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)


Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard beat Tunisia and power Belgium to brink of World Cup last 16

Updated 23 June 2018
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Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard beat Tunisia and power Belgium to brink of World Cup last 16

  • Romelu Lukaku drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts on Saturday
  • Belgium captain Eden Hazard scored in either half, including an early penalty at the Spartak Stadium

MOSCOW: Romelu Lukaku drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts on Saturday, scoring twice as Belgium moved to the brink of the last 16 after a 5-2 romp against Tunisia.
The victory leaves the Red Devils top of Group G with two wins ahead of their clash on Thursday against England, who play Panama on Sunday.
After also scoring twice in the opening 3-0 win against Panama, Manchester United’s Lukaku showed clinical finishing with two first-half goals in Moscow, matching Ronaldo’s tally in Russia.
Not to be outdone, Belgium captain Eden Hazard scored in either half, including an early penalty at the Spartak Stadium, before substitute Michy Batshuayi added their fifth.
Tunisia’s consolation goals came from defender Dylan Bronn and captain Wahbi Khazri.
The Belgians were criticized by coach Roberto Martinez for starting slowly against Panama in their first group match but flew out of the blocks in Moscow.
Hazard — having been on the receiving end of some bruising tackles in Belgium’s opener — was sent tumbling after just five minutes but converted the penalty to open his Russian account.
Midfielder Ferjani Sassi picked up an early booking for complaining when Tunisia’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears, just before Belgium added their second goal.
Ali Maaloul’s weak pass on the halfway line was collected by Dries Mertens, who sprinted away and put Lukaku clear.
The striker coolly hit his shot inside the far post, just past the outstretched glove of Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, in the 16th minute.
Tunisia responded two minutes later, Bronn leaping highest to head home a free-kick from his skipper Khazri on 18 minutes, only to be later carried off after landing awkwardly following a collision.
With half-time approaching, the Belgians grabbed their third goal.
After earlier squandering two clear chances created by Kevin De Bruyne, Lukaku converted his third opportunity just before the half-time whistle.
Thomas Meunier put him in behind the defense and Lukaku tucked his shot away, celebrating with De Bruyne, who started the move.
The Manchester City midfield maestro turned provider again after the break for Hazard.
The Chelsea star sprinted onto De Bruyne’s lofted pass, held off two defenders, rounded keeper Ben Mustapha and tapped home Belgium’s fourth goal in the 51st minute.
With one eye on the England game, Martinez took off Lukaku, then Hazard as the half wore on and for the final 22 minutes brought on Batshuayi, who could have scored five.
The Borussia Dortmund forward had a chance cleared off the line, was twice denied by Ben Mustapha’s saves and hit the crossbar, finally converting a cross for Belgium’s fifth goal.
Tunisia captain Khazri grabbed their second goal just before the final whistle of their second defeat in Russia.