Evening European football fans. Thanks for joining Sports Mole
for what promises to be an intriguing Champions League
clash between Juventus
, with a place in the last 16 still a realistic proposition for both teams with a positive result tonight.
Juventus went into this season's Champions League desperate for an improvement on last term's quarter-final effort, but have found Group B heavy going to say the least. Three draws and a defeat to Real Madrid from their first four games is a return few observers expected, with the pressure on Antonio Conte
to salvage their campaign with victory tonight.
The Old Lady's performances in a double-header with Real Madrid were more than credible, with a 2-2 draw in Turin earlier this month the least Juve deserved after a find display from Iker Casillas kept the at bay late on. Copenhagen represent a very different test tonight, one the Bianconeri must negotiate to keep their push for second place alive.
Conte's men may be bottom of Group B ahead of tonight's match but sit just a point behind Copenhagen and Galatasaray, with Real Madrid the runaway leaders. Juve may reign supreme in Serie A but still have a big task on their hands to satisfy the minimum expectation of reaching the last 16.
Copenhagen can travel to Turin in high spirits on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, which includes a home win over Galatasaray in their last European outing. Stale Solbakken
's side are very difficult to break down and quick on the counter, but need to find some form on the road to become the season's surprise package and push through to the knockout stages.
The Danes have flown to Italy with a fully-fit squad to choose from, something that Conte can only dream of. Juve's star-studded has been tested by a string of injury problems in key areas, particularly in defence with Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner still sidelined.
Against Livorno last Sunday Juve deployed Arturo Vidal
as an emergency centre-back, a role he took on with surprising ease. The Chilean is likely to be back in central midfield this evening, with Angelo Ogbonna and Martin Caceres fighting for a starting spot.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS! We have just received word on the starting XIs from the Juventus Arena and a place at centre-back for Caceres, who is preferred to Ogbonna. A full look at both teams will follow in just a few moments.
JUVE XI: Buffon, Chiellini, Martin Caceres, Bonucci, Pogba, Padoin, Pirlo, Asamoah, Vidal, Tévez, Llorente
COPENHAGEN XI: Wiland, Jacobsen, Bengtsson, Mellberg, Sigurdsson, Claudemir, Delaney, Gíslason, Bolanos, Jørgensen, Toutouh
It's back to the tried and teted 3-5-2 for Juve in Europe tonight, with Caceres partnering Giorgio Chiellini
and Leonardo Bonucci
at the back. Vidal returns to central midfield in place of Claudio Marchisio, while Simone Padoin keeps his place out wide.
In attack Conte has resisted the temptation to recall Mirko Vucinic
in attack after his return last weekend, with Fernando Llorente
and Carlos Tevez
continuing to work as a strike duo. Their partnership has started to blossom in recent weeks, particularly with an marked improvement in form on Llorente's part.
Copenhagen's lineup features a few surprises, particularly the omission of top scorer Igor Vetokele. Nicolai Jorgensen will lead the line in a lone front role, with Youssef Toutouh providing support from midfield.
BENCH WATCH! Juve have a wealth of options in reserve, something that they may well need to call upon if Copenhagen provide the kind of stubborn resistance I expect for long spells tonight. Vucinic looks the most exciting potential addition, while Quagliarella scored against Copenhagen the last time these two teams met in September.
JUVE SUBS: Storari, Ogbonna, De Ceglie, Peluso, Marchisio, Vucinic, Quagliarella
COPENHAGEN SUBS: Jensen, Margreitter, Remmer, Kristensen, Santin, Pourie, Amankwaa
Copenhagen would probably take a repeat of the 1-1 draw they earned against Juve earlier in the group stage. The Old Lady needed a late Quagliarella equaliser to dig themselves out of trouble in Denmark on the opening matchday, something they can ill-afford to repeat tonight.
A reminder that there is one other pivotal clash in Group B tonight, with Galatasaray taking on Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The Turkish side are up against it in their bid to edge ahead in the race for second place, giving Juve and Copenhagen further incentive to deliver tonight.
PREDICTION: As we await the two teams at a rocking Juve Arena there is time to confidently claim that Juve will get their first Champions League win of the campaign tonight. Tevez and Llorente are on fire right now and should prove too strong in attack, guiding the Old Lady to a 2-0 success.
The famous Champions League anthem greets the two teams, with Juve under no illusions that they must start winning to keep hearing that tune in the new year. Will a return to 3-5-2 reap rewards tonight, or can Copenhagen frustrate the Italian champions once again? We are about to find out!
