Juventus faced Benfica needing all three points to maintain their Champions League knockout hopes, and their bags were about to be packed when the Portuguese powerhouses roared into a 4-1 lead at the Estadio da Luz. The unlikely almost happened.
Weston McKennie and Arkadiusz Milik scored two quick goals just before the 80-minute mark to set up a thrilling finish, but the Old Lady lacked the stamina to score the two additional goals they so desperately needed, and their run in the top division of Europe came to an end.
Not since the 2013-14 season had Juventus failed to make it out of the group stage in the Champions League, but the under-fire Allegri still retains the faith of the powers-that-be as his third-placed side seek to hold off the threat of Maccabi Haifa to qualify for the Europa League.
With Nicolo Fagioli scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Leece at the weekend, a three-game winning streak and three clean sheets in Serie A have at least helped to quiet some of the dissenting voices. Additionally, the Turin administration has been kind to the coach recently.
In fact, Allegri’s team welcomes PSG to their base after winning each of their last three home games and scoring at least twice in five of their last six games on home soil. However, they also run the risk of becoming just the second Italian team to lose five group games in a single Champions League campaign, joining 2004-05 Roma.
In recent weeks, PSG’s defensive coaches have had their work cut out for them. Fortunately for Christophe Galtier, however, his celebrated attacking trio has chosen to ignore the commotion surrounding all of their off-field efforts in order to continue their impressive run in front of goal.
The ongoing PSG soap opera has seen new episodes involving Lionel Messi’s contract, Kylian Mbappe’s future, and Neymar’s current legal issues.
However, all three players performed admirably in last week’s 7-2 thrashing of Maccabi Haifa, which solidified Les Parisiens’ place in the knockout stages.
Additionally, all three had to save PSG from trouble over the weekend after Troyes gave them quite a scare before winning 4-3 at Parc des Princes.
Their fourth win on the bounce in all competitions and one which keeps them out of sight at the top of Ligue 1.
PSG and Benfica have been evenly matched throughout the group stage, but Galtier’s team only needs to finish higher than their rivals on matchday six to win the group. Their current unbeaten streak in all competitions is 28 games.
The French champions have never defeated the Old Lady on the road in Europe, despite winning each of their last four final group-stage games in the Champions League with at least four goals scored in each game. They also defeated Juve 2-1 earlier this season.
PSG although being the away side come into this match as hot favourites. Their odds of winning this one are at 1.67.
The possibility of a stalemate stands at 4.65, and a win for Juventus is at 5.70.
Since Allegri’s injury crisis is getting worse by the week, Juventus are also in serious trouble and cannot always rely on their talented forward line to save them.
At a venue where goals have been plentiful, the hosts can feel confident about penetrating the Parisiens’ porous backline even without Vlahovic.
However, a fully-charged PSG could expose a vulnerable Juventus XI to finish first and put the Old Lady in danger of missing out on European football totally after the World Cup.