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Champions League preview: Juventus look to stop Harry Kane's Tottenham Hotspur as a unit

By Arpan Bhandari
Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus with striker Gonzalo Higuain

Bengaluru, February 13: Tottenham Hotspur, high on confidence after a dominating win against Arsenal in the North London Derby, visit Turin to take on Juventus in the first leg of their round of 16 fixture at The Juventus Stadum on Tuesday night (1.15 am IST on Wednesday).

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While Tottenham are upbeat over striker Harry Kane's form, Juventus are a compact unit who are touted to put a stop to Kane's insane goalscoring touch this season.

Game in OPTA numbers

Juventus, who are currently positioned second in Italy's Serie A, have 11 back-to-back wins in all competitions. While the Bianconeri look to continue their form in the Champions League, Tottenham themselves have been on a high flying form. Having beaten Manchester United and Arsenal at home and also earning a point away at Anfield against Liverpool, the Spurs are placed fifth in the Premier League. Tottenham have bettered their last season's dismal run already by making the knockout stages of the competition. They will further push themselves to see how far they can go this season in the competition.

Defeat to PSG could end Zizou's tenure

Juventus, on the other hand, lost to Real Madrid in the final of the tournament last season and nothing less than an appearance in the final will satisfy them this time.

No Alderweireld, Dybala

Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld has not travelled for the fixture. Sky Sports report that a decision has been taken to leave the defender in London to continue working on his rehabilitation. The defender has been sidelined for the last three months with a hamstring injury.

Lucas Moura, who came in during the January transfer window, has been registered as a member of the squad to play the rest of the tournament. The Brazilian did not make an appearance for his former club Paris Saint-Germain in the group stages of the competition and is hence not cup-tied.

Juventus too will miss a key player in Argentine attacking mid-fielder Pablo Dybala. The 24-year-old last played for the Italian side on January 6 against Cagilari. He was withdrawn in that game after 50 minutes and has been out since with a hamstring injury. Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi and defender Benedikt Howedes are sidelined and Andrea Barzagli is also a doubt for Tuesday's encounter.


Defender Giorgio Chiellini felt Tottenham are a great side with Harry Kane, but that will not stop them from going all out for the win.

"Kane is now among the elite players in the world. Over the last years, with the goals he has scored, he has been on the level of the best," the Juve defender said, via the Mirror. "Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar - Kane has been on that level. He is one of those players that is irreplaceable and I am sure that Tottenham will be doing all they can to make sure he stays."

Chiellini admitted that it will be difficult for him alone to stop Kane. "Stopping Kane one-on-one with me alone is pretty much impossible. That's not my plan, but instead for the whole team to stop Tottenham which is the most important thing," he was quoted as saying by "It's true that one-on-one clashes are important, but the entire team has to do its best to limit not just Kane but other players too. They have a great front four in attack who link up very well together. We should not just think about Tottenham as Harry Kane, but as a whole team."

Kane too was high on confidence ahead of the big clash. Kane has 23 goals to his credit this season and has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last four seasons for Spurs. "Nobody expected us to get out of our Champions League group and so we come here with great confidence," he told reporters on the eve of the match. "We respect Juventus but we come here with plenty of belief. It will be tough but hopefully we can get the job done."

Meanwhile, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has called on his team to replicate their Premier League success in the Champions League round-of-16 match against FC Basel. Pep Guardiola's side are 16 points clear of Manchester United in the Premier League table and will be high on confidence against Basel, who are second-placed in the Swiss league behind Young Boys.

Read: 'Need to mature on big stage'

Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur

Champions League last-16

Live on Sony Ten Network

At 1.15 am (Wednesday, February 14)

FC Basel vs Manchester City

Champions League last-16

Live on Sony Ten Network

At 1.15 am (Wednesday, February 14)

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    Story first published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 11:29 [IST]
    Other articles published on Feb 13, 2018
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