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Juve wary of Real challenge

Published: Monday 20 October 2003, 21.00CET
Something will have to give when two teams with 100 per cent records meet in Turin in Group D.

Tournament statistics

JuventusReal Sociedad

Goals scored15
Attempts on target47
Attempts off target42
Fouls committed149
Yellow cards17
Red cards0

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Published: Monday 20 October 2003, 21.00CET

Juve wary of Real challenge

Something will have to give when two teams with 100 per cent records meet in Turin in Group D.

By Paolo Menicucci in Turin

Juventus FC knocked out three Spanish sides on their way to last season's UEFA Champions League final, but Tuesday's Group D game against Real Sociedad de Fútbol will be their first against the Basque club.

Italian influence
None the less, as with RC Deportivo La Coruña, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF last term, so Juventus also influenced the destiny of the 2002/03 Primera División runners-up, according to their coach Marcello Lippi.

Cause and effect
"I think they [Real Sociedad] would have won the title last season if we had not beaten Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals," Lippi said at his press conference ahead of the Delle Alpi showdown. "After losing against us, Madrid had to concentrate on the league and managed to steal the title from under Real's nose."

Maximum points
Still, Real at least did enough to impress the Italian coach. "They are a solid team and are extremely dangerous in attack with [Darko] Kovacevic and Nihat Kahveci," he said. The Spaniards should certainly threaten Juventus's 100 per cent record in the group. Both sides have six points from two matches, and a victory for either in Turin would maintain a strong advantage over the other teams in the section, Galatasaray SK and Olympiacos CFP.

Quality performers
They may be less seasoned campaigners than the Bianconeri, but as Real's wins at home to Olympiacos and away to Galatasaray have shown, Reynald Denoueix's men have the individual ability to compensate for any lack of European experience.

Praise for Juve
"There is big gap between us and Juve in Europe," admitted the Real coach. "They are favourites but we can at least dream about winning. Juve are a great side and they have won so many trophies in the past. They have several great players but their main strength is their consistency, like all the other Italian teams."

Missing bodies
Juventus are without captain Alessandro Del Piero, who is recovering from a calf injury, while defender Nicola Legrottaglie is unavailable with a muscle problem. The latter should be replaced by Mark Iuliano. When asked how it's possible to beat Juventus in Turin, Denoueix replied saying: "It's simple. We just have to score a goal more than them."

Mixed fortunes
That, of course, will be easier said than done. Juventus have won eight out of nine matches this season and rested several players for Saturday's 3-2 win at Ancona Calcio. By contrast, Real lost 3-1 against Albacete Balompié at the weekend - "but this time it will be us who are the underdogs," said Denoueix.

Old boy returns
The Frenchman is without centre-back Bjørn Tore Kvarme who has a thigh strain and has doubts over striker Chun-Soo Lee (flu) and defender Gabriel Schurrer (toe). However, former Juventus forward Darko Kovacevic will play for the San Sebastian outfit and, in his words, "will do everything I can to win this match". Whether Real can get a result remains to be seen, but as Lippi himself admitted, "beating the Spaniards won't be easy".

Last updated: 01/02/12 8.07CET