TURIN (Sporting Alert) — Juventus coach Antonio Conte enters Tuesday night’s Champions League Group B clash with Real Madrid at Juventus Stadium, mindful of the visitors’ “extraordinary, devastating front line.”
Juventus v Real Madrid
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UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid heads into the game already scoring 12 goals from their opening three group matches, including six against Galatasaray in the opening fixture and Conte believes his side must stop them from getting into their rhythm.
“I would call them devastating, especially if they are allowed to play the game they prefer,” Conte said.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, (Gareth) Bale, (Karim) Benzema, (Angel) Di Maria, to say but a few, are extraordinary, fantastic when they have the field in front of them and room to exploit, so we’ve got to be careful and do what we did in Madrid.
“We have to try to avoid the mistakes we made there, and try to hurt them, but we know we’re up against an extraordinarily strong attack.”
Real Madrid defeated Juventus 2-1 when they met earlier in the group and the Italian champions are hoping to return the favors on their turf.
Conte expects a classic in Turin.
“It’s an incredibly hard game against one of the top candidates to win the Champions League,” he said. “Juventus v Real Madrid is a classic, a very intriguing game.
“We need our fans both in the positive and not so positive moments because we’re up against a strong team and there will be times when we’re going to be up against it.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti echoed that his team’s free scoring makes them very dangerous, admitting that they are not out to do the Old Lady any favors.
“Everybody in the world knows how important the defensive work is, but we’ve scored 42 goals in 15 games, with an average of three goals a game,” Ancelotti said. “I think the three attackers I have are very interesting.”
He added: “It’s going to be an interesting game. Juve have more difficulties than us in the group – this is a chance for us to seal qualification and the sooner you get that, the better.”
In team news, for Juventus, defender Giorgio Chiellini is out suspended after he was sent off in the last fixture in Madrid, while Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mirko Vucinic are both still sidelined with thigh injuries. Carlos Tevez will again be partnered by Fernando Llorente in the home side’s attacking line.
For Real Madrid, Raphaël Varane has been confirmed as a starter, with either Pepe or Sergio Ramos partnering him at center-back. Full-back Fábio Coentrao is also out after suffering a left ankle sprain over the weekend.