MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 04:54:17| >> :600:137823:137823:
Feb 27, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona
1-1
JuventusJuventus
Barak (77')
Barak (45+1'), Dawidowicz (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ronaldo (49')
A (18'), de Ligt (33')

Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Hellas Verona and Juventus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Third-placed Juventus seek to place pressure on the league-leading Milan clubs on Saturday night, as the defending Serie A champions take on Hellas Verona at Stadio Bentegodi.

Playing a day ahead of their Scudetto rivals and still with a game in hand, Andrea Pirlo's side will meet a well-oiled unit, as the Gialloblu have won each of their last three home games to sit comfortably inside the top half of the table.


Match preview

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo pictured in February 2021© Reuters

It was back to business as usual for Juventus last time out, following a challenging fortnight, as the Bianconeri continued their quest for a tenth successive title with a regulation 3-0 home win over hapless bottom side Crotone.

Their expected success brought at least a little relief for the stumbling Turin giants, who had been out-fought and out-thought in losses to both Napoli and Porto, after going out of the Coppa Italia to old rivals Inter.

Top-scoring talisman Cristiano Ronaldo erased a run of only one goal from his last five league starts against the Calabrian minnows, with yet another brace during the first half last Monday. Adding Crotone to the long list of top-flight teams he has now scored against, the Portuguese superstar has netted more than once in seven separate Serie A games this season - more than any other player in the top five European leagues.

Juve's ageless striker has now scored three in as many league appearances, having failed to find the net in his three previous outings - a relative drought by his own sky-high standards. Ronaldo's double strike saw him break clear at the top of the hotly-contested Capocannoniere charts too, ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile on 18 goals.

Though the pressure on coach Andrea Pirlo's shoulders remains intense, his side's most recent win of an inconsistent period took full advantage of Roma's draw in Benevento to rise to third place in the standings and focuses faltering Milan in their crosshairs - with the once-distant Rossoneri now only four points ahead and having played a game more.

Furthermore, Juve have now kept a clean sheet in four of their last five league games (as many as in their previous 27) and are set to come up against the statistically weakest attack in the top half of the table this weekend.

Hellas Verona's Federico Dimarco celebrates scoring their first goal on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Despite the gulf in stature between the two clubs, Verona have won four points from their last two matches against this week's visitors, having lost each of their previous three encounters. In fact, the Scaligeri could go unbeaten in three consecutive games versus Juventus for the first time since the 1980s on Saturday evening.

The first meeting this term ended 1-1, after goals from Andrea Favilli and Dejan Kulusevski, in the opening head-to-head between highly-rated Hellas tactician Ivan Juric and Juve's managerial rookie Pirlo.

Juric's men come into the re-match on the back of a 2-2 draw with in-form Genoa, having been within a hair's breadth of sealing a second successive victory until Milan Badelj's powerful stoppage-time equaliser for the Grifone. A hugely entertaining affair, played out at high intensity by both teams, ended with the spoils shared despite Genoa being down to ten men for the final quarter-of-an-hour after they had used all their substitutions and then suffered an injury.

Afterwards, the Gialloblu's demanding coach refused to blame his winter signing Kevin Lasagna - who has been ineffective in front of goal for two clubs now this season - for failing to wrap up the game, given two gilt-edged chances which the former Udinese man somehow spurned. Nonetheless, it was symptomatic of Verona's achilles heel this season, as they have yet to settle on a centre-forward fit to improve their underwhelming strike-rate.

However, the Venetian side have built their relative success upon a disciplined back line that have conceded far fewer than most, with only league leaders Inter, Napoli and Juve keeping things tighter this term.

Certainly, this Saturday, that rearguard resilience will be needed up against top-quality opposition who have benefited from a rare midweek rest.

Hellas Verona Serie A form: LWLLWD

Juventus Serie A form: LWWWLW
Juventus form (all competitions): WWDLLW


Team News

Hellas Verona coach Ivan Juric pictured on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Despite his failings in front of goal, Kevin Lasagna is likely to feature again for Ivan Juric's home side as experienced Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic remains an injury doubt.

Midfielder Ebrima Colley will not return until April due to a knee problem, while Kevin Ruegg, Federico Ceccherini and Pawel Dawidowicz are all expected to be sidelined too.

Key man Federico Dimarco returns from suspension for Verona though, so will come in for fellow defender Mert Cetin, who struggled against Genoa, while Miguel Veloso is fit to contend for a recall in central midfield.

The deepening defensive emergency at Juventus continues, as mainstays Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Juan Cuadrado will miss out due to injury and full-back Danilo must serve a suspension.

Therefore, teenage centre-back Radu Dragusin could be called upon by Andrea Pirlo to start alongside remaining options Merih Demiral, Matthijs de Ligt and Alex Sandro. Alternatively, Federico Chiesa and Gianluca Frabotta could be used as wing-backs in a 3-5-2.

Wojciech Szczesny will return at Gianluigi Buffon's expense in the Bianconeri goal, while Dejan Kulusevski should continue to support Cristiano Ronaldo up front, as Paulo Dybala remains injured and Alvaro Morata is suffering from an intestinal illness.

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Magnani, Gunter, Dimarco; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Barak, Zaccagni; Lasagna

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Demiral, Dragusin, De Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, Bentancur, Rabiot, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo


SM words green background

We say: Hellas Verona 1-2 Juventus

Two particularly tight defences come together at the Bentegodi, though the champions' back line is in disarray due to numerous injuries.

Though Verona were perhaps fortunate to come away with a draw against a dominant Juventus side in the first game last October, they pose a tough proposition on home turf and can push Juve all the way before succumbing to the Old Lady's greater individual quality in the end.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus on January 3, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan30235269274274
2AC Milan30196557352263
3Juventus30188461273462
4Atalanta BCAtalanta30187571383361
5Napoli30192965343159
6Lazio2917484638855
7Roma30166854441054
8SassuoloSassuolo31121095249346
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona31118123938141
10Sampdoria31116144246-439
11Udinese3199133441-736
12Bologna3097143946-734
13Genoa30711123244-1232
14SpeziaSpezia3088144055-1532
15Fiorentina3179153952-1330
16BeneventoBenevento3079143055-2530
17Torino29512124252-1027
18CagliariCagliari3167183554-1925
19Parma31311173263-3120
20Crotone3143243879-4115

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