First Meets Last in Serie A as Juventus Aims to Bounce Back From Real Madrid Thrashing

Juventus can turn its focus to clinching a seventh straight Serie A title after a disappointing Champions League first leg vs. Real Madrid.
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With their UEFA Champions League hopes now in tatters, Juventus' focus will now solely be on claiming their seventh Serie A title in a row.

They'll look to bounce back - after their midweek calamity against Real Madrid - against a Benevento side who sit rock bottom in Serie A and have picked up 13 points this campaign. 

I Bianconeri's long standing unbeaten record at home came to an abrupt end when the sheer brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid condemned them to a 3-0 defeat in their own backyard.

Although things may seem despondent on the European stage, Massimiliano Allegri's men have one hand on the Scudetto, as they sit at the head of the Serie A table, four points ahead of nearest rivals Napoli.

As for Benevento, they look to be already down and their short stint in Italy's top division has been nothing short of a disaster. They sit in 20th position, 13 points from safety with eight games to go, and would need more than a miracle to retain their Serie A status. 

Massimiliano Allegri will know that his side has no time for complacency as they look to extend their lead in Serie A. Here's everything you'll need to know ahead of Saturday's clash.

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Previous Encounter

Juventus 2-1 Benevento (2017/18)

The only previous encounter between the sides was back in early November this season, at a time when Juventus only just avoided the ignominy of becoming the first side to concede points to Benevento. 

Benevento went into the game having lost all 11 matches they had played and endured a miserable start to life in Serie A.

The Juve fans were stunned when the away side took the lead in the 19th minute when

Mato Ciciretti curled in a brilliant free kick to give the team with zero points a shock lead in Turin.

However, Benevento's jubilation was short-lived, as after the break Gonzalo Higuain equalised with a half volley to equalize. 

Former Chelsea forward Juan Cuadrado scored the winner when he headed home in the 66th minute, subsequently handing Benevento their 12th defeat in 12 games.

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Key Battle

Gonzalo Higuain vs Berat Djimsiti

The Argentine is going into the clash on Saturday on the back of a good run of form, collecting a tally of six goals in his last eight games in Serie A.

The former Real Madrid striker will be thrilled at the prospect of coming up against a side that have conceded 69 goals in the league this season - which is the most of any side in Europe's top five leagues. 

The task to try and to stop the in-form striker will be assigned to Albanian international Berat Djimsiti. The Benevento defender couldn't stop Higuain in the reverse fixture in November, but he will be looking to put his body on the line to try and halt any effort on goal which will come from the Argentine duo, Higuain and Paulo Dybala. 

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Team News

Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia and midfielder Miralem Pjanic return for Juventus after being suspended for the midweek clash in the Champions League.

Max Allegri has no new injury concerns as his side look to get back to winning ways on the road.

As for the home side, Benevento are hoping to welcome back trio Bacary Sagna, Nicolas Viola and Ledian Memushaj for the game against the Italian champions.

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Potential Lineups:

Potential Benevento Starting Lineup: Puggioni, Venuti, Djimsiti, Tosca, Letizia, Sandro, Viola, Brignola, Djuricic, Del Pinto, Diabate

Potential Juventus Starting Lineup: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Higuain.

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Juventus will be looking to bounce back from their midweek disappointment against a Benevento side that have looked out of their depth for much of the campaign. 

I Bianconeri should have no trouble getting back on track in this game as they look to consolidate their spot at the top of the Serie A table. 

Although the reverse fixture in Turin was a fairly tight affair, this game may have a different look about it as Allegri will need to rally his men to try and get a convincing win on board.

They'll need to block out the Champions League for the time being, but the second leg fixture on Wednesday is sure to be in the back of the players' minds on Saturday.

Prediction: Benevento 0-3 Juventus