Villarreal hosts Juventus on Tuesday (3 pm from Colombia) in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16looking to give a step towards the quarterfinals of the maximum continental tournament for the third time in its history.
The ‘Yellow Submarine’ knew how to suffer in the last game of the group stage against Atalanta to secure its presence in the round of 16 and now it will have to return to to work hard before a veteran of the European scene.
Villarreal lives his European dream
Unai Emery’s team arrives at a good moment after a draw and three wins, the last one on Saturday by a resounding 4-1 against Granada, which left one step away from the Champions zone in the Spanish championship.
“We come at a good moment, in a good dynamic and that gives us a lot of confidence to face the match”, Alberto Moreno assured this Monday at a press conference.
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“We are here because we have deserved it, we have been able to compete and beat teams of the level of Juventus”, assured, for his part, Emery, convinced that they can also beat the Italian team “but we have to play a perfect match”.
The Spanish team had a difficult start to the season, but little by little they have been finding a certain regularity of play and results in LaLiga, which they hope to maintain in Europe.
Villarreal arrives at the meeting with sensible casualties such as those of Francis Coquelin and striker Gerard Moreno, while he has doubts about midfielder Étienne Capoue, who has missed the last two games due to muscular discomfort.
On the other hand, Emery will be able to count on Arnaut Danjuma, author of a triplet on Saturday against Granada and who has become the star of the team since his arrival last summer from English side Bournemouth. The Dutch winger has scored 12 goals, a third of them, in the Champions League, where he has been a key element for the pass to the round of 16.
The ‘Yellow Submarine’ should also have the Argentinian Giovanni Lo Celso, arrived in the last transfer advantage and who has been gaining minutes within the Castellón team.
Juventus clings to the Champions League
The Italian team, fourth in its championship, qualified first in its Champions group to get into the round of 16 of the continental tournament for the eighth consecutive time.
Last season, Juve fell in this phase against Porto due to the double value of goals in the opposite field, something they will not have to worry about this season after the elimination of that rule.
The Italian team comes to the meeting after their stumble over the weekend in the derby against Torino (1-1), but for coach Massimiliano Allegri it serves as another step in the team’s growth before facing the Villarreal.
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Juventus will not be able to count on Argentine striker Paulo Dybala at La Cerámica Stadium, who suffered an elongation in the left leg, nor with center back Daniele Rugani, who is also the victim of a hamstring strain.
“Paulo Dybala’s absence is a shame because he had been playing well,” said Allegri on Monday. These injuries, caused in the match against Torino, join those of Federico Chiesa and Giorgio Chiellini, but Allegri cleared up any doubts he had about Leonardo Bonucci, who did not play against Torino due to muscle fatigue.
“Leonardo Bonucci worked with the team and without discomfort so he is available”, said the Italian coach, who advanced that “(Álvaro) Morata and (Dusan) Vlahovic will be starters in attack”.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) we need a good result and in three weeks to finish the job” in Turin, concluded Allegri, who would have the Colombian Juan Guillermo Cuadrado as a starter at right back.