Sevilla vs Juventus: Preview and Prediction
A mouth-watering contest awaits in the 2022-23 UEFA Europa League, as two renowned clubs, Juventus and Sevilla will clash in the second leg of the semi-final round. The match will be played in Seville’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday evening.
Although the recent batch of football fans will know Juventus for their performances in the UEFA Champions League, they are no strangers to this competition. The Old Lady has lifted the Europa League thrice, and will now be gunning for the fourth title, which will make them the second most successful team in this competition.
But to find a place in the final, the Italian stalwarts will have to beat the most successful team in the Europa League, Sevilla. Los Nervionenses have won this competition a record seven times and are one step away from making it to their seventh final, having drawn the away leg 1-1.
Sevilla was not involved in this competition from the beginning, as they made it to the UEFA Champions League, where they were placed in a group alongside Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Copenhagen. However, with only five points, they finished third and were demoted to the Europa League.
In this tournament, Los Nervionenses defeated PSV Eindhoven by a 3-2 margin on aggregate in the knockout play-off tie, before beating Fenerbahce 2-1. Jose Luis Mendilibar’s team’s main challenge was against English giants Manchester United, but they won the tie comfortably, with a 5-2 aggregate margin.
Juventus have exactly the same story, as they too started their European campaign in the Champions League. There, they were placed in a group alongside Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain and Maccabi Haifa, but after winning just three points, they were demoted to the Europa League.
Massimiliano Allegri’s defeated Ligue 1 side Nantes by a 4-1 margin in the knockout play-off, while in the round of 16, they defeated Freiburg 3-0. The challenge was much tougher against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the quarter-final, but they somehow edged past with a 2-1 win on aggregate. In the first leg tie of the semi-final, the Old Lady played out a 1-1 stalemate at home.
Head to Head Record
Juventus and Sevilla had not locked horns before 2009, but since then, they have played a total of six matches. Juventus holds the upper hand in terms of head-to-head records, as they have won three of those six matches. Sevilla have won only once, with the other two matches ending in draws.
The last meeting, which was the first leg of the semi-final tie, produced one of those two draws. Sevilla took an early lead through their Moroccan striker, Youssef En-Nesyri before Federico Gatti equalized for the Old Lady right at the very end.
Mendilibar is expected to receive a big boost ahead of this match, as Argentine attacker Lucas Ocampos, who is having a great campaign, might recover from his injury just in time for the fixture and retain his place in the starting XI.
But we could still see a change in Sevilla’s attacking department. Given a chance in the first leg, young Bryan Gil could not be much effective and was later replaced by Erik Lamela. With a lot being at stake in this match, the highly experienced Lamela could be given the nod.
Allegri will be forced to make changes to his team, because of injuries. The defensive mainstay, Leonardo Bonucci was injured in the first leg, and he will not recover in time for this fixture. Besides that, French midfielder Paul Pogba might have had a chance of making it to the starting XI, but he suffered yet another injury in the last Serie A match.
Bonucci is likely to be replaced by Brazil’s Bremer in the defensive trio, while despite Pogba’s unavailability, we could see a change in the Old Lady’s midfield setup. Since he barely had any influence in the last game, Fabio Miretti could be replaced by Leandro Paredes.
Predicted Starting XIs
Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Yassine Bounou; Jesus Navas, Loic Bade, Nemanja Gudelj, Marcos Acuna; Ivan Rakitic, Fernando; Lucas Ocampos, Oliver Torres, Erik Lamela; Youssef En-Nesyri.
Juventus (3-5-1-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; Juan Cuadrado, Leandro Paredes, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Angel Di Maria; Dusan Vlahovic.
Although Juventus have quite a few world-class players in their team, including the FIFA World Cup-winning pair of Paredes and Di Maria, Sevilla is a very strong team at their home ground. In addition to that, they are also famous for bringing their best version to this competition.