x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Cannavaro warns Real cannot afford home defeat

Real Madrid will be out for revenge when they host Juventus in the week's most glamorous of fixtures.

Real Madrid will be out for revenge when they host Juventus in the week's most glamorous of fixtures. The Serie A club beat their Spanish rivals 2-1 in Turin a fortnight ago thanks to goals from Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri. Real will be aiming to get even at the Santiago Bernabeu. Fabio Cannavaro, their centre-back who was signed from Juve in 2006 following the Italian club's demotion for influencing referee appointments, said his side "cannot afford to fail" if they are to reach the knockout stages.

"We have to win one way or the other and try to qualify for the next round top of the group," he said Despite the Italian defender's words of caution, both teams will be confident of making it through to the knockout stages. The Bianconeri top Group H with seven points, with Real second on six and BATE Borisov and Zenit St Petersburg trailing on two and one respectively. These sides have 58 league titles and 20 major European trophies between them so few sides in this season's competition are able to match their pedigree - as shown by their rich attacking talents.

Del Piero, 33, was the difference between the sides in their first meeting. His strike left the Real keeper Iker Casillas helpless. It was his 38th Champions League goal, underlining his enduring value to Juve more than 11 years after he scored in the final. At the other end of the pitch another one-club man, with an even more impressive scoring record, will be looking to put Real top. Raul - the competition's all-time top scorer with 61 goals - is waiting to get off the mark in this season's tournament.

Real's coach Bernd Schuster may start Christoph Metzelder in defence after the German replaced Pepe during Sunday's Primera Liga draw at Almeria, when the Portugal defender picked up a thighstrain. The Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is also a doubt because of a knee problem. Juventus are without long-term absentees Gianluigi Buffon, their Italy international goalkeeper, and French striker David Trezeguet.

Defenders Dario Knezevic, Jonathan Zebina and Zdenek Grygera, as well as the midfielders Christian Poulsen, Cristiano Zanetti and Hasan Salihamidzic are also ruled out through injury. jeastham@thenational.ae