Timeoue Bakayoko is a major doubt while Sami Khedira is suspended as AS Monaco host Juventus in the Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday.
AS Monaco and Juventus face off in one of the most highly anticipated Champions League knockout matches in recent memory, and the first leg sees the principality club host the Bianconeri at Stade Louis II. Here’s the team news for both sides ahead of their fifth meeting on Wednesday.
Leonardo Jardim does not have many fitness issues to deal with as he has just one key first-team player doubtful for the match. That man is Tiemoue Bakayoko, and the Monaco boss is sweating over his availability after he suffered a broken nose in a training ground incident involving teammate Kamil Glik.
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His availability will be assessed prior to the match, and Joao Moutinho is expected to start if Bakayoko does not feature on Wednesday. Speaking on Bakayoko’s availability, Jardim said: “For Bakayoko we will see tomorrow. A new mask arrives tomorrow. We’ll see if it works well.”
Meanwhile, French right-back Djibril Sidibe is back in the first team fold for the first time in nearly a month having recovered from appendicitis. However, should Sidibe not be fit enough to play a part right from the start, Nabil Dirar could continue in his stead on the right side of the Monaco defence.
In the Juventus dugout, meanwhile, Massimiliano Allegri, too, does not have many injury concerns on his hands. But he will be without the services of three first team players for the trip to Monaco, with Marko Pjaca, Daniele Rugani and Sami Khedira missing out.
Croatian forward Pjaca is a long-term absentee as he is sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury that has brought a premature end to his campaign. He has been joined on the sidelines by the highly-rated centre-back Rugani, who sustained an injury to his knee last week.
Rugani, too, is unlikely to feature again this season, but Allegri has enough central defenders to call upon for the remainder of the campaign, with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini set to be deployed at the heart of the Juventus defence on Wednesday.
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The biggest absentee, however, is Khedira, who is suspended for the first leg and will only be able to play a part for the return leg in Turin next week. In his absence, veteran midfielder Claudio Marchisio will partner Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic in the centre of the park.
Allergri confirmed the same in his pre-match press conference, as he said he is ready to put his faith in Marchisio on Wednesday. He said: “Marchisio will come in for Khedira (suspension), but it won’t change anything about the way we play.
“Sami is more physical so what we will be losing in muscle, we will be gaining in agility and movement from Claudio. He’s in top shape at the moment and has come on brilliantly in the past month; his return will give us a real boost from now until the end of the season.”