Juve get us underway, with a reminder that whoever loses the pivotal tie is out of this season's Champions League!
The hosts surge forward early on as Padoin finds some room down the right flank, but his cross is headed away be Mellberg.
Llorente's flick just fails to find Tevez thanks to a crucial interception from Sigurdsson. Asamoah is then brought down in the box by a strong but fair challenge from Bolanos.
More patient probing from Juve, as Pogba scuffs a shot after being left all alone to reach a long pass towards the edge of the area. Copenhagen fell asleep there but the Frenchman failed to profit, dragging a tame effort straight to Wiland.
The first sign of a threat from Copenhagen as Mellberg misses the target after rising highest to meet a free kick, conceded by a trip from Vidal.
Tevez has a strike deflected wide after making a dash to the near post in search of Asamoah's cutback, but the referee doesn't spot the block and awards a goal kick.
A show of strength from Tevez wins the corner kick he wanted minutes earlier, holding off Jacobsen in a footrace out wide. The visitors clear the corner but only out to Asamoah, who finds Llorente with a quick pass. His flick towards goal is eventually scrambled clear, but only at the expense of another corner. Pressure is mounting!
Pirlo is rather fortunate to escape without a caution after tripping Gislason, with Pogba then also fortunate to avoid a booking for a blatant shove on Bolanos. Copenhagen can't make anything of the free kick despite a strong header back across goal from Pogba, as Juve clear to counter through Asamoah.
Frustration is starting to show for Juve as Vidal retaliates to a cynical foul from Gislason. When play resumes Padoin shows surprising pace to reach the byline, but fails to beat the first defender with a low cross.
Copenhagen are weathering the storm as Mellberg blocks a shot by Tevez, after Llorente used his frame to bring down a long diagona pass. The home fans are already booing Wiland's delay as he lines up a goal kick, a clear sign the Danes are here for a point!
PENALTY TO JUVENTUS! The hosts have a spot kick after Jacobsen handled under pressure from Pogba. The full-back took his eye off the ball as Pirlo looked for the Frenchman at the far posts, gifting the hosts a chance to break the deadlock.
GOAL! Juventus 1-0 Copenhagen (Vidal)
An emphatic penalty from Vidal is placed perfectly inside the post to put Juve ahead. A moment of madness from the experienced Jacbosen could cost him team very dearly. They now need to equalise or will go out of the Champions League tonight.
YELLOW CARD! Sigurdsson is cautioned after knocking over Llorente with a cynical lunge. He is the second Copenhagen player to receive a booking, with Jacobsen also in the book for that rash handball.
Tevez wins a free kick just outside the penalty area after drawing a silly foul from Delaney. Pirlo likes the look of this angle and steps up to take, but can't get enough dip on an effort which stays central enough for Wiland to claim comfortably.
Bonucci hoists a long ball towards Pogba as Juve go direct, with the Frenchman exchanging passes with Asamoah before firing towards the far post. The net ripples but only after Pogba's effort went just beyond the far post, leaving half of the Juve Arena disappointed as their cheers quickly prove to be in vain.
Padion's searching cross just evades Llorente and Pogba at the far post, as Copenhagen scramble clear. The visitors need half time to come and quickly.
We have a break in play as Llorente hits the ground after losing an aerial duel with Mellberg, caught by a stray elbow. That should just about do it for the first period.
HALF-TIME Juventus 1-0 Copenhagen
It's advantage Juve after a first 45 minutes dominated the Old Lady. Copenhagen in fairness looked fairly comfortable defending deep until conceding a penalty in comical fashion, an opportunity Vidal was never likely to pass up.
Conte's men have kept the ball confidently and showed a nice variety in attack this evening, with Pirlo pulling the strings in central midfield. A repeat performance in the second half will give the Bianconeri their first win in the Champions League this season, and eliminate Copenhagen in the process.
Copenhagen will be forced to throw their defensive gameplan out of the window at some stage after cheaply conceding the opening goal. Solbakken's side need a goal to stay in the hunt for second place, but have offered lone striker Jorgensen little to work with in the final third so far tonight.
GROUP B UPDATE! Just time to bring you news of a topsy-turvy first half in tonight's other Group B game at the Bernabeu, with Real Madrid down to 10 men against Galatasaray. Madrid had Sergio Ramos sent off but still took the lead through Gareth Bale, but the visitors responded almost instantly and head into the break level at 1-1.
