21.11.2016 11:00 - in: Champions League S

    #SFCJuve: Two teams meet two months later

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    Twenty-five matches, forty-eight goals scored, fifty-seven points gained. A lot can happen in sixty-nine days! Juventus.com sums up Sevilla and the Bianconeri’s form since they last met on 14 September

    Since returning to Spain after September’s draw at Juventus Stadium, Sevilla have picked up 17 out of a possible 27 points in La Liga – a string of results that sees them sitting pretty in third place after 12 league matches, only two points off Barcelona and six behind league leaders Real Madrid. 

    Arguably their most impressive victory was that against Atletico Madrid on 23 October, a result which has helped them to tighten their grip on the Champions League qualification spots while pushing their rival outside of the top four for the time being. Atletico are currently down in fifth. 

    The 1-0 scoreline achieved that day was one of only three clean sheets Sevilla have managed in La Liga this term along with a 0-0 away to Villarreal in late August and another 1-0 triumph over inter-city rivals Real Betis on 20 September.

    More often than not, Jorge Sampaoli’s men have needed to score more than once in order to take maximum points, as the wins over Deportivo Alaves (2-1) and Leganes (2-3) in October as well as yesterday’s dramatic comeback victory over Deportivo La Coruna (2-3) clearly show, not to mention the 6-4 scoreline against Espanyol on the opening day of the season.

    Notoriously tough to confront on their home patch, the Rojiblancos had won all of their matches at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan until Barcelona came from behind to secure all three points (1-2) on 6 November.

    Sevilla supporters will have been equally satisfied by their side’s impressive form in the Champions League. Three victories and a draw from their first four group games have seen the Spaniards occupy top spot, two points above the Bianconeri, and a fourth victory on Tuesday would enable them to qualify as Group H winners.

    Sevilla’s scoring threat is very much spread across the park with a number of players chipping in with key contributions. Strikers Luciano Vietto and Wissam Ben Yedder currently lead their scoring charts with five goals apiece in all competitions, but midfielders Pablo Sarabia, Samir Nasri, Franco Vazquez and Steven N’Zonzi have each scored three, while tricky winger Vitolo has two goals to his name so far.

    The last two months or so have seen Juventus assert themselves as the undisputed Serie A pace-setters. Twenty-four points from a possible 30 in that timeframe, added to the nine collected beforehand mean that the Bianconeri are currently seven points clear of second-placed Roma

    The wins have largely been convincing ones too, not least against Cagliari (4-0), Empoli (0-3), Sampdoria (4-1) and Pescara (3-0), with Massimiliano Allegri’s men boasting the best goal difference in the division (+19). They can also lay claim to the strongest defence (nine goals conceded) and the second most potent attack (28 goals scored, two behind Roma).

    A key factor in the latter statistic has been the form of summer signing Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine forward, who’d already hit three in as many games before facing Sevilla in September, has added a further six since then in all competitions, including a deadly brace against Empoli as well as fine strikes against Dinamo Zagreb, Cagliari, former employers Napoli and Lyon.

    Fellow striker Mario Mandzukic has also been filling his boots of late, netting three and providing an assist in his last four league appearances. Before picking up an injury exactly one month ago, Paulo Dybala too had managed a trio of Serie A strikes plus a wonder goal against Zagreb.

    Meanwhile in midfield, Miralem Pjanic, who’d already scored against Sassuolo in early September, has had a hand in seven Juve strikes since facing Sevilla: three goals of his own (against Dinamo Zagreb, Sampdoria and Chievo) and four assists.

    Like Sevilla, the Bianconeri remain unbeaten in the Champions League this term courtesy of away wins in Zagreb and Lyon before a 1-1 draw at home to Les Gones three weeks ago.

    Juventus enter tonight’s match knowing that a draw in southern Spain would confirm their place in the last 16, while a victory would put them back in the driving seat to qualify as Group H winners.

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