Maurizio Sarri came right out and declared that Lokomotiv Moscow’s visit to Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night is a trap game. What makes it a trap, you might be asking yourself? Well, besides the fact that Juventus were projected to win Group D and Lokomotiv weren’t expected to do much of anything is, in Sarri’s words from his pre-match press conference, the following:
“The trap is playing against a team who are having a great season,” Sarri said of Lokomotiv Moscow on Monday. “They’ve put themselves in a good position in the Champions League, and that means this team are better than what everyone expected.”
There you have it.
There is your explanation as to why this game, one that is the official midway point of the Champions League group stage for Juventus, is considered a trap by Sarri himself.
Juventus, ahead in Group D simply because of goal differential, can take sole possession of first place in its Champions League group with a second straight win on the European stage at Allianz Stadium. There’s going to have to be a little bit of help for that to happen, obviously, with Joao Felix-less Atlético Madrid facing the clearly struggling Bayer Leverkusen, who is the only team in Group D that has yet to record a point through the first two group stage games.
But, as Sarri was quick to point out, as much progress as Juventus has made over the course of the first two months of the 2019-20 season, the trap is that Lokomotiv is quietly having a very good season, especially in Europe thus far. There’s the comfort of being at home, the comfort of playing well right now and just the simple fact that Juventus are the better side no matter how you look at it.
And it’s been the kind of game, at least in the recent past, where that trap has been something that trips Juventus up in some way or another.
So, for many of us, we’re hoping that Juve are able to avoid the trap and continue the impressive early-season success they’ve had under their brand new manager. They’ve pretty well at home so far this season, and another one of those kinds of showings will surely get the job done on the European stage once again.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. Eastern Time; High Noon Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bentancur; Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Danilo, Higuain, Rugani, Rabiot, Demiral, Bernardeschi
Lokomotiv Moscow starting XI (4-1-4-1): Guilherme; Ignatyev, Howedes, Corluka, Idowu; Murilo; Al Miranchuk, Barinov, Krychowiak, Joao Mario; Eder
Lokomotiv Moscow bench: Kochenkov, Zhivoglyadov, Kolomeytsev, Kverkvelia, Magkeev, Tugarev, Kulikov
HOW TO WATCH
Television: Galavision (UnitedStates); BT Sport Extra (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Calcio 2 (Italy)
Online/mobile: B/R Live, Univision NOW (United States); DAZN (Canada); Sky GO Italia (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.