Juve are back out but made to wait by their opponents, perhaps getting a final few words of wisdom from Solbakken. Whatever happens in Madrid they must score to stay in the competition!
We are back underway as Copenhagen quickly look to break down the right through Gislason. They win a throw and send it straight into the penalty area, creating a goalmouth scramble that Caceres just about clears under pressure with the aid of a deflection.
Juve finally settle back into a spell of sustained possession, but only in their own half as Copenhagen press higher up the pitch. Eventually Vidal works the ball out wide to Padoin, who gets too much height on a cross directed towards Pogba at the far post.
Llorente controls a long pass and flicks back towards strike partner Tevez with an intelligent pass. Tevez decides to take on a shot first time from just outside the box, smashing well wide of the target with an effort that lacked the composure we have come to expect from the Argentine hitman.
Pogba attempts a reverse pass into the path of Llorente, but his effort proves too casual and allows the Danes to clear. Copenhagen still have Jorgensen far too isolated in the final third, as Bonucci clears only as far as Delaney under pressure.
GOAL! Juventus 1-1 Copenhagen (Mellberg)
Juve fail to clear their lines from another long throw and pay a heavy price. Vidal's header bounced in the box and eventually fell to Mellberg, who seized the chance to hook a clever volley into the far corner from close range against his old club. What a moment for the visitors!
PENALTY TO JUVE! Almost immediately Mellberg goes from hero to villain after dragging Llorente over in the box. The referee has little choice but to award a spot kick, but opts against sending off the centre-half and settles on a yellow card.
GOAL! Juventus 2-1 Copenhagen (Vidal)
Deja vu for Vidal as he confidently curls an assured spot kick into the corner, sending Wiland the wrong way. All Copenhagen's hard work is quickly undone as Juve go back in front. The visitors made a change just before the Chilean converted from 12 yards, with Kristensen replacing Bolanos.
GOAL! Juventus 3-1 Copenhagen (Vidal)
Vidal has a hat-trick and puts Juve into a commanding position, timing his late run to perfection as he heads home Pogba's chipped cross towards the far post. Copenhagen failed to track the midfielder's clever run and are now staring at the Champions League exit door once again.
Pirlo gets caught in possession, there's a collector's item, as Copenhagen gives Buffon something to deal with for the first time. Toutouh's low effort from distance was just creeping inside the near post, but Buffon got across and had time to parry at the expense of a corner kick.
SUBSTITUTION: Conte decides to make his first change in favour of adding experience in the closing stages, with Marchisio replacing Padoin. He quickly gets involved to help scramble clear after another dangerous goalmouth scramble, with Jorgensen unable to find enough room for a strike under pressure from a sea of black and white shirts.
Jorgensen drifts out wide to help Copenhagen enjoy a rare spell of sustained possession. They lack a cutting edge though, with Juve content to sit deep and protect their advantage.
SUBSTITUTION: Copenhagen throw on another forward in search of the two goals required to stay alive in Group B, with Amankwaa replacing Delaney for his Champions League debut.
Wiland comes his line quickly to stop Llorente meeting a long ball over the top with an intelligent piece of goalkeeping. Both teams take the chance to make a change with the ball out of play, with Vucinic and Pourie replacing Tevez and Toutouh.
A final change from Juve and a well-deserved reception for Vidal, who leaves the field after scoring what will surely be a match-winning hat trick. On comes Angelo Ogbonna in his place for extra cover in defence late on.
Pirlo produces a sensational piece of skill to slip past two defenders in one movement, before exchanging passes with Vucinic in the penalty area. Vidal will get the headline tomorrow but Pirlo has been commanding in central midfield yet again.
Pogba lashes wide after another sumptuous piece of play from Pirlo, who delayed a pass for the Frenchman perfectly. Juve are closing out a victory that was absolutely imperative for their qualification hopes.
FULL-TIME Juventus 3-1 Copenhagen
It's advantage Juve in the race for second place in Group B, thanks to a hat-trick from Vidal which included two penalties. Antonio Conte's side will qualify for the knockout stages if they avoid defeat against Galatasaray in Istanbul next month.
That just about brings a close to our live coverage from Turin, with Juve finally getting their first win in this season's Champions League. Stay in touch with Sports Mole though, as we bring you extensive coverage from a busy night of action across the continent. Goodnight!