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Manchester City v Juventus: Big names in doubt ahead of Champions League opener

Manchester City have fitness concerns over three key players as they look to improve their poor UEFA Champions League home record at the expense of Juventus.

Although Manuel Pellegrini’s men have swept all before them domestically thus far this term, they have won just three of their 11 home Champions League games to date, a record that simply must improve if they are to make a serious impact in this season’s competition.

But their preparations for Tuesday’s visit from the Italian champions have been hindered by injury doubts surrounding Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Raheem Sterling.

Aguero looks to be the most likely absentee after limping off during the first half of Saturday’s Premier League win over Crystal Palace with a knee injury.

Pellegrini was not happy with the Scott Dann challenge that prompted the Argentina striker’s premature departure and is unsure whether he will recover in time to feature at the Etihad Stadium.

“It was an important kick on his knee,” the Chilean said. “We’ll see if he can recover between now and Tuesday.

“It’s very difficult to say now. It’s important to see how he recovers. We’ll see.”

Silva missed the trip to Selhurst Park due to an ankle problem, while Sterling was a late withdrawal after picking up a hamstring strain, but Pellegrini is hopeful that the attacking duo will be fit.

Pablo Zabaleta (knee) and Fabian Delph (hamstring), meanwhile, will definitely be unavailable for the hosts, while promising youngster Kelechi Iheanacho – who netted a late winner against Palace – is not eligible.

Juventus, meanwhile, may welcome the change of competition having made a shocking start to their Serie A campaign.

The Turin side came within seven minutes of a third successive league defeat on Saturday, Paulo Dybala’s late penalty eventually salvaging them a point at Chievo, but still they find themselves languishing in the unfamiliar surroundings of 16th place.

To compound coach Massimiliano Allegri’s woes, he lost Claudio Marchisio to a thigh injury at half-time and the Italy international midfielder is regarded as a major doubt.

Fellow thigh injury victim Sami Khedira, meanwhile, remains sidelined and is yet to make his competitive debut for Juventus since his close-season move from Real Madrid.

Last season’s beaten Champions League finalists have not managed to win on English soil since downing Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1996, but they are unbeaten in their last four away games in this competition.

Paul Pogba is expected to start for Juventus having been very strongly linked with a move to City during the transfer window.

The sides last met in the 2010 UEFA Europa League, when both matches finished 1-1.

Sun 13 Sep, 2015
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