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Juve look to ruthless Roma in Serie A

Updated 16 Feb 2013 02:16:53

Juve look to ruthless Roma in Serie A

Juventus defender Martin Caceres says the Italian champions must forget their Champions League success over Celtic and concentrate on dealing with a potentially "ruthless" Roma on Saturday.

Juve's comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Scottish champions in Glasgow midweek gave them a huge boost ahead of the second leg in Turin in three weeks' time.

But Caceres insists the Scudetto remains their priority, and resumes by defending their five-point lead over Napoli against a Roma side which, he believes, could turn recent off-field events to their advantage.

"Roma are a great team. They've recently changed their manager and this usually produces greater desire and ruthlessness," Uruguayan Caceres told juventus.com.

"But we'll be going there for the win."

He added: "Our first objective is clearly to defend our title, but we'll have one eye on the Champions League, even though we know it will be tough to go all the way."

Roma sacked veteran coach Zdenek Zeman two weeks ago and replaced the 65-year-old Czech with Aurelio Andreazzoli on a caretaker basis.

Andreazzoli's first full game in charge, however, ended in a 3-1 defeat away to Sampdoria last week, dropping Roma to ninth.

Roma have injury concerns after striker Pablo Osvaldo quit training early Thursday with a recurrence of pain in his right knee while midfielder Daniele De Rossi also left early as a precaution due to tightness in his left calf.

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio, meanwhile, is set to miss out with an injury although Juve coach Antonio Conte should welcome back midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah after the Ghanaian's recent return from the Africa Cup of Nations.

So far, and despite the resurgence of AC Milan -- who are still 14 points off the leading pace -- Napoli have been widely regarded as the only real challengers to title-holders Juve since the festive break.

Napoli are bidding for only their third Serie A title but welcome a resurgent Sampdoria two days after they suffered a shock 3-0 defeat to Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League.

Sampdoria have enjoyed a rich run of form lately, scoring nine goals in their last three games although six of them came in the 6-0 rout of Pescara.

However this game comes days after head coach Delio Rossi was handed a two-match ban for sticking his middle finger up at Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso at the end of last week's win.

Rossi was famously sacked by Fiorentina last year after he physically attacked his own player, Adem Ljajic, after the Serbian's sarcastic reaction to being substituted.

After Sunday's incident Rossi apologised, only then to respond to comments made afterwards by Burdisso by saying: "Someone who elbows and spits at players should keep their mouths shut."

Meanwhile, Lazio can ill afford to drop points away to Siena, who handed Inter a 3-1 whopping at their Artemio Franchi ground two weeks ago.

Vladimir Petkovic's side are now 11 points behind Juventus after last week's 1-1 draw at home to Napoli, a match they should have won, but could feel the effects of their commendable 3-3 draw away to Borussia Moenchengladbach in Thursday's Europa League.

Inter could have it all to do against a Fiorentina side still smarting from last week's domination by a simply "superior" Juventus, according to La Viola coach Vincenzo Montella.

Andrea Stramaccioni's side will be buoyed after securing a 2-0 Europa League win over CFR Cluj, although any joy was tempered by the loss to injury, after six minutes, of Argentine forward Diego Milito.

Milito had only returned from a month on the injury sidelines last Sunday.

It was later confirmed that Milito is out for the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury to his left knee.

In the only weekend fixture played on Friday, a late strike from Mario Balotelli was enough to secure a 2-1 victory for AC Milan over Parma and a jump up to fourth place in the league table.

Fixtures (times GMT)

Saturday

Chievo v Palermo (1600), Roma v Juventus (1845)

Sunday

Catania v Bologna, Genoa v Udinese, Napoli v Sampdoria, Pescara v Cagliari, Torino v Atalanta (all 1300), Fiorentina v Inter, Siena v Lazio (both 1845)


AFP

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