On the back of an abysmal VAR incident that wrongly chalked off Juventus‘ winning goal at the weekend, Massimiliano Allegri’s side welcomes Benfica in their second match of the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 campaign.
Unlike Juve, Benfica had a winning start to the European season as they secured a 2-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa. While Juventus have failed to cope with the overwhelming expectations of the fans in the new season so far, the men, led by Roger Schmidt, have not lost a game of football since the start of the campaign.
Benfica’s winning streak could be baffling for Juve enthusiasts. But given that the game will be played in Turin, this appears to be a must-win affair for the Bianconeri, especially after their defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on the opening matchday of the Champions League.
Results in the last five matches across all competitions:
Juventus are missing a number of first-team players, including Federico Chiesa, Wojciech Szczesny, Adrien Rabiot, Alex Sandro, Manuel Locatelli, and Paul Pogba. As confirmed by Allegri, Ángel Di María has made the recovery from his injury. However, it is unlikely that he will start the game against Juve’s Portuguese counterparts on Wednesday evening.
Benfica’s treatment table doesn’t look as miserable as that of Juventus. Their only absentees remain Lucas Veríssimo, João Victor, and Morato.
Juventus (3-5-2): Perin; Bremer, Bonucci, Danilo; Cuadrado, McKennie, Paredes, Miretti, Kostic; Milik, Vlahovic.
Benfica (4-2-3-1): Vlachodimos; Gilberto, António Silva, Otamendi, Grimaldo; Florentino, Enzo Fernández; João Mário, Rafa Silva, Neres; Goncalo Ramos.
Allegri’s men will be seething with a sense of vengeance after what happened to them against Salernitana, and they will look to prove their doubters wrong with a high-octane performance on Wednesday evening. However, Schmidt’s men are not anonymous to these oppositions. They have been there and done that, overall making it a fascinating encounter between two teams looking for nothing but results.
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder