This is what we officially call in the business as “the game after the extremely disappointing European result.” Catchy, isn’t it? (We’re going to trademark it some day and make some big bucks!) It’s something that Juventus has known was coming ever since they stepped off the Allianz Stadium turf after losing 3-0 to Real Madrid.
In a perfect world, this would be a game where Max Allegri rests a huge chunk of his starting lineup because there’s a fighter’s chance in the second leg against Real Madrid next week.
In reality, a good number of Juve’s regular starters will likely play because the chances of Napoli getting closer to the top spot in Serie A as a result probably won’t be as big.
Today, it’s the worst team in Italy’s top flight against the team that has won six straight Serie A titles and is looking to make it seven in just a few weeks. It’s the team that has allowed 45 more goals than it has scored going up against a team that has, once again, a goal differential that few teams in Europe can rival.
All of that is great. All of that makes us think that this should be a simple three points to try and get. (Although, for the record, we thought the same thing when Benevento came to Turin in November and it turned out to be anything but routine.) All of it is set up for Juventus to go up by seven points for at least a couple of hours
But I’m still pissed off about what happened on Tuesday night.
And I’m probably not the only one.
No, this isn’t the game we all hoped it would be where we wonder “Why on earth is Player X/Y/Z playing?” when the starting lineups are announced because there’s an incredibly important Champions League game just a few days away. What happened on Tuesday kinda took all of that away from us because Juve head to Spain needing at least three away goals to have any kind of hope of making the semifinals.
This is, however, a game that matters. Maybe not as much as we hoped the next one would have this time last weekend, but this means something when it comes to Juventus maintaining at least a four-point lead atop the Serie A table. Right now, as much as it might sting to say it, is what matters the most to Juventus.
We can think about pulling a complete rabbit out of our you-know-what come a few hours from now. But, when it comes to the here and now, it’s all eyes on Benevento — and that’s no matter how much of a wounded duck this Juventus team currently resembles.
When: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Where: Stadio Ciro Vigorito, Benevento, Italy
Kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. on the East Coast; 6 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-3-2-1): Szczesny; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Benatia, Alex Sandro; Marchisio, Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Dybala; Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Howedes, Asamoah, De Sciglio, Bentancur, Khedira, Sturaro, Douglas Costa, Higuain
Benevento starting XI (4-2-3-1): Puggioni; Sagna, Djimsiti, Tosca, Venuti; Viola, Sandro; Guilherme, Brignola, Djuricic; Diabaté
HOW TO WATCH
Television: beIN SPORTS USA, Rai Italia America (United States); beIN Sports Canada, Rai Italia America (Canada); PremiumSport HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
Online/Mobile: beIN SPORTS CONNECT, fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, DAZN Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); SKY Go Italia, Premium Play (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.
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