begin another one as his team enters the crucial stage of their season.
Champions League qualification via league standings may seem difficult, considering Sporting could only draw Arouca at the weekend. Pedro Goncalves missed a crucial penalty, and Amorim had to rely on Pote’s late strike to salvage a point. The in-demand manager will have sights on going the distance in the Europa League as they look to overcome Juventus in Lisbon.
Juventus do not come into this game with absolute confidence like their opponents on Thursday. The weekend’s action saw Massimiliano Allegri’s men lose to Sassuolo. Their latest defeat was their second in a row in Serie A after Lazio had beaten them on the matchday.
#UEL 🔜 pic.twitter.com/vp3YNvV53q
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) April 18, 2023
Recent history shows Juventus do not have a good record while playing in Portugal. They have lost their two recent matches, including one to FC Porto and Benfica this season. Hence, there is a chance Allegri will take up a more pragmatic approach to this game and avoid losing here to go through.
For Juventus, winning the Europa League seems imperative to continue playing in the Champions League. In Serie A, hampered by a 15-point deduction earlier this year, they currently sit nine points off fourth-placed Milan. With the number of games remaining, it’s highly unlikely they will finish in the top four.
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Ruben Amorim will have to make do without a few key players. But there are no surprise exclusions before the Juventus clash. Daniel Braganca is a long-term absentee with a cruciate ligament injury. Paulinho and Jovane Cabral are likely to miss out on their respective problems.
Missão @juventusfc 🔛#UEL #SportingCP pic.twitter.com/jxATvEdSJM
— Sporting Clube de Portugal (@Sporting_CP) April 18, 2023
Jeremiah St. Juste came off in the first leg against Juventus and subsequently missed the weekend’s game. His situation could be assessed before the game, although a start may seem unlikely. Ousmane Diamonde should continue at the back alongside Sebastian Coates and Matheus Reis.
Amorim will have key midfielder Manuel Ugarte back from suspension and readily come into his usual midfield slot. Pote will play alongside the Uruguayan midfielder, with Hector Bellerin and Nuno Santos taking their positions as wing-backs.
The attacking lineup could have a familiar look, with Youssef Chermiti likely to lead the line for Sporting CP. He will have Francisco Trincao and Marcus Edwards behind him for support in the attacking third.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Adan; Diamonde, Coates, Reis; Bellerin, Ugarte, Pote, Santos; Trincao, Edwards; Chermiti
Massimiliano Allegri will come into this clash knowing his injury problems are easing up. Kaio Jorge remains the only certain absentee from the side, although there are problems with Mattia De Sciglio and Moise Kean. The latter suffered a muscle problem during Juventus’s loss to Sassuolo. He could go through an assessment before determining his fitness for the Sporting clash.
Carichi verso la prossima sfida 💪
PP/Tek move episodio 3 😂 pic.twitter.com/7VYHSU0F7T
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) April 19, 2023
Juventus have also seen Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa make themselves available for selection after returning to fitness. Alex Sandro also returns after missing the weekend’s clash through suspension.
Allegri will have familiar names in his system, which may see the manager take a somewhat defensive approach for this particular game. Amid a recent problem with Wojciech Szczesny, Mattia Perin might continue keeping in goal. The Pole has yet to get an all-clear from the medical staff.
Gleison Bremer will lead the back three and have first-leg match-winners Federico Gatti and Danilo on either side. Allegri could make a late decision on Alex Sandro, seeing Danilo drop out of the starting eleven.
Manuel Locatelli will sit at the base of midfield, with Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli on either side. Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic are the ideal choices for the wide positions, while Allegri will continue to deploy two upfront. Angel Di Maria will take his place in the attack and have Dusan Vlahovic playing the leading role there.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Perin; Gatti, Bremer, Danilo; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic
- Sporting CP have only one win in their last four games in all competitions.
- Sporting CP have only three victories in their last seven home games in all competitions.
- Juventus also have one win from their last four games across all competitions.
- Juventus have only nine away victories all season, with only two of those coming in the Europa League.
- Juventus have lost on their last two visits to Portugal, including against Benfica earlier this season in the Champions League.
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The impetus might fall on the attackers in this game, but Locatelli is the most important player for Juventus in this clash. The Italian midfielder will have to seize control over the proceedings. Moreover, he will prove key, considering Allegri might take a more pragmatic approach to not lose this clash.
Meanwhile, Sporting CP will welcome key midfielder Manuel Ugarte, which makes the battle more interesting. The Uruguayan was the point of difference for Sporting against Arsenal at the Emirates. Locatelli will remain wary about that and prepare himself for a mammoth midfield battle.
Sporting CP 1-1 Juventus
Juventus are not in the kind of form that guarantees them a win in Portugal. They have lost on their last two visits to this country and may face a similar take ahead of the Sporting CP clash. Massimiliano Allegri could focus on defending the ball more, considering the home side is a major attacking unit at home.
As things stand, the game may have a cagey feeling, like how it transpired in the first leg. Amid the presence of Dusan Vlahovic and Angel Di Maria, the Bianconeri could find a goal from somewhere. Sporting is also equipped to trouble the visitors. The game seems destined for a cagey draw, with Juventus likely to go through on a narrow aggregate scoreline.
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