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Juve set to inflict more pain on struggling Bologna

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Updated 05 Dec 2013 01:46:57

Juve set to inflict more pain on struggling Bologna

Champions Juventus will be looking for an easy three points when they visit a struggling Bologna side on Friday, a day ahead of Roma's trip to Fiorentina.

Juventus pulled clear of the Serie A pack for the first time this season last week when a 1-0 win over Udinese, coupled with Roma's fourth consecutive draw, gave Antonio Conte's men a three-point cushion over the Giallorossi.

With a daunting trip away to Galatasaray on the cards next Tuesday, when Juventus need a draw in Turkey to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League, Conte could be tempted to rest one or two regulars.

If Bologna's recent form is any indication, it could also offer a chance for Conte to test a reshuffled midfield which is now devoid of Andrea Pirlo after he was sidelined for at least a month with knee ligament damage.

Bologna sit fourth from bottom of the table, Stefano Pioli's men having won only once at their Renato Dell'Ara stadium this season and claiming their only other win (3-0) away to Cagliari.

They welcome Juventus three days after crashing out of the Italian Cup in the fifth round to Serie B side Siena, after Zou Feddal struck to secure a 2-1 win in the very last minute of extra time.

Pioli admitted: "It hurts, as much for the result as for how we played. I expected more. Now we welcome Juventus and we're going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight (Tuesday)."

With Roma continuing to stutter in the wake of their record-setting 10 opening wins of the season and facing a tricky trip to Fiorentina on Saturday, a 13th win in 15 games for Juventus could see them come out of the weekend six points better off than Roma.

Although Pirlo is out of the equation, the champions have enough quality in depth to plug the gap, Claudio Marchisio being the most likely candidate especially following the recent return from injury of Swiss wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Frenchman Paul Pogba has been one of the revelations for Juve since they signed the midfielder on a free transfer from Manchester United before the start of last season.

Pogba on Tuesday was named the winner of the 'Golden Boy' trophy, awarded by Italian newspaper Tuttosport to the best under-21 footballer in Europe.

Although "flattered" and despite everything he has achieved for club and country in the past year, Pogba still seems no closer to signing a new deal with Juventus.

"2013 was a golden year for me, winning the league for the first time, reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League, winning the Under-20 World Cup with France and being promoted to the first team by (Didier) Deschamps," said Pogba.

On a possible contract extension, he added: "I have no news. I have a deal until 2015. Right now I am focused on playing well and not thinking about tomorrow."


AFP

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