NEWS
Wednesday October 18 2017
Line-ups: Juventus-Sporting

Juventus absolutely need a victory against Sporting, as they are level on points in the Champions League group, and welcome back Miralem Pjanic.

It kicks off in Turin at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), follow the build-up and action from this game and Chelsea-Roma on the LIVEBLOG.

The Bianconeri’s confidence has been hit this season by losing the Italian Super Cup to Lazio, falling 3-0 at Barcelona, then picking up just one point from the last two Serie A rounds.

Saturday’s 2-1 result for Lazio was the first time Juve have lost at home since August 2015, ending a run of 50 victories and seven defeats in all competition.

This is a must-win fixture, as Sporting also have three points going in thanks to their 3-2 victory away to Olympiakos and narrow defeat to Barcelona.

Pjanic returns from a thigh problem he sustained in the warm-up against Olympiakos on September 27, but are still missing Claudio Marchisio, Mattia De Sciglio, Marko Pjaca, Benedikt Howedes and ineligible Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Sami Khedira is picked to partner Pjanic, resting Blaise Matuidi, while Medhi Benatia sends Andrea Barzagli to the bench.

It’s a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation after some failed 4-3-3 experiments, as Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic fan out behind Gonzalo Higuain.

Sporting shook off some injury concerns, but Seydou Doumbia – ex-Roma flop – is on the bench, as Dutch giant Bas Dost leads the attack with support from Acuna, Gelson Martins and former Sampdoria talent Bruno Fernandes.

The Lisbon side got a surprise 3-2 victory at Olympiacos in the opening game of this group, which was only the third win from their last 24 European away fixtures, also drawing five and losing 16.

Coach Jorge Jesus is a familiar face, because he was in charge when Benfica knocked Juventus out of the Europa League semi-finals.

UEFA have accepted a request from Sporting to have a minute’s silence before kick-off for those who died in the recent fires in Portugal. Sporting will also wear black armbands and have announced various charity initiatives to get supplies and help to the affected regions.

Juventus: Buffon; Sturaro, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain

Juventus bench: Szczesny, Douglas Costa, Matuidi, Barzagli, Asamoah, Bentancur, Bernardeschi

Sporting: Rui Patricio; Piccini, Coates, Mathieu, Coentrao; Battaglia, Carvalho; Martins, Bruno Fernandes, Acuna; Dost

Sporting bench: Salin, Silva, Pinto, Cesar, Podence, Palhinha, Doumbia

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