Shifting focus to Wednesday's Champions League tie with Juventus, the defending Serie A Champions lost an epic match away to Fiorentina yesterday 4-2. The match marked many firsts in the reign of Antonio Conte, as his side conceded 4 times. It also marked the first time in his coaching career that he lost to a squad coached by Vincenzo Montella. Juve stormed out to a 2-0 lead only to be done in by uncharacteristic mistake by Gigi Buffon which ultimately unlocked the door to a Giuseppe Rossi hat trick.
The victory was Fiorentina's first home result over Juventus in 15 years. Juve have now conceded 10 goals in their first 8 league matches after conceding only 20 throughout Conte's entire first year in charge, according to Mina Rzouki. After the match, Conte noted that his side "lost a game we dominated for 70 minutes" and said that "suddenly something strange happened" that he was unable to properly explain. It'll be a true test of Juventus's mental strength to see how they respond to this dispiriting defeat in the Bernabeu. Will they be reeling or ready for redemption?
Speaking of Buffon, the legendary Italian keeper spoke of his great personal and professional admiration for embattled fellow icon Iker Casillas, telling AS:
"Iker has always shown himself to be a great champion. I believe great champions in these negative situations have the character to find this competitive rage when they return to play, which sometimes, with time, you can lose for a while. When these unexpected things happen you have more strength when you return."
It'll be interesting to see who provides their team with more of an advantage when these two giants stand between the sticks on Wednesday.
I'll leave you all with a couple tantalizing facts to get your heart pumping on this dreary Monday. According to Betting Expert, Real Madrid have scored in 27 straight Champions League matches while Juventus have lost their last 4 away matches in the competition.