Struggling Juventus visits Man City in Champions League

ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 15, 2015 06:27 PM
Struggling Juventus visits Man City in Champions League
Juventusí Paulo Dybala scores during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Chievo Verona at the Juventus Stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)

DANIELLA MATAR
Associated Press

 
MILAN (AP) — Juventus faces a daunting trip to Manchester City on Tuesday as last year's Champions League runner-up looks to Europe to help it forget its domestic woes.

Juventus got off to its worst ever Serie A start as the four-time defending champion lost its first two matches for the first time. It also needed a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw against Chievo Verona on Saturday.

"We're going to Manchester to play to win, as we always do," Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta said. "The job of a coach in a situation like this is to make his players understand that the Champions League has different difficulties to the league.

"We mustn't allow ourselves to rest on our laurels from past achievements, but we need to focus on the present with the future always at the forefront of our thinking. That's the Juve way."

Juventus overhauled its squad in the summer following the departures of top players Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal — all of whom made the 10-man shortlist for the 2014/15 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.

New signings such as Mario Mandzukic are still settling in, although Paulo Dybala has scored twice in his first three Serie A matches for the club.

Juventus was hit by another blow with the news that key midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the trip to England and could be out for a month after injuring his right thigh on his comeback from a similar injury.

Sevilla hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach in the group's other match, with both sides also still seeking a first win of the season.

Here are some things to know about Tuesday's Group D matches:

___

SERGIO AGUERO OUT FOR CITY

With five wins from five games and a stern defense that is yet to concede a goal in the Premier League, Manchester City heads into its opening Champions League game against Juventus in impressive form.

But Saturday's 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace came at a cost.

Sergio Aguero was substituted 25 minutes into the game with a knee injury sustained from a heavy sliding challenge by Palace defender Scott Dann. The extent of the problem is unknown but he will be absent for Tuesday's game.

"Sergio is not fit for tomorrow," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said.

City has been boosted by the returns of Raheem Sterling and David Silva, who both missed the Palace encounter with hamstring and ankle problems respectively.

Wilfried Bony is the only other recognized striker, with Saturday's match-winner Kelechi Iheanacho not included in City's Champions League squad.

Attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, a summer signing from Wolfsburg, could make his first start for his new club.

___

SLUMPING SEVILLA

Sevilla gave Spain a record fifth club in the Champions League after it finished last season with a second straight Europa League title, which earned a berth in the top-tier competition for the first time.

But none of the other four Spanish sides is as in need of a victory as Sevilla is when it hosts Borussia at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Unai Emery's side has yet to win in four competitive matches this campaign, first falling in a 5-4 thriller to Barcelona in the UEFA Super Cup before picking up two draws and a humbling 3-0 loss at home to Atletico Madrid.

Sevilla beat Borussia last season in the Europa League's round of 32, as it won all seven home matches in the competition.

Sevilla will be without injured goalkeeper Antonio "Beto" Bastos and defenders Adil Rami and Daniel Carrico. Emery's main goal, however, will be finding a way new striker Fernando Llorente can click with his teammates up front.

___

BAD TIMING BORUSSIA

Borussia Moenchengladbach has had far from ideal preparation for its return to Europe's premier competition after a 37-year absence.

'Gladbach has made its worst ever start to the Bundesliga with four defeats from four games. Its squad has been diminished through injury, suspension and player departures — Max Kruse, Filip Daems and World Cup winner Christoph Kramer all left in the summer.

Captain Martin Stranzl suffered a fractured eye socket and concussion in Friday's 3-0 home defeat to Hamburger SV. He had just come back from six months out with a knee injury and will miss another six to eight weeks.

Granit Xhaka is suspended for the daunting trip to Sevilla and injuries have also ruled out Alvaro Dominguez (back), Fabian Johnson (calf) and Patrick Herrmann (knee).

___

Associated Press writers Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Jack Bezants in London and Ciaran Fahey in Munich contributed to this report.
   

Latest News