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Gianluigi Buffon, Miralem Pjanic doubtful for Juventus in Champions League tie

Juventus -- runners-up twice at UEFA Champions League in the last three seasons -- head to Athens needing a win against Olympiakos to ensure their passage to the knockout phase.

football Updated: Dec 05, 2017 12:58 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Gianluigi Buffon,Miralem Pjanic,UEFA Champions league
Gianluigi Buffon may not play for Juventus against Olympiakos in an UEFA Champions League group D match.(Getty Images)

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri revealed captain Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Miralem Pjanic were both in doubt for Tuesday night’s crunch Champions League game against Olympiakos.

Juventus -- runners-up twice in the last three seasons -- head to Athens needing a win to ensure their passage to the knockout phase.

But Gonzalo Higuain will play after scoring the winner against Napoli at the weekend despite a broken hand.

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“Higuain will be on the pitch tomorrow, because he is doing well both physically and mentally,” said Allegri.

“Tomorrow could be decisive. We are still evaluating Buffon and Pjanic, who is suffering from a muscle strain.”

A draw or even defeat would be sufficient for the six-time defending Serie A champions unless Sporting Lisbon beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

“We can’t afford to wait and see what Barcelona’s result will be,” continued Allegri.

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“Either we win or we run the risk of exiting the Champions League. Tomorrow (Tuesday), our approach must be spot on. We have to be patient and take our chances to win the game.”

“With (Giorgio) Chiellini out, either (Daniele) Rugani or (Mattia) De Sciglio will play. (Mario) Mandzukic will be available as well.”

Allegri added that it would be an important test for Argentina striker Paulo Dybala “to return to his highest level” and score his first Champions League goal this season to add to his 12 in Serie A.

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Centre-back Andrea Barzagli added: “It would be unthinkable for us not to qualify. Tomorrow’s match is essential for us, qualifying for the knockout round is our first objective of the season.

“We understand the importance of the game and we know that it is not going to be easy for us -- the first match against Olympiakos at home was complicated and now we are playing in their stadium.

“We have to be focused and careful tomorrow because it is a complicated game.”

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 09:52 IST