Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo does not believe a draw will cut it for the Old Lady tomorrow at Shakhtar Donetsk – and says that the club has no intention of playing for a point.
Pirlo said: “Any talk of playing for a draw is not true of any of the players here at Juventus and I am sure it is not true of the Shakhtar players…we want to win the group and I am sure Shakhtar do as well.”
Juventus’ final match in Group E will be played at Shakhtar’s Donbass Arena and will decide the fate of the reigning champions. Chelsea need to not only notch up a win against Danish new boys FC Nordsjælland, but also require the Italians to fall in the Ukraine.
“We have no duty to help Chelsea, but we have a duty to ourselves and to our fans to try and win the group,” Pirlo added. “You will not get two easy games whoever you face in the last 16.”
Juventus and Shakhtar drew their previous meeting in Italy, with both teams scoring, and the travelling Ukrainians seeing the lion’s share of the possession. All told though both teams were pretty evenly matched at the Juventus Stadium, seeing a similar number of shots – Juve managed 15 while Shakhtar had 12 attempts.
Shakhtar’s talisman Luiz Adriano was banned for a game following his unsporting behaviour in the bizarre match against Nordsjælland, adding an extra twist to the tail.
The striker put three past the Danish champions in their meeting a few weeks ago, and Juve’s defence looks rock solid – sports betting site Ladbrokes have Juventus 1/3 favourites to qualify from Group E.
The Old Lady doesn’t travel all that well though, and with Chelsea’s final game being played on home turf, the London team with a chip on their shoulder could yet oust Juventus from the competition.
Rafa Benitez has a point to prove, and with two draws and a loss under his belt, the Spaniard’s first Champions League encounter at the helm of Chelsea could be a big decider.