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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday, December 22, 2012
Sports

Lega Calcio

Juve look to stretch lead

Defending Italian champions Juventus can top a successful 2012 on Friday if they beat struggling Cagliari to stretch their lead at the top of Serie A in the league's last match of the year.

The Turin club go into the match seven points ahead of their nearest rivals Inter Milan, who take on Genoa at home on Saturday, and will not even have to face opposition fans, as the game is being played at a neutral venue.

The match has been switched to Parma's Stadio Tardini because the municipal authorities in the Sardinian capital have deemed that the club's ground is not up to scratch for such a high-profile match.

The only bad news for the Old Lady of Turin, who named a 21-man squad for the game, is that the bedrock of their defence, Giorgio Chiellini, is out for two months, again with a right calf injury.

Defender Leonardo Bonucci returns to the fold after missing Juve's 3-0 home win against Atalanta through suspension, the club said on its website juventus.com.

This weekend's big match is between sixth-placed Roma and AC Milan, who are two points behind in seventh and looking to claw their way back up the table.

The Rossoneri were on Thursday drawn against Spanish giants Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League and coach Massimiliano Allegri said his players will have to be at their best after a disappointing first half of the domestic campaign.

The match is vital for both clubs to keep pace with the leading pack, particularly as only three points separate second from fifth.

Milan have not lost in five matches and will be looking to Stephan El Shaarway, who has scored 14 times this season, for inspiration to overcome a Roma defence that has leaked 27 goals.

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