Juventus looks to widen gap on Inter Milan

Updated 14 December 2012
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Juventus looks to widen gap on Inter Milan

MILAN: Juventus host Atalanta in a bid to reinforce their lead in Serie A tomorrow, although one eye will have been firmly fixed on Inter Milan’s visit to Lazio a day earlier.
Juventus have opened up a four-point lead on Inter, who leap-frogged Napoli last week, and welcome their visitors from Bergamo a few days after sealing a quarter-final spot against AC Milan in the Italian Cup.
The Turin giants’ 1-0 win over Cup rivals Cagliari left two of their players on the sidelines.
Danish international striker Nicklas Bendtner suffered a strain to a left thigh tendon that could keep him out for a few months while Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal suffered bruising on his knee but should soon be on the mend.
However Juve coach Antonio Conte, back on the touchline after serving a four-month ban, said the setbacks will not affect their ambitions this season.
“I’m pleased we went through because we want to be challenging on all fronts,” said Conte, who has been left a potential dilemma with Bendtner’s injury.
The Dane was signed on loan from Arsenal till the end of the season but has failed to score in the little time he has played for the Old Lady.
“I was especially sorry for Bendtner, I would have liked to see him have a longer run-out,” added Conte.
With statistics largely against them — Atalanta have failed to beat Juve in their past 15 games in Turin — the odds are stacked against the Bergamo side, who suffered a 3-0 rout to Rome in the Italian Cup on Tuesday.
A win for Juve would likely bring Inter back down from their cloud, especially if they fail to overcome the Biancocelesti today evening in Rome.
Lazio, who sit fourth on 30 points — eight adrift of Juve — are unbeaten at home since a shock 1-0 reverse to Genoa at the end of October and can get in among the top three places with a win.
While Inter have won three home games on the trot, the Nerazzurri have failed to win away in all competitions since a 3-1 Europa League defeat of Partizan Belgrade at the start of November.
Defender Juan Jesus made his Inter debut against Lazio last year and said: “The Lazio match will be a tough one.
“We claimed a huge win against Napoli (last week) and now we’re closer to Juventus.” Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has no major injury worries although observers will be keen to see if he deploys forward Antonio Cassano.
Reports in midweek claimed that because of performance-related clauses in his contract, Cassano will pick up a bonus of 200,000 euros should he score or assist a total of 20 goals for the team.
Gazzetta dello Sport said Cassano will also be given the same amount if he makes 15 league appearances and he has appeared for Inter in 14 games so far.
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, meanwhile, will be looking to put all sentiment to the side when the Rossoneri host Pescara, with whom he played professionally, at the San Siro.
On their long-awaited return to the Italian top flight Pescara have spent much of the campaign trying to climb away from the relegation zone.
And it won’t get any easier on what is their first match against AC Milan since the 1992-93 season, when Milan won 4-0.
After a disastrous start to the campaign Milan have enjoyed a resurgence of late to move up to seventh, and booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup with a 3-0 rout of Reggina on Thursday.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Saturday: Udinese v Palermo (1700), Lazio v Inter (1845)
Sunday: Fiorentina v Siena (1030), Catania v Sampdoria, Chievo v Roma, Genoa v Torino, Juventus v Atalanta, Milan v Pescara, Parma v Cagliari (all 1300) Napoli v Bologna (1845)


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.