Football: Juventus have to rely on favours to make progress

FOR THE second consecutive season, Juventus enter the last day of Champions' League qualifiers knowing they must win and then rely on the result of another game to qualify for the last eight.

Juventus go into tonight's home tie with the Norwegian side, Rosenborg Trondheim, in Turin trailing both Rosenborg and the Turkish champions, Galatasaray, by three points.

The Italians have to win and hope that Athletic Bilbao, already out of the competition, beat Galatasaray in Spain. Out-of-sorts Juventus have drawn all five Champions' League ties and lost three of their last five Serie A games to drop to sixth place.

For a side who have won three of the last four Italian championships and reached three consecutive European Cup finals between 1996 and 1998, such poor form has inevitably raised doubts. But the French World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane declared: "If I thought we were at the end of a cycle, I'd leave immediately. It's true that we've gone eight games without a win, but I feel that we're lacking very, very little to get ourselves back on the right path."

For the visitors, Rosenborg, however, there is nothing new about upsetting famous Italian names. Two years ago they eliminated Milan with a 2-1 win at San Siro. Norwegian media and fans alike are hoping for another glory night for the side who this season collected their seventh consecutive league title.

For Juventus, Alessandro Del Piero, out for the season with a knee injury, is replaced by Nicola Amoruso, who partners Filippo Inzaghi in attack. Zidane returns to his habitual free-ranging midfield role alongside compatriot Didier Deschamps, Antonio Conte and Angelo Di Livio.

The Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids, out for the last month, will start the game on the bench but the midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi is suspended. With Ciro Ferrara injured, Mark Iuliano and the Uruguyan, Paolo Montero, form the central defence. Alessandro Birindelli and Gianluca Pessotto may fill the full-back berths.

Rosenborg, who have been training in Nice, are likely to replace Bent Skammelsrud, a veteran of 33 Champions' League ties, with Bent Inge Johnsen, who has played in just one. The defenders Andre Bergdolmo and Morten Pedersen are both back from injury. They will be led up front by Sigurd Rushfeldt, a hat-trick hero in a 3-0 defeat of Galatasaray and a player being watched by a number of English clubs.

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