Nantes will entertain Juventus at the Stade de la Beaujoire in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League knockout round playoffs on Thursday. The two teams met at the Juventus Stadium in the first leg last week, playing out a 1-1 draw.
Dušan Vlahović gave Juventus the lead in the 13th minute of the game and in-form striker Ludovic Blas scored the equalizing goal in the 60th minute. Nantes suffered a 3-1 defeat in Ligue 1 against Lens on Sunday while Juventus returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 win over Spezia in Serie A.
With the spoils being shared in the first leg of the playoffs, it all comes down to the second leg as the winner of the match progresses into the round of 16. If the hosts win, they will be in the knockout round of the competition for the first time since the 2000-01 edition. Juventus last made it to the knockout stage of the Europa League in the 2013-14 season.
Les Canaris have seen under 2.5 goals in seven of their last eight games in all competitions, scoring more than one goal in a match just once in that period. They have picked up just one win in their last three home games and might struggle here.
They are playing in Europe after more than two decades and the pressure of this crucial tie might get the better of them in this match.
After a slow start to the year, the Bianconeri have seen an upturn in form and are undefeated in their last five games, recording four wins. They have a slight advantage in terms of squad quality and also have the upper hand in experience, which should come in handy for Massimiliano Allegri’s men to secure a win.
Prediction: Nantes 1-2 Juventus
This match will start from 11:15 pm
This match will take place on 23 February 2023
Nantes will still be without forward Quentin Merlin who is nursing a groin injury, while Ignatius Ganago has been granted time away from the first team following the tragic loss of his five-year-old daughter.
Defensive duo Jean-Charles Castelletto and Nicolas Pallois have both emerged as doubts after missing last weekend’s defeat to Lens with respective groin and muscle problems; Joao Victor and Charles Traore could therefore retain their places in the back three.
Pedro Chirivella is set to return to centre-midfield at the expense of Florent Mollet, while Blas – who leads every Nantes player for goals (3), assists (3), shots (22) and chances created (15) in this season’s Europa League – is expected to replace Moses Simon in attack.
As for Juventus, Paul Pogba (knee), Arkadiusz Milik (muscle), Fabio Miretti (ankle) and Kaio Jorge (knee) all remain sidelined as they continue to recover from long-term injuries.
Lafont; Victor, Girotto, Pallois; Centonze, Sissoko, Chirivella, Moutoussamy, Coco; Blas, Mohamed
Szczesny; De Sciglio, Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Fragioli, Locatelli, Rabiot; Di Maria, Vlahovic, Kostic
We say: Nantes 1-2 Juventus (Juventus to win 3-2 on aggregate)
Nantes will relish their role as underdogs in front of their home supporters, and, as they demonstrated in the first leg, have the credentials to cause problems for Juventus on Thursday.
However, the Italians boast plenty of European experience and, on paper, have a stronger squad that should be capable of grinding out a slender victory to advance to the last 16.
Tip 1: Result – Juventus
Tip 2: Goals – Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Over 2.5
Tip 3: At least a goal to be scored in the first half – Yes
Tip 4: Ludovic Blas to score or assist any time – Yes
Tip 5: Juventus to score first – Yes
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Juventus win with a probability of 43.84%. A win for Nantes has a probability of 30.45% and a draw has a probability of 25.7%.
The most likely scoreline for a Juventus win is 0-1 with a probability of 10.29%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome are 1-2 (9.02%) and 0-2 (7.6%). The likeliest Nantes win is 1-0 (8.28%), while for a drawn scoreline it is 1-1 (12.21%).
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