Real Madrid could push Juventus closer to Champions League exit
After recent events, Juventus suddenly find themselves fighting for survival
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti (above) can push his former club Juventus and disciple Antonio Conte closer to the Champions League exit door if they win in Turin tonight. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters
The two teams, who have won the competition 11 times between them, were both expected to comfortably progress from Group B and tonight’s match was seen initially seen as little more than some early sparring for the knockout rounds.
But, after drawing with Galatasaray and Copenhagen and then losing 2-1 in Madrid two weeks ago, Juventus suddenly find themselves fighting for survival.
Ancelotti is unlikely to admit it but he may gain some grim satisfaction if he can help eliminate his former club.
He had two difficult years at Juventus early in his coaching career, where despite twice leading them to second place in Series A he was sacked on the last day of the 2000-’01 season.
Conte, who has led Juventus to two successive Serie A titles, was his swashbuckling captain at the time and has since gone on to become of Europe’s top coaches although he has sometimes shown exasperation at his club’s lack of financial clout.
A win for Real, whose only previous away win against Juventus was 51 years ago, would send them into the last 16 with two matches to spare and leave third-placed Juve with only two points from four games.
Should Galatasaray win away to FC Copenhagen in tonight’s other Group B game, Juventus would find themselves five points behind the Turkish champions with a trip to Istanbul still to come.
Juventus have failed to win their last five Champions League ties, a run which started when they lost both legs of their quarter-final to Bayern Munich last season.-