Maybe this goes 90 minutes. Maybe this goes 120 minutes. At this point, when this post goes live to the internet, we clearly don’t know how long this decisive second leg of the Europa League playoff round will go.
But we know that it is, indeed, decisive.
Juventus and Nantes enter tonight’s second leg of the Europa League playoff round even on the aggregate scoreline. It’s 1-1 even though it probably shouldn’t have been 1-1 all things considered. But, that’s what it reads, therefore that’s what we are going to go with. Despite the VAR calls, the shots that hit off some sort of woodwork and all of the scoring chances that Juventus did have seven days ago in Turin, it’s still 1-1. And because of it, Juve manager Max Allegri and his squad head into tonight’s second leg very much playing for their Europa League lives.
Yep, it’s do or die time, folks.
Ir doesn’t matter if it’s 90 minutes or 120 minutes.
Juventus has one option and one option only — to win this game and advance to the Europa League Round of 16.
Anything other than that would be the latest failure in a season that has seen plenty of drama on and off the field. This is Juve’s chance, at least in terms of advancement, to continue in what looks like one of the few chances they have left to get into Europe next season. While there might be better teams left in the tournament — including the teams atop the standings in the Premier League and La Liga — the Europa League is something that Juventus can succeed in if Allegri gets things right.
But that involves getting things right. It involves other things, too, but Allegri has to get things right from the start tonight or else it will be a rough 90 minutes afoot.
Yes, even against Nantes, the team that sits in 13th place in Ligue 1. If that doesn’t happen, this could just end up being the latest night to be added to the list of European knockout round failures from the last half-decade.
When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.
Where: Beaujoire Stadium, Nantes, France.
Official kickoff time: 6:45 p.m. local time in France and around Europe, 5:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 12:45 p.m. Eastern time, 9:45 a.m. Pacific time.
Juventus starting XI (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; De Sciglio, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria; Kean.
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, Gatti, Bonucci, Rugani, Cuadrado, Paredes, Barrenechea, Vlahović, Soulé, Iling-Junior.
Nantes starting XI (3-4-2-1): Lafont; Castelletto, Girotto, Pallois; Centonze, Sissoko, Chirivella, Simon; Blas, Mollet; Delort.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TUDN USA (United States); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 253, Sky Sport 4K (Italy).
Online/Streaming: Paramount+, TUDN.com, TUDN App (United States); DAZN (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport App (United Kingdom); DAZN, 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.