Juventus
    Juventus
      20.05.2017 18:00 - in: Serie A S

      Juve vs Crotone: Match Preview

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      Juventus bid for the Serie A title; Crotone fight for Serie A survival: everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s showdown at the Stadium

      TWO TEAMS. TWO AIMS.

      A win for Juventus and they win the league for an unprecedented sixth season in a row.

      A win for Crotone and they boost their hopes of staving off relegation from Italy’s top tier.

      A draw threatens to leave both teams unsure of their destinies until their final Serie A fixtures the following weekend. 

      This ‘make or break’ situation is what makes Sunday’s match at Juventus Stadium so intriguing.

      Having missed out on the opportunity to wrap up the Scudetto title last weekend in Rome, the Bianconeri will be eager to put domestic matters beyond all doubt a fortnight before their Champions League final against Real Madrid.

      To seal the Serie A title in front of their own fans just days after celebrating a record 12th Coppa Italia would appear too good an opportunity to turn down.

      Juventus won their first trophy of the season, the Coppa Italia, on Wednesday.

      Crotone, meanwhile, will have other ideas: The Calabrian outfit have picked up five wins and two draws in their last seven matches to give themselves a fighting chance of survival. 

      The form team of Italy’s top tier since the start of April, the Rossoblù now sit just one point below 17th-placed Empoli and two points off 16th-placed Genoa. Should they overtake either of these two sides by next Sunday, they will have pulled off one of the greatest escapes in Serie A history. 

      After all, Davide Nicola’s men only had 14 points at the end of March. They’ve more than doubled that tally in just a month and a half. Whether their charge towards safety started too late, only time will tell.

      Crotone have picked up 10 points from their last four away games.

      HISTORY FAVOURS THE HOSTS

      Played three, won three, scored 10, conceded zero. Juventus’ overall record against Crotone certainly bodes well for the Bianconeri. 

      This will actually be the first Serie A match played between the teams in Turin. The last time the Rossoblù made the trip north (in February 2007), both sides were in the second division. Alessandro Del Piero’s hat-trick helped the hosts to a thumping 5-0 win on the day.

      Fast-forward a decade, Massimiliano Allegri’s men triumphed 2-0 at the Stadio Ezio Scida thanks to second-half strikes by Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

      On a more general note, Juve have fared very well against Calabrian opposition, winning 23 out of 31 fixtures against teams from the region.

      The most famous of all is of course the away victory at Catanzaro on the final day of the 1981/82 season. Entering the match level on points with Fiorentina, the Bianconeri eventually secured their 20th Scudetto title thanks to Liam Brady’s late penalty.

      Thirty-five years later, Juve will lock horns with opponents from Calabria in the search of Scudetto no. 35.

      THE MAIN MEN 

      As Juve approach the end of the season, a number of players can look back on extremely positive campaigns.

      In recent weeks, Juve’s Brazilian full-backs Dani Alves and Alex Sandro have especially caught the eye. Big goals for the former and assists aplenty from the latter have made them indispensable members of the Bianconeri’s star-studded squad. 

      Could this be the match that Gonzalo Higuain breaks Omar Sivori’s record for the number of league goals in a single season (25)? Pipita sits on 24 strikes right now (32 in all competitions). A phenomenal first campaign in black and white has seen the Argentine voted player of the year by the fans – an award he’ll collect before kick-off.

      Diego Falcinelli
      Marcello Trotta

      Crotone’s main man up front, meanwhile, is unmistakeably Diego Falcinelli. The forward leads his side’s scoring charts with 12 goals and has found the net twice in his last three away games.

      Falcinelli’s strike partner Marcello Trotta has also hit form at a crucial time. The former Brentford, Avellino and Sassuolo player has had a hand in four of the Rossoblù’s last five goals, netting himself once and providing three assists.

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