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Morata possible starter for Juve at Zenit as Dybala still out

Milan (AFP) – Alvaro Morata could start for Juventus in this week’s Champions League trip to Zenit Saint Petersburg after recovering from a thigh injury, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Tuesday.

Spain forward Morata had been out of action since picking up the knock against Sampdoria towards the end of last month but after playing around 20 minutes against Roma on Sunday the 28-year-old is available to start as Group H leaders Juve look to move closer to early qualification for the knockout stage.

“Morata is well, he has fully recovered and he could start the match,” Allegri told reporters.

Allegri also confirmed Paulo Dybala, who also injured his thigh against Samp, would not feature on Wednesday but is in contention for the weekend’s trip to fierce rivals Inter Milan..

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and central defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt were confirmed as starters.

“Paulo is working hard, he’s not yet restarted training with the squad,” said Allegri. 

“He should be available for Inter, so will have the possibility from Sunday to get some minutes in his legs.”

Juve have six points from their two group fixtures after strolling past Malmo in their opening match and surprising European champions Chelsea last time out.

The 1-0 win over the Blues came after a series of wobbly displays which left Juve well off the pace domestically, but three single goal wins in their last three games have calmed nerves in Turin.

They are three points ahead of both Chelsea and Zenit going into Wednesday’s clash and Poland’s Szczesny said the team has renewed belief in its ability to close out games after throwing away leads earlier in the season.

“This team is good, we have good players, but you can’t always think you can win matches by two or three goals. Every now and again you need to win 1-0,” said Szczesny. 

“That’s what’s changed, the desire from everyone to defend and to sacrifice themselves. You can see the difference on the pitch.”

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