This Thursday, the Juventus Stadium plays host to one of the two semi-finals matches in the Coppa Italia. The Bianconeri welcome rivals Fiorentina to Turin. The relationship between the two teams hasn’t been the same since the controversial transfer of Roberto Baggio from Fiorentina to Juventus.
As for the actual game, both teams come into the game in good runs of form. Juventus is still atop the Serie A and are making progress in the Champions League, while Fiorentina is enjoying a 12-match unbeaten run. The two teams have met once this season, a clash that resulted in a 0-0 score line. Juventus advanced in the Coppa Italia by scrapping by Parma. As for the Viola, they stormed into the semi-finals by beating Roma handily.
Injuries will play a key role in this clash with key players missing for each team. Fiorentina are still without star forward Giuseppe Rossi and recently have lost Nenad Tomovic, Stefan Savic, and Khouma Babacar. The home side will be without their midfield maestro Andre Pirlo, who is still recovering from a nagging injury.
It has recently come out that Vincenzo Montella may be on his way out of Florence to become the new coach of Milan next season. It will be interesting to see if this affects his players in any way as they approach their toughest month yet. This will be the first of three matchups between the two clubs (two in the Coppa Italia, and one in the Serie A). The return leg for this fixture is April 7th at the Artemio Franchi.
Players to watch:
Carlos Tevez: Tevez has hit his stride of late, netting crucial goals for his side in both the Champions League and clashes against Serie A heavyweights. Not to mention the sublime free kick he scored on Monday night against Roma.
Mohamed Salah: The Egyptian has been a man on a mission ever since he arrived in Florence. Desperate to prove his doubters wrong, Salah has enjoyed his loan spell thus far netting three goals in four appearances. Salah has been a bit of a revelation for La Viola and is quickly becoming one of the fan favorites.
Prediction: Juventus 1-1 Fiorentina (Goals from Tevez and Gomez)