Europa League: Juventus v Fiorentina
Fiorentina will be out for revenge when they face Juventus for the second time in a week in Thursday's UEFA Europa League last-16 first leg.
Vincenzo Montella’s charges visited the impregnable Juventus Stadium in Serie A on Sunday and, like many before them this season, fell to defeat with Kwadwo Asamoah’s 42nd-minute winner proving enough to seal a 1-0 win for the hosts.
They travel to Turin for the second time in five days on Thursday for the first leg of their all-Italian clash hoping to upset the form books and become the first side to win at the home of the reigning Serie A champions since Bayern Munich in the Champions League on April 10.
Juve have won 12 consecutive home games in all competitions, and have a perfect record in the league with 14 wins out of 14.
However, Fiorentina can take heart from the fact they are the only side to have beaten Antonio Conte’s men in the league this season, Giuseppe Rossi’s hat-trick seeing them come from 2-0 down with 25 minutes to play to win 4-2 in an incredible game at the Stadio Artemio Franchi back in October.
They will have to make do without their chief goalscorer on Thursday however, the 27-year-old still not having recovered from injuring knee ligaments in early January.
Montella’s side made it through to this stage in comfortable fashion, claiming a 3-1 win in the first leg in Denmark against Esbjerg before securing their passage with a 1-1 draw in Italy.
Their opponents were even more assured in their progression, winning 2-0 in both legs against Turkey’s Trabzonspor to secure a 4-0 aggregate success.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo scored in both legs of that tie, his first goals since arriving on loan from Southampton. Osvaldo was in the last Fiorentina side to win at Juventus back in March 2008, scoring a last-minute header in a 3-2 success, before being sent off for removing his shirt in celebration.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini, whose appearance in Sunday’s game was his first for over a month after a calf problem, is hoping his side can overcome their opponents and set up another all-Italian clash in the final.
"We have belief, and we’ll go for it right until the very end," he told the club's official website.
"I think everyone's dream is for us to face Napoli in the final, because two Italian sides reaching that stage would be a point of pride for everyone."
Montella, meanwhile, says his side will have to up their performance levels if they are to upset Juve's momentum.
"Obviously I'd have preferred to play another team in Europe but as I said it's motivating for us," he said.
"We'll have to dig deep and perhaps even raise our game. We have to go about it with character and confidence because if we want to have higher ambitions than fourth or fifth, we must show it on the pitch."
Like what you see? Agree/disagree?
Leave a comment and follow us or comment on this blog on Twitter
Since you’re here, please read this…
… we have a small favour to ask our visitors. More and more punters are reading and supporting our independent & informative sports betting tips & predictions than ever before. And unlike many tips & predictions sites, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our tips & predictions accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.
UKbetTips is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda and our own matches to bet on. Our betting tips & predictions are free from commercial bias and not influenced by major bookmakers or bet-exchanges. No one edits our tips & predictions editor. No one steers our opinion and thoughts to get to the tips presented on our site. This is important as it enables us to give a free from commercial bias offer of daily ACCA's , BestBets, Daily Trebles, Both teams to Score, Over/Under and more. It’s what makes us different to so many other sites in the tips & predictions area, at a time when factual, honest posting of usefull tips is critical.
Every contribution we receive from visitors like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our tips & predictions. Your support will enable us to keep posting tips & predictions for free as we do now. We must maintain and build on it for every day to come.
Support UKBetTips from as little as €1 – and it only takes a minute.
Thank you & best of luck!