Juventus vs Sporting CP: Match preview
Juventus will be aiming to pick up their second consecutive Champions League win when they play Sporting CP on Wednesday night.
The Bianconeri were made to wait against Olympiacos, as it wasn’t until the introduction of Gonzalo Higuain that Juve could find a breakthrough against the Greek champions, with Pipita opening the scoring in the 69th minute. Mario Mandzukic made the result safe with a header at the far post 10 minutes from time, to hand the Old Lady a 2-0 win.
Sporting CP, however were beaten 1-0 at home by Barcelona, from an own goal by Sebastian Coates, their only defeat this season in all competitions.
They opened their first Champions League game by beating Olympiacos 3-2 away. Goals in the first half from Seydou Doumbia, Gelson Martins, and Bruno Fernandes gave the Portuguese outfit a commanding 3-0 half-time lead. However, Olympiacos rallied and scored twice in the last few minutes to make it an interesting finish, but Sporting held on to record their first Champions League away win in the competition proper, since December 2008.
OPPOSITION FOCUS: SPORTING CP
Sporting CP qualified for this year’s Champions League after overcoming Steaua Bucurest in the final play-off qualifier 5-1 on aggregate, this coming after they finished 3rd in the Primeira Liga last season.
The Lisbon side are coached by former Benfica manager, Jorge Jesus who was in charge when they faced Juventus in the Europa League, three years ago.
Sporting CP possess a number of well-known, key players such as Portuguese internationals, Rui Patricio, Fabio Coentrao, William Carvalho and Gelson Martins.
The Leoes have also acquired some faces from Serie A. Bruno Fernandes played for Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria before making the switch to Sporting and Seydou Doumbia is on a season-long loan from Roma. They have an Italian in their ranks in right-back, Cristiano Piccini who was on the books of Fiorentina, before heading permanently to Real Betis and then onto Sporting.
Macedonian defender, Stefan Ristovski, was recently in action in Turin for his country as they held Italy to a 1-1 draw at Torino’s Stadio Olimpico in World Cup qualifying, having also previously played in Italy.
This will be the first official match between Juventus and Sporting CP who have only ever faced each other four times in pre-season friendlies. The most recent in 2011 in Toronto, Juve going down to a 2-1 defeat, with Alessandro Del Piero netting for the Bianconeri.
#JUVESCP MATCH STATS
- Juventus’ record against Portuguese clubs currently stands at seven wins, two draws and four defeats.
- Sporting CP have never previously won in Italy.
- Juve are now 24 games unbeaten at home in UEFA competition and 20 games in the Champions League.
- The last time the Bianconeri faced Portuguese opposition was against Porto last season where they triumphed 3-0 on aggregate, beating Porto away from home 2-0 and 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium.
- None of Sporting’s last 13 Champions League matches have ended in a draw.
- Mario Mandzukic has scored in his last three Champions League games.
- Sporting CP have received more cards (9) and committed more fouls (36) than any other team so far in the Champions League.
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