Recent form gives Juve hope ahead of Real clash

04 November 2013 01:47

Three consecutive wins and as many clean sheets in Serie A have given Juventus renewed confidence ahead of a must-win Champions League clash at home to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

However Juve coach Antonio Conte has called on fans to give the Serie A champions an extra boost by offering Carlo Ancelotti's Spanish giants a red-hot welcome to Turin.

"I hope the stadium will be a fiery cauldron on Tuesday night. The fans can help push us to victory," Conte told JTV.

Given their lack of wins so far, Juve could certainly do with a boost.

Ousted from last year's quarter-finals by eventual winners Bayern Munich, the Italians appeared down and out of this season's competition following a 2-1 defeat to nine-time European champions Real three weeks ago.

That defeat, courtesy of a double from Portuguese striker Ronaldo, came in the wake of a confidence-sapping league reverse away to Fiorentina, who scored four second-half goals to stun the champions 4-2.

Undoubtedly helped by the fact defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off in somewhat harsh fashion shortly after the restart, the fact remains Juventus, with only two points from three games and trailing Galatasaray by two ahead of their visit to FC Copenhagen, are in dire need of a win.

Conte admitted after the defeat, and having taken stock of Galatasaray's home win against Copenhagen, it would now "be difficult" to finish among the top two.

Nothing has changed in that respect.

But three consecutive Serie A wins against Genoa, Catania and Parma -- during which goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has kept a clean sheet -- has boosted Juve's resolve.

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio believes Juve, given Chiellini's expulsion, gave a good account of themselves at the Santiago Bernabeu.

And while he underlined the threat of Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, he believes improvements to Juve's defensive play could be decisive.

"Chiellini's sending off changed the game, but even when down to ten (men) we played an excellent game in terms of our attention and chances created," said Marchisio.

"We have to do the same again on Tuesday but also look out for their threat on the counter-attack through the likes of Di Maria, Ronaldo and (Gareth) Bale, who all break with extreme pace.

"Real have plenty of strong players up front who sometimes help out less in defensive areas, so that puts their backline under pressure.

"We defended well in Spain, enjoyed possession and caused them problems.

"Plus, in Turin, we'll be able to count on the support of our fans, who will create a red-hot atmosphere."

Real, who were scolded by Ancelotti on Saturday for allowing Rayo Vallecano to score two second-half goals after Ronaldo (two) and Karim Benzema had given his side a 3-0 lead, need only a point in Turin to secure their place in the last 16.

The Spaniards will almost certainly have to do without left-back Fabio Coentrao after he limped off with an ankle injury before half-time.

Xabi Alonso is also a doubt after he came off at the break on his first start of the season after groin and foot injuries.

Source: AFP