It has been 96 days since we’ve been able to say this:
Hello, everybody, and welcome to a Juventus match day. I know it’s been a while, but don’t feel like you need to reintroduce yourself around here. We’re friends. We’ve all got the same rooting interest. And that, today, is the fact that Juve are going to play their first competitive football match in 3 1⁄2 months — and it’s not because the last time they played was the final fixture of a season.
I guess it’s fitting that the restart of Juventus’ season comes against a team that calls the San Siro home after playing the other team that has “Milan” in its name the last time there was an actual game that meant something at Allianz Stadium. Tonight is about the Coppa Italia semifinals. A few days from now, it could also be about the Coppa Italia — a final against either Napoli or Inter Milan.
This is the reality for the next couple of months, folks. There will be a game, and then there’s another game a couple days from now. Essentially, if you are the kind of person who dwells on Juventus playing like crap one day, you won’t have much of a chance to have it rattling around in your head because things are going to be just that busy. When Juventus take the field tonight against Milan, it will be a complete unknown in front of what is expected to be around 300 people total between players, training staff, stadium workers and club management teams.
Like I said, new reality.
Who knows what to really expect when it comes to the second leg of this Coppa Italia semifinal knowing that the first 90 minutes of the tie came nearly four months ago. How do we know where to set the bar knowing that the coronavirus suspension of play came right after one of Juventus’ best performances of the season against Inter?
So now we just wait. And hope that Juve advance to the Coppa Italia final, too, of course. But mostly just wait to see if anything good can come out of these first couple of fixtures as Juve tries to shake off the rust and actually look like a team again. Step by step.
These two dudes are ready for the games to begin again. And knowing that we haven’t seen Juventus play a game in over three months, I’m guessing that you all are as well.
When: Friday, June 12, 2020
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; 12 p.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Buffon; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Khedira, Cuadrado, Rugani, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, Olivieri, Muratore, Vrioni, Zanimacchia
AC Milan starting XI (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma: Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Calabria; Kessie, Bennacer; Paqueta, Calhanoglu, Bonaventura; Rebic
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Uno (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); FloSports (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (United Kingdom); RAI 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.