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Juventus VS Zenit Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 03/11/2021

Juventus VS Zenit Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 03/11/2021

Having won all three of their Group H fixtures without conceding a goal, the Old Lady stands ready to reach the knockout stage with a win on home soil against opponents they bettered just a fortnight ago. A late Dejan Kulusevski strike broke the resistance of Zenit last time the teams met, as he headed home Mattia De Sciglio‘s cross with four minutes remaining of a close-fought contest in Russia’s cultural capital.

That late intervention by the Swedish attacker kept Juve three points ahead of defending champions Chelsea in the standings, with Zenit stuck on three points and outsiders Malmo having failed to post either a goal or a point. For all their domestic woes over the past year, the Bianconeri can boast a record of 13 wins from their last 14 Champions League group games ahead of Tuesday’s return, and precedent stands in their favour too.

Juventus have never lost a continental clash with Russian opposition in their entire history – coming out on top eight times and drawing once – and have lost only five of their 47 European matches at the Allianz Stadium. However, four of those defeats have come in their last 15 home outings, reflecting the decline in standards at a club which has bowed out at the first knockout round in each of the last two campaigns. Max Allegri‘s return to Turin has not gone seamlessly either, as defeat on Saturday followed a last-gasp midweek loss to Sassuolo, so Juve will take to the field hoping to avoid the ignominy of three successive defeats.

Zenit have certainly shown little sign of a hangover from their late loss on the third matchday, as the reigning Russian champions have comfortably won both league games since losing to Juventus: beating Dinamo Moscow 4-1 on Friday, as Claudinho found the net for a second successive match, having previously running out 7-1 winners at home to Spartak.

That remarkable scoreline represents their biggest margin of victory over the Moscow side in league history, and leaves the Zenitchiki top of the table by five points, as they seek a fourth consecutive domestic title. Back-to-back successes have lightened the mood in Sergei Semak‘s camp, as they had previously lost three straight games in all competitions, but carrying such form onto the Champions League stage often proves a step too far for the St Petersburg side.

Following the defeat to Juve last time out, Zenit have now lost eight of their last 10 matches in Europe’s elite club competition – winning just one – and finished fourth in their group in each of the last two seasons. While Malmo’s ineptitude may save them from that fate for a third consecutive campaign, any hopes of making the last 16 rather than receiving a consolatory Europa League pass will rely heavily on events this Tuesday, against an off-colour Juventus side under pressure to produce.

Federico Chiesa returns to Juventus’s starting line-up, with Weston McKennie and Manuel Locatelli in midfield. The Bianconeri host Zenit in a Champions League group stage game at the Allianz Stadium tonight. It kicks off at 20.00 UK time. A draw is enough for Massimiliano Allegri’s side to qualify for the Round of 16 with two games to spare.

Juventus have lost the last two Serie A games against Sassuolo and Hellas Verona but won three games from three in the Champions League, including against title holders Chelsea. Chiesa missed Saturday’s game at the Stadio Bentegodi, but is expected to return to action tonight, starting as a left winger in a 4-4-2 formation. Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata will once again start up front as Moise Kean is still on the sidelines with a muscle injury. Aaron Ramsey is also on the treatment table with muscle fatigue.

Juventus have lost two straight league games in Italy. But as early as Tuesday, the Turin side can secure their place in the Champions League play-offs by beating Zenit on home soil. Do the Russian champions stand any chance of beating Juve? This is not Spartak and Dynamo, so it is unlikely.

What’s happening to Juve at the moment is a real challenge. Max Allegri’s team won 6 straight victories from late September to late October, and it seemed that the renaissance of the hegemonic club was complete and unequivocal. But the reality was harsh, and Juventus had to face it next. After a 1-1 home save in the Italian Derby with Inter, the Bianconeri had a terrible home game against Sassuolo, losing 1-2 in the dying seconds, before a disappointing trip to Verona. The home side has beaten Roma, Lazio, and now Juve this season. The Turin side conceded two goals in the 13th minute but managed to score only once before the end of the match, 1-2. Juventus have already slipped down to 9th place in the Serie A table.

Perhaps the switch to the Champions League will do the Bianconeri some good. It’s a different tournament where the team is doing well so far. After three rounds, Juventus are 100% at the top of the group, and a win against Zenit could guarantee access to the play-offs and make a serious bid for the final top spot in the group.

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