By their very nature Italian teams are not averse to defending for their lives and in Juventus’ case, their Champions League existence might well depend on living up to this stereotype.
Unlike the tie which passed before it, this Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Juventus is hanging in the balance, although the Old Lady crucially has her wise-old beak in front.
Holding a 2-1 lead from their Turin tussle, Massimiliano Allegri’s Serie A champions are still a smidgen less likely to qualify at 10/11, compared to 4/5 on their Spanish hosts according to Ladbrokes.
Considering the 3/1-rated draw is all that Juve require to guarantee a Berlin-based showdown with Barcelona, this outsider status may be deemed a little harsh.
However, fail to score and in all probability the visitors will find themselves heading out as their hosts have found the net at least once over their last 52 Bernabeu outings.
Even by famed Italian standard grinding out a 0-0 is herculean task, but then defending will still be the Bianconeri’s trump card in the Spanish capital, alongside the counter attack.
Juventus have only conceded 12 goals in 24 all-competition away matches this season, while they’ve not shipped on the road in this competition in three consecutive games.
Such solid foundations give the likes of Carlos Tevez and the supposedly fit-to-start Paul Pogba the perfect platform from which to nick a goal on the counter attack, or three as they did in Borussia Dortmund.
Ancelotti’s side have shown their own defensive vulnerability at home of late, not least during their hectic 4-3 defeat to Schalke in the round-of-16 second leg, before Valecia raced into a two-goal lead only to be pegged back at the weekend in La Liga.
Basically the Seria champs simply have to let the Merengues probe and push before choosing their moment to open them up on the counter.
It’s not rocket science, simply more of the same from a huge club who’ve been starved of European finales for too long.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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