Turkish Lions ready to face Italy’s ‘Old Lady’ tonight in Istanbul
Galatasaray know that only a win is good enough to see them grab second place in the group and even though Conte’s side will be without Andrea Pirlo, Galatasaray boss Mancini insists the Biaconeri have more than enough strength in depth.Turkish champion Galatasaray will enter tonight’s Champions League Group B match against Italian giants Juventus knowing that nothing less than a victory will give them a berth in the second round.
Even a draw would allow the “Old Lady” to advance at the Lions’ expense, while anything other than a victory would also leave the door open for Cim Bom to miss out on a parachute place into the knockout stages of the second-tier European competition, the Europa League, as FC Copenhagen could snatch the third spot in the group if it betters Galatasaray’s result against already-qualified Real Madrid.
Juventus, however, will be without influential playmaker Andrea Pirlo due to a knee injury. The Lions’ Wesley Sneijder, meanwhile, is expected to play in the critical game after receiving an injury during a domestic game against Torku Konyaspor.
Coach Roberto Mancini does not believe Juventus will miss Pirlo when the two sides meet in the match, which starts at 9:45 p.m.
“What worries me is that Juve can be happy with a draw and still qualify,” Mancini told the Tuttosport. “We have the utmost respect for them, as they are one of the best teams in Europe, getting better every year, and it will be tough for us. I think we need to be calm when playing football, not tense or full of doubt. What we must first of all do on Tuesday is step on to that pitch aware that we have a chance and can gamble with our chips. We are playing at home, which is an advantage, and anything can happen in a football match,” he said.
Mancini’s fifth match at CL
The match will be Mancini’s fifth Champions League match for the Turkish title-holders; he has so far posted a win, draw and two defeats. Juventus coach Antonio Conte has confirmed a 25-man squad for the game, noting that there is no chance of Pirlo playing due to his knee injury. Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has already picked up two yellow cards and is just one more misdemeanor shy of a suspension. The Turkish champions, meanwhile, have two players treading the disciplinary tightrope, in Albert Riera and Felipe Melo.
Giorgio Chiellini dismissed the impact of Galatasaray’s fiery atmosphere, saying Juventus will show no fear against the Turkish champions.“In Istanbul it will be like playing a final,” the 29-year-old Chiellini wrote on his official Facebook page. “We’re not afraid, we are Juve.”
Juventus go into today’s clash after securing five straight wins in all competitions, while Galatasarsy warmed up for the encounter with a 2-0 win over Elazığspor on Dec. 6. Pedro Proenca Oliveira Alves Garcia from Portugal will referee the match. Galatasaray president Ünal Aysal, on the other hand, said the match was not a do-or-die encounter for his team. “It’s only important for the tour; moving in the UEFA European League matters for us,” he was quoted as saying by GSTV.