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Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Cagliari

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It’s off to Sardinia with anything but a full-strength squad.

Juventus v Empoli - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

There are coexisting countdowns going on that involve Juventus right now. The most notable one, because of the goals that this club has set this season, involve how many days there are left until Juve head to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League quarterfinals. The other one, though, doesn’t have anything to do with Juventus’ European aspirations that hang over our head each time they take field in the Champions League.

Nope, none of that.

This has everything to do with the domestic product.

And it doesn’t matter how many Juventus players are hurt for tonight’s trip to Cagliari, Juve are officially making their final approach on the runway to wrapping up an eighth straight Scudetto.

The lead over Napoli still stands at 15 points following the first round of games coming out of the international break. This time however, we’re about to play our first round that starts with a ‘3’ and will be considered in the thirties — which means another three points collected by Juventus means they’re another three points closer to ending this whole thing and putting even more of an emphasis on the Champions League than they already are.

The downside of all of this, though? Just look at the current state of the injury list:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo — injured.
  • Paulo Dybala — injured.
  • Douglas Costa — injured.
  • Juan Cuadrado — injured.
  • Leonardo Spinazzola — injured.
  • Mattia Perin — injured.
  • Andrea Barzagli — injured.
  • Sami Khedira — injured.
  • Mario Mandzukic — sick (fever).

That’s nearly an entire starting XI worth of players not called up for tonight’s trip to Sardinia. Not ideal, and obviously very much not ideal with the Champions League trip to Amsterdam all of a week away now.

Also of note: Today is Miralem Pjanic’s 29th birthday. Nobody wants to let Mire — and his baby boy Edin — down on his birthday.

“Tomorrow will be a difficult game, against a side that are strong at home. Cagliari will look to make a good impression and it will be an interesting match. Juventus always has the great quality to bring the best out of players. This is fundamental for the growth of youngsters.”

Fundamental for the youngsters, yes, Max, that is true. It’s also fundamental for those of us who want to see the team continue to win, continue to get closer to an eighth straight Serie A title and, possibly, fundamental in having a roster that is somewhat helath enough to field an almost-full strength squad against Milan and then Ajax.

So, go out and not screw things up, Juventus.

And, if you’d be so kind, please nobody else get hurt. That’d be nice.

MATCH INFO

When: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Where: Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Italy

Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 7 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. Eastern Time; 12 Noon Pacific Time

STARTING LINEUPS

Juventus starting XI (3-5-2/3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; De Sciglio, Emre Can, Pjanic, Matuidi, Alex Sandro; Bernardeschi, Kean

Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Del Favero, Cancelo, Rugani, Bentancur, Kastanos, Nicolussi Caviglia, Mavididi

Cagliari starting XI (4-3-1-2): Cragno; Srna, Pisacane, Ceppitelli, Lykogiannis; Faragò, Cigarini, Ionita; Barella; Pavoletti, Joao Pedro

Cagliari bench: Aresti, Rafael, Pellegrini, Romagna, Birsa, Bradaric, Deiola, Oliva, Padoin, Cerri, Despodov, Thereau

HOW TO WATCH

Television: TLN (Canada); Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1

Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); 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.