Juve desperate for win against Nordsjaelland
Published : 07 Nov 2012 02:18:49
Serie A champions Juventus said they are ready to bounce back from their biggest setback of the season so far when they host Danish champions Nordsjaelland in a crucial fixture for their Champions League hopes Wednesday.
Juve's impressive unbeaten streak was ended by a classy Inter Milan side in Turin last weekend, the result a stark reminder that defending their 2012 title will not be so easy this season.
For Juve, however, it may have come at the right time. After three games in Group E, the Old Lady of Turin is in desperate need of a first win having salvaged a 1-1 draw in Denmark two weeks ago.
"We had an incredible run, 49 matches unbeaten is an extraordinary sequence," Juve president Beppe Marotta told juventus.com.
"We're already back working in preparation for Wednesday's game against Nordsjaelland and before getting back to league action. We're looking forward."
Two weeks ago Juve travelled to Nordsjaelland as favourites, however a 50th minute opener from Mikkel Beckmann gave the Danes the lead and forced Juve to rely on a Mirko Vucinic equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.
Montenegrin international striker Vucinic, one of the first names on Juve's teamsheet this season, is a doubt for Wednesday having suffered a knock to his calf which forced him off at half-time against Inter.
If absent, his place could be taken by either Fabio Quagliarella, Nicklas Bendtner or Alessandro Matri. Quagliarella came off the bench to score a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea while Bendtner has yet to score having enjoyed few playing opportunities.
Whoever assistant Juve coach Angelo Alessio, standing in for the suspended Antonio Conte, chooses to replace Vucinic, the directive will be the same: the need for goals.
Juventus's third draw two weeks ago means they approach Wednesday's fixture only third in the group, one point behind Chelsea (four points) and four behind Shakhtar Donetsk.
Another draw or a defeat on Wednesday would be disastrous: Chelsea visit Turin in a fortnight and Juventus end their group campaign with a tricky trip away to Shakhtar on December 5.
It only remains to be seen whether the disappointment of Sunday's 3-1 humbling, when a Diego Milito brace and late third goal from Rodrigo Palacio trumped Arturo Vidal's first-minute opener, has been fully digested by Juve's players.
Claudio Marchisio, who spurned two chances early in the game to extend Juve's lead, says it's time to forget the setback and refocus for the task at hand.
"We're disappointed not to have kept our unbeaten streak going, but it shouldn't take anything away from what this team is and what we can achieve," said Marchisio.
"Now we have to refocus for the Champions League Wednesday and what is now a decisive challenge. We want to make amends."