Juventus vs Sporting Lisbon Preview: The Old Lady in need of a vital win after unconvincing start to the season

Juventus will be looking to get back to winning ways as they take on Sporting Lisbon at The Allianz Stadium on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Champions League.

Juventus vs Sporting Lisbon Preview: The Old Lady in need of a vital win after unconvincing start to the season
Juventus vs Sporting Lisbon Preview: The Old Lady in need of a vital win after unconvincing start to the season. (picture: Getty Images / Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC)

Juventus will be looking to get back to winning ways as they take on Sporting Lisbon at The Allianz Stadium on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Champions League

Massimiliano Allegri's side come into this match on the back of a rare home defeat as Lazio beat them 2-1 on Saturday evening in Calcio A. This means they will be desperate to make amends in this match and will certainly be looking to avoid back-to-back home defeats. 

As for Sporting, their last outing came in the Taça de Portugal as they comfortably saw off Oleiros 4-2 away from home and will subsequently come into this game full of confidence. 

How they've fared so far

Due to Juventus' success last season both domestically and in Europe, the start they have made to this campaign has been somewhat of a disappointment. Allegri's side are yet to reach the standards set last season and he will be hoping that they can begin to turn this around on Wednesday evening. 

They made a very poor start to their 2017/18 Champions League campaign as they were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp. However, Lionel Messi was in inspired form in this game as he scored a brace so it was always going to be difficult for Juventus to get a result. 

Despite this defeat, they did respond in the best way possible by securing a 2-0 win at home to Olympiacos in their second match. This sees them currently sat third in Group D and they are still very much on track to finish at least second. Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic got themselves on the scoresheet in that game and they will be hopeful of doing the same against Sporting in this clash. 

Juventus' main strength once again this season has been their ability to keep it tight at the back, shown by the fact that they have kept five clean sheets in their six home games so far this season. They are likely to be very difficult to breakdown again on Wednesday night so it may only take one goal from the home side to secure all three points. However, due to their recent struggles, they will be keen to put in a convincing performance in front of their own supporters. 

As for Sporting, they have not made the best start to the season in Portugal themselves and will be heading into this match relatively low on confidence. Before their victory over Oleiros in the Taça de Portugal, they had failed to win in four matches which highlights how much they have been struggling in the early stages of the campaign. 

Despite this poor run of form, they have already shown that they can compete with the best this season. They narrowly lost 1-0 at home to Spanish giants Barcelona courtesy of an own-goal from former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates. This result proves that they are capable of defending well as a team and Juventus will need to be at their best to break the deadlock. 

Sporting will be looking to frustrate their hosts on Wednesday evening. (picture: Getty Images / Gualter Fatia)
Sporting will be looking to frustrate their hosts on Wednesday evening. (picture: Getty Images / Gualter Fatia)

Last time they met 

Juventus last played Sporting Lisbon in a friendly in a 2-1 defeat at BMO Field in Toronto in July 2011. Sporting striker Yannick Djalo scored a first-half brace to put the Portuguese side in control before Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back for Juventus late on in the second-half. It was a highly entertaining friendly match that was played in front of over 10,000 spectators. 

It will certainly be interesting to see how the match goes on Wednesday night between the two sides in their first ever competitive meeting. 

Team news 

Juventus boss Allegri does have several injuries to contend with ahead of this clash. The likes of Benedikt Howedes, Mattia De Sciglio, Claudio Marchisio, Miralem Pjanic and Marko Pjaca are all ruled out. However, this is no excuse as the Italian side should still have far too much quality for Sporting to deal with on the night. 

As for Sporting, they do not have such a lengthy injury list but left-back Fabio Coentrao and strikers Seydou Doumbie and Alan Ruiz are unavailable for selection. Their main aim will be to frustrate their hosts for as long as possible and potentially earn themselves at least a point.