Time for Juventus to earn their European stripes
Coach Antonio Conte has called on Juventus to make amends for their roller-coaster Champions League campaign by claiming the point against Galatasaray on Tuesday that would secure their place in the last 16.sports Updated: Dec 10, 2013 00:45 IST
Coach Antonio Conte has called on Juventus to make amends for their roller-coaster Champions League campaign by claiming the point against Galatasaray on Tuesday that would secure their place in the last 16.
Juventus relaunched what has been a poor Group B campaign with a 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen to move up to second, seven points behind already qualified Real Madrid.
Although Conte said afterwards Juve would be play for a win in Istanbul, a draw would be enough for the Old Lady to qualify for the knockout phase for the second successive season.
Speaking after a 2-0 win away to Bologna on Friday, Juve's seventh consecutive Serie A win without conceding a goal, Conte said it was time to put words into action.
"There's no point in big speeches ahead of Galatasaray. We made qualification more difficult for ourselves, so it's up to us to make amends on Tuesday," said the Italian.
Juventus were due to leave for Turkey early on Sunday evening, but without midfielder Andrea Pirlo who will be sidelined until after Christmas after suffering knee ligament damage last week.
Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, believes Pirlo won't be missed too much.
"Pirlo is certainly a crucial player, but Juve can still count on Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba. Their midfield is still solid," Mancini said.
Having steered Galatasaray to a 2-2 draw in Turin, only a day after taking over the club, Mancini has since seen the Turks beat Copenhagen 3-1, lose 1-0 away to the Danes and then succumb to a 4-1 rout at Real.
"On Tuesday we have to go out aware that we have a chance," he added. "My biggest worry is that Juve can be happy with a draw and still qualify."
Manchester City face an uphill task to break Bayern Munich's record winning streak in the Champions League in Tuesday's battle for top spot in Group D.
Bayern are on record runs in both the Bundesliga and Champions League and their 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago was their tenth straight victory in Europe, breaking Barcelona's record.
Bayern have turned the Allianz Arena into something of a fortress of late, winning all 18 home matches ince their last defeat in Munich last March at the hands of Arsenal.
City have already pulled off a landmark achievement by reaching the Champions League's knockouts, at the third attempt, with a 4-2 home win over Viktoria Plzen.