Quagliarella ready for Juve
Published : 24 Sep 2012 20:49:23
Three-goal hero Fabio Quagliarella is hoping to show Juventus he is the man to boost their title defence when the Italian champions travel to Fiorentina on Tuesday.
The fifth round of Serie A fixtures takes place over three days in midweek and after seeing a host of fellow frontrunners stumble over the weekend Juve have a chance to consolidate their position.
Quagliarella has been used sparingly by caretaker coach Massimo Carrera so far this campaign having endured a difficult time last season after his return to action following surgery on a knee ligament.
Against Chelsea last week, however, Carrera took a chance on the striker, sending him on late for Sebastian Giovinco -- and was not disappointed.
Quagliarella came off the bench to score Juventus's second goal in the 2-2 Champions League draw, nutmegging Petr Cech to help Juve grab a share of the points at Stamford Bridge.
And the big striker showed he could be the man to boost the champions early season title bid when he hit a brace in a precious 2-0 win over Chievo on Saturday.
"This has been one of the greatest weeks of my life. Today I wanted to show that I'm ready and I think I did that," Quagliarella said.
It was a result whose true value came to light by the end of Sunday evening.
Napoli's draw away to Catania, Lazio's shock defeat at home to Genoa and Sampdoria's 1-1 draw away at Torino meant for the first time this season Juventus pulled ahead of the pack and now have a two-point lead on Napoli.
Milan giants AC and Inter also stumbled although it is AC Milan's situation which is the most worrying of the two.
While Inter sit sixth, six points adrift of Juve, Milan's third defeat of the season has dropped the seven-time European champions to 15th place in the table ahead of Wednesday's home fixture against Cagliari.
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has been suspended for one match after protesting to match officials during his side's 2-1 defeat at Udinese, league officials announced on Monday.
A brief statement said Allegri was punished for protesting to the match referee as the teams were going down the tunnel after full-time in Sunday's match in Udine, which was Milan's third defeat in four games.
It means the 45-year-old, who has been under immense pressure during Milan's catastrophic start to the season, will be banned from the touchline for Cagliari's visit to the San Siro on Wednesday.
Allegri has so far been given the backing of club bosses, including owner and president Silvio Berlusconi, but it remains to be seen how they will react if Milan slip to a fourth defeat.
Milan finished runners-up last season, a year after Allegri led them to the title in his first season in charge.
However, with three defeats in four games, it is the Rossoneri's worst start to a campaign since the 1940-41 season.
Allegri, whose side was stripped of several big names during the summer including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, has also had a number of key players injured.
But Wednesday's home fixture could see the return of Brazilian international forward Robinho, who has been out since the start of the season.
Inter, meanwhile, will be looking to get over their shock 2-0 reverse, their second of the campaign at home, to bottom of the table Siena when they travel to Chievo.
For entertainment value, arguably the plum fixture on Wednesday is Lazio's trip to Napoli.
The clubs boast arguably the most passionate fans in the league and after their weekend setbacks both will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Roma's weekend game away to Cagliari was postponed in controversial fashion a few hours before kick off on Sunday and Zdenek Zeman's capital side will be favourites when they host Sampdoria.
After their giant-killing exploits on Sunday, Siena host Bologna n Thursday.
Fixtures (18:45GMT unless stated)
Fiorentina v Juventus
Pescara v Palermo (16:30GMT), Catania v Atalanta, Chievo v Inter, Genoa v Parma, Milan v Cagliari, Napoli v Lazio, Torino v Udinese, Roma v Sampdoria
Siena v Bologna