Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Champions League: Conte wants amends, and point, at Galatasaray

Champions League: Conte wants amends, and point, at Galatasaray

Champions League: Conte wants amends, and point, at Galatasaray
London: Coach Antonio Conte has called on Juventus to make amends for their roller-coaster Champions League campaign by claiming the point against Galatasaray on Tuesday that would secure their place in the last 16.

Juventus relaunched what has been a poor Group B campaign with a 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen to move up to second, seven points behind already qualified Real Madrid.

Although Conte said afterwards Juve would be play for a win in Istanbul, a draw would be enough for the Old Lady to qualify for the knockout phase for the second successive season.

Speaking after a 2-0 win away to Bologna on Friday, Juve`s seventh consecutive Serie A win without conceding a goal, Conte said it was time to put words into action.

"There`s no point in big speeches ahead of Galatasaray. We made qualification more difficult for ourselves, so it`s up to us to make amends on Tuesday," said the Italian.

Juventus were due to leave for Turkey early on Sunday evening, but without midfielder Andrea Pirlo who will be sidelined until after Christmas after suffering knee ligament damage last week.

Despite his absence, Juventus coped sufficiently, Frenchman Paul Pogba taking the central midfield role for Friday`s win, secured thanks to goals in either half from Arturo Vidal and defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Conte rested several players who will be decisive on Tuesday, notably with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente -- who are starting to form a solid partnership -- making later appearances from the bench.

Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, believes Pirlo won`t be missed too much.

"Pirlo is certainly a crucial player... but Juve can still count on Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba. Their midfield is still solid," Mancini told Tuttosport newspaper.

Having steered Galatasaray to a 2-2 draw in Turin, only a day after taking over the club, Mancini has since seen the Turks beat Copenhagen 3-1, lose 1-0 away to the Danes and then succumb to a 4-1 rout at Real.

Galatasaray have also failed to impress on the domestic front, the Turks needing a penalty shoot-out in midweek to secure a Cup win over second division side Gaziantep, while there are rumours of friction between home-based and foreign players.

Mancini`s men need a win to snatch the runner-up spot and Mancini, while admitting Juve could have the psychological edge, said his players must have faith.

"On Tuesday we have to go out aware that we have a chance. We are playing at home, which is an advantage, and anything can happen in a football match," he added.

"My biggest worry is that Juve can be happy with a draw and still qualify." AFP -----------

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