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Juventus star Higuain passed fit for Tottenham clash but Mandzukic misses out

Gonzalo Higuain has been named in Juventus’ squad to face Tottenham but Massimiliano Allegri’s side will be without Mario Mandzukic.

Argentina striker Higuain trained on Tuesday and has been declared fit for the second leg of the last-16 tie at Wembley.

The 30-year-old, who scored twice and missed a penalty in last month’s 2-2 draw in Turin, missed the Bianconeri’s previous two matches with an ankle injury.

His timely return softens the blow of Mandzukic’s absence.

The Croatia international is battling a thigh problem and was not among the 21-man party that departed for London on Tuesday.

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Juve travel to Tottenham on the back of an incredible run of form with Allegri’s men unbeaten in their last 20 games in all competitions.

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Higuain, 30, is the Old Lady’s top goalscorer with 20 strikes to his name so far in all competitions.

Juventus’ full squad for Spurs clash: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Szczesny, Del Favero, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Alex Sandro, Barzagli, Rugani, Lichtsteiner, Pjanic, Khedira, Marchisio, Matuidi, Asamoah, Sturaro, Bentancur, Higuain, Dybala, Costa.

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Pochettino: Higuain is one of the greatest like Kane

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino warned his players to be “careful” against Gonzalo Higuain as the Juventus striker, who he sees as one of the game’s best along with Harry Kane, prepares for a timely return from injury.

The Argentina international trained on Tuesday to ease fears he would miss the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at Wembley on Wednesday.

Higuain has been sidelined for Juve’s last two matches with an ankle problem.

But the 30-year-old, who scored twice and missed a penalty in the 2-2 first-leg draw in Turin last month, now looms as a major threat to Spurs’ hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, with Pochettino in no doubt over his quality.

“I think he is one of the greatest strikers in the world, with Harry Kane,” Pochettino said of his compatriot.

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“We know his talent very well and sometimes it is not easy to stop him. Like Paulo Dybala or Lionel Messi, this type of player.

“We need to be careful with him but also careful with all of their players we are going to play against on Wednesday.”

Spurs are in a strong position after Kane and Christian Eriksen both struck valuable away goals in the first leg, but Pochettino insists his side will not sit back and hold on for a low-scoring draw on the night.

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“We are a brave team – very positive people that love the challenge,” he said.

“We need to think we can win, we always think in this way, and then what happens will be a consequence of our performance.

“If we perform the way we usually do we will be close to winning and going through to the next stage.”

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Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Tottenham Hotspur host Juventus at Wembley in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie on Wednesday night.

Spurs recovered from 2 goals down in February’s first leg in Turin to come away with a 2-2 draw and firmly put themselves into the driving seat for the return match.

It was that match in Italy that shaped each side’s odds to win the entire tournament, with Tottenham at 14/1 (15.0) and Juve pushed way out to 25/1 (26.0).

Latest odds

Mauricio Pochettino’s men are 23/20 (2.15) favourites to win inside 90 minutes and record a 15th victory in 22 games in all competitions.

The Bianconeri, meanwhile, are 23/10 (3.30) to triumph in their second ever encounter with the London outfit, while a draw is also 23/10 (3.30).

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Team News

Paulo Dybala’s recent return from a two-month injury lay-off is timely for Juventus, as is the recovery of Gonzalo Higuain, who trained with the group on Monday and is expected to be on the bench.

However, Mario Mandzukic has not been included in the squad by coach Max Allegri.

Tottenham will be without Toby Alderweireld due to a hamstring injury but Jan Vertonghen recovered from the same problem to start Saturday’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield and should play here.

Oppose goals

A low-scoring game would suit Pochettino’s men, who can progress in 90 minutes with a victory or a draw by the score of 0-0 or 1-1.

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Juve, though, are the only team in Europe’s top five major leagues yet to concede domestically this calendar year, helped by experience at the back in Mehdi Benatia, Andrea Barzagli, and legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The under 2.5 goals market might therefore appeal, although it is perhaps slightly short at 8/11 (1.73).

Preview and predictions

Our best bet is the 9/5 (2.80) on Spurs to win with under 3.5 goals.

