Juventus, one of five Italian team’s left in the three UEFA club competitions, will play Europa League experts Sevilla over two legs beginning on Thursday night in Turin.
Juve, unlike their opponents, has never won the competition, but they are determined to salvage some silverware from a season marred by controversy and will look for a lead to take to Spain the following week.
With a decisive 2-0 victory over Atalanta, Juventus put a stop to their terrible away form from home during the previous month and took a step closer to their return to the UEFA Champions League (UCL) for the upcoming season. But for the time being, they return their attention to Turin, where Sporting CP was defeated 1-0 at home in the quarterfinals of this year’s UEFA Europa League (UEL).
The players, according to manager Max Allegri, are “mentally good” ahead of their home semifinal encounter against UEL winners Sevilla, whom they last faced in the 2016/17 UCL group stage when Allegri was the manager. Juventus enters the match unblemished in this edition (W4, D2) following a string of tight matches averaging fewer than two goals per game, which occurred nine years after their last UEL campaign, in which they were eliminated by Benfica in the semifinals.
Sevilla can concentrate their energies on their 50th match in the UEL’s elimination round after almost probably achieving La Liga safety under new manager José Luis Mendilibar, as they are unlikely to rocket into European qualifying or slip into the relegation zone. Even he found the Sevilla team’s 5-2 overall quarterfinal victory over Manchester United to be “surprising” as the 62 yearsold made his UEL coaching debut.
Juventus was deemed by Mendilibar to be “stronger” and “more challenging” than the English powerhouses, but he will be confident that his club is up to the task following five victories in their previous six competitive games (L1). Given that they have lost four of their previous six knockout round away legs (in two leg matches) played at venues against them and that Juventus has never lost a UEL home game (W7, D7), an away victory would be asking a little too much.
Duan Vlahovi is finally back in form after netting Juve’s second goal in each of their most recent competitive games. He will be trying to repeat his three consecutive scoring performances for club or country between September and October 2022. Papu Gómez, a Sevilla winger, has faced Juventus more often than any other player from a different team (23 times), although he has only ever experienced victory once (D8, L14), and he has only scored once, in the 2010/11 season.
While most of Juventus’ key players have returned from injury layoffs, Mattia De Sciglio had reconstructive surgery on his right knee as a result of an injury against Lecce. Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa, for example, are both available but not in peak condition.
However, Leandro Paredes is back after serving his Serie A suspension, so Max Allegri should have a full roster to pick from on Thursday.
As usual, the Tuscan strategist is difficult to pin down when it comes to player selection and formation, but Angel Di Maria has been outstanding for Juventus during their Europa League run and should start in front of either Arkadiusz Milik or Dusan Vlahovic.
As a result of fitness issues, Sevilla was able to add Lucas Ocampos, Fernando, and Erik Lamela in their traveling party for the journey to Turin.
However, due to injuries, Tanguy Nianzou and Suso are unable to play in Seville next week. Both hope to be fully recovered by then. Due to the latter’s absence, Ivan Rakitic, an experienced midfielder, may move up to an advanced position, or Ocampos may make a comeback.
Marko Dmitrovic, with whom Jose Luis Mendilibar previously worked at Eibar, has often been chosen as his La Liga goalkeeper, but Yassine Bounou, a Moroccan World Cup hero, is expected to start in Europe.
Juventus possible starting lineup
Szczesny, Danilo, Bremer, Sandro, Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic, Di Maria and Vlahovic.
Sevilla possible starting lineup
Bounou, Navas, Bade, Gudelj, Acuna, Gueye, Rakitic, Ocampos, Torres, Gil and En-Nesyri.
We predic: Juventus 0–1 Sevilla
With a first leg advantage and a sense of confidence from their previous successes, Sevilla may grab the lead in this semifinal match up. Although, Juventus prioritizes safety, they occasionally get caught off guard and have trouble responding.