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 Juventus vs Zenit

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Mahdiano
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PostSubject: Juventus vs Zenit   Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:30 am

CL Preview: Juventus – Zenit
What: Champions League, Group H, Matchday 1
Who: Juventus (0pts) vs Zenit St Petersburg (0pts)
When: Wednesday September 16, 2008, 20:45 (CET)
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Turin


The Old Lady Returns

Juventus are back! Two years on from their Calciopoli–imposed exile, Italy’s most successful club again find themselves on Europe’s biggest stage.

The Bianconeri have only won this competition twice in their history, mainly due to the fact that they have lost a staggering five finals. However, the last time they tasted glory was back in 1996, when they defeated Ajax in the final in Rome. This year the final will also be held in the Eternal City, so Juventini will be hoping that history repeats itself.

Claudio Ranieri’s men who finished third in Serie A last season, made it through to the group stages after thrashing Artmedia 5-1 on aggregate in the preliminaries last month. They have been handed an extremely tough draw though in Group H, alongside Real Madrid, BATE, and Wednesday’s opponents Zenit St Petersburg.

Juve have made a fine start to the new season, and are looking good for a Scudetto challenge. They drew their Serie A opener 1-1 at Fiorentina, only dropping two points due to Alberto Gilardino’s 89th minute equaliser, while on Sunday they won 1-0 against Udinese.

In both matches, Juve looked like a solid outfit who certainly won’t be bullied by anyone this campaign, neither at home nor abroad. Summer signings Amauri and Christian Poulsen have added physical power to the team, and there are now often six or seven six foot plus players in the starting XI.

The Old Lady’s last outing in the Champions League proper was way back in April 2006, when they were eliminated by Arsenal in the quarter final. The club will be hoping to mark their long overdue return with a win over Zenit on Wednesday night.

Zenith Hit The Zenith

Zenith St Petersburg are currently in the midst of the most glorious period in the club’s history. The Blue-Whites are the reigning Russian, UEFA Cup and European Super Cup champions, and who is to say that they cannot challenge to become European Cup champions this season.

Dick Advocaat’s men lit up Europe last campaign in the UEFA Cup, as they not only won the tournament, but they won it in style, playing entertaining attacking football, memorably thrashing giants Bayern Munich in the semi final.

This season Dick Advocaat’s men are struggling domestically, and they are well down in seventh place with 20 games of the campaign gone so far, 14 points behind leaders Rubin Kazan.

However, don’t let this fool you, as the impressive 2-1 European Supercup victory over Manchester United in Monaco proved that Zenit are still a huge force, in the big games anyway. Their form has also picked up of late with four wins in their last five games.

The likes of Andrei Arshavin, Aleksandr Anyukov and Konstantin Zyryanov all starred in Russia’s run to the semi finals of Euro 2008, while other top players include captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk, €30m signing Danny Alves, and in particular giant hitman Pavel Pogrebnyak, who was joint top-scorer in the UEFA Cup last term.

The clash with Juventus in Turin should prove to be a very intriguing one, and many are predicting that this will be the tie of matchday one.

FORM GUIDE

Juventus

15 Sep: Juventus 1-0 Udinese (League)

31 Aug: Fiorentina 1-1 Juventus (League)

26 Aug: Artmedia 1-1 Juventus (CL)

22 Aug: Juventus-Napoli 0-0 Juve win 5-4 on Penalties (Trofeo Moretti)

22 Aug: Juventus-Milan 0-0 Juve win 5-4 on Penalties (Trofeo Moretti)

Zenit St Petersburg

13 Sep: Terek Grozny (A) 4-1 (League)

29 Aug: Manchester United (N) 2-1 (ESC)

24 Aug: Krylya Sovetov (A) 3-0 (League)

17 Aug: Shinnik Yaroslavl (H) 1-3 (League)

13 Aug: Terek Grozny (H) 3-1 (League)


TEAM NEWS

Juventus

The Bianconeri’s injury worries are slowly clearing up, and Giorgio Chiellini and David Trezeguet both returned to action during Sunday’s win over Udinese, the former playing the whole game. Juve are still without Cristiano Zanetti, who is edging closer to fitness, as well as Jonathan Zebina and long-term absentee Jorge Andrade.

Probable Starting XI: Buffon, Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro, Camoranesi, Poulsen, Sissoko, Nedved, Del Piero, Amauri

Zenit St Petersburg

Midfielder Roman Shirokov is out of the game with a muscular injury, while Turkish striker Fatih Tekke is also out despite recently returning to individual training. Alexander Gorshkov, Lee Ho and Alexey Ionov also miss the trip to Turin, as does long-term absentee Nicolas Lombaerts.

Probable Starting XI: Malafeev, Anyukov, Krizanac, Puygrenier, Sirl, Denisov, Tymoschuk, Zyrianov, Arshavin, Pogrebnyak, Danny.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Juventus

Mauro Camoranesi: The heartbeat of the Juventus side, Camoranesi has had a superb start to the season and has impressed in all of his games for club-and country. When the Italo-Argentine is on form, Juve always look capable of breaking down defences. Without the winger the team can sometimes be a little predictable.

Zenit St Petersburg

Pavel Pogrebnyak: The giant hitman was the joint top-scorer in last season’s UEFA Cup with 10 goals, playing a huge role in his side’s eventual triumph. ‘The Pog’ caused Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all kinds of problems in the European Supercup win over Manchester United at the end of last month. His duel with Giorgio Chiellini should be interesting.


PREDICTION

Both teams are in fine form, but the home crowd and Juve’s determination should push them to a narrow victory.

Juventus 2-1 Zenit St Peterburg

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EL LODDZ
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PostSubject: Re: Juventus vs Zenit   Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:56 am

juve could snatch a win here, but it wont be easy as zenit are also looking for a win to qualify instead of real madrid or juventus which will be very tough.

i predict 3-2 fot the juve.

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Mahdiano
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PostSubject: Re: Juventus vs Zenit   Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:59 am

3-2 in a match that Juventus r playin is very hard
Juve r very solid defensivly n not so creative lookin at the attackin force
although they have great 4 striker so whoever play will be good but they dont get the support needed from midfield.

Poulsen n Sissoko , that's a very tough midfield 2 break but not great players with the ball n on the wings good old nedved who aint the same anymore n Camoranesi also

this will be 2-0 for Juventus IMO.

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