While we can expect both teams to be organised for large periods, the onus will be mainly on Juve to win the second leg and eventually, that could feed into the home side’s hands.

Betting Banner - Best BetSpurs to win and under 3.5 goals 9/5 (2.8) for a 3pt stake with dabblebet 

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Juventus sweating on Higuain ahead of crunch clash with Spurs

Gonzalo Higuain faces a race to be fit in time for Juventus’ Champions League trip to Tottenham but fellow forward Paulo Dybala will return to Massimiliano Allegri’s starting line-up for Saturday’s game at Lazio.

Higuain sustained an ankle injury during the derby against Torino two weeks ago and, even though he was given an international recall by Argentina on Thursday, he is still not ready for a return to club action.

Conversely, Dybala missed out on a place in Jorge Sampaoli’s national squad but Allegri views him as the man for the job in attack at the Stadio Olimpico despite a recent hamstring problem.

“Higuain won’t be ready,” he told reporters. “He still has a bit of nuisance with his ankle.

“As for London, we’ll think about that in a few days. You have to be confident.

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“We will think about the Champions League next week. Now, let’s focus on tomorrow’s game. It’s a very important game for us and for them. It will be a very big day for all of Serie A.

“Dybala will be in the game from the first minute.”

The capital clubs could have a major impact on the destination of the Scudetto, with leaders Napoli entertaining Roma after Lazio host Juve.

Allegri’s men were beaten by the Biancocelesti in a dramatic Supercoppa Italiana last August, while Simone Inzaghi’s men also prevailed at the Allianz Stadium in Serie A two months later.

“We lost the last two games due to making mistakes,” Allegri said when assessing Juve’s third-placed opponents.

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“They are a physical and technical team who deserve the position they have.

“They give little away and are well trained by Inzaghi. Moreover they are very good on high balls and in the aerial battles.

“[Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic is one of the most interesting young players in Europe and you don’t need my judgement to say that.”

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Higuain a doubt for Tottenham return, Allegri confirms

Massimiliano Allegri has cast doubt upon whether Gonzalo Higuain will be fit to return for Juventus’ Champions League showdown with Tottenham.

Argentina striker Higuain missed Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Atalanta at the Allianz Stadium, a result that secured a 2-0 aggregate victory and a place in the Coppa Italia final.

Miralem Pjanic converted a penalty 15 minutes from time in Higuain’s absence and Allegri told Rai Sports his record signing is facing a battle to make Saturday’s crunch Serie A trip to Lazio.

The match at Wembley on March 7 could also arrive too soon for the former Real Madrid striker to be involved. 

“Higuain is not available right now,” Allegri said. “He hasn’t trained for a few days and we’ll see if he is available on Saturday.

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“That is the most important game right now – London and Tottenham can wait. It’s not an obsession.

“I realise it’s an important game in a marvellous stadium and we want to progress with a good performance on the European stage, but it mustn’t be an obsession.

“There are always moments in a season where things go wrong and there are injuries, but we won’t waste time crying over spilt milk. We should always thing positive and will always find a way.”

Higuain scored both Juventus goals but also smashed a penalty against the crossbar as Spurs were allowed to come from behind and claim a 2-2 draw in Turin.

Wednesday’s result against Atalanta kept Juve on course for a fourth consecutive domestic double and Allegri hopes such pedigree will have a bearing on the return against Tottenham.

“When you are a big club, you must combine beautiful football with results. It’s a very fine line,” he added.

“Over the last few years, Tottenham have had the most prolific attack and the best defence, but haven’t won the Premier League.

“That means these statistics don’t really count in England, but they do in Italy.”

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Atalanta were knocked out of the Europa League by Borussia Dortmund last week and now have only Serie A to concentrate upon, with their boss Gian Piero Gasperini furious over the decision to penalise Gianluca Mancini’s foul on Blaise Matuidi for Juventus’ penalty.

“That penalty was non-existent, so that’s a pity,” he told Rai Sport.

“Juventus are a great team and very strong, so we caused them severe problems. Defeat doesn’t take anything away from the value of this side.”

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