Juventus hopes to win for absent players

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Fernando Llorente.— Photo: AFP
Fernando Llorente.— Photo: AFP

Juventus hosts Genoa hoping the possible absence of key players has the same effect as it did last week when the champion hit four past Udinese to open up a five-point gap at the top of Italian League.

Juventus was without several key players, including midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio, last week but ran out 4-0 winner after Paul Pogba hit two superb goals.

With title rivals Napoli and Lazio both being held, Juventus stretched its lead and is favourite to do so again against Genoa.

Juventus on Thursday confirmed the signing of Spain international striker Fernando Llorente, who will arrive at the club on July 1 on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao.

Although Pirlo is set to watch from the sidelines alongside injured striker Mirko Vucinic, midfielder Pogba is in scintillating form.

Last week’s draw in Fiorentina was the first time Napoli had failed to take all three points in the league since mid-December.

Parma hosts Napoli without defender Cristian Zaccardo, who is now an AC Milan player after joining the Rossoneri in an exchange deal which took Djamel Mesbah the other way.

Napoli’s Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is the league’s top scorer on 17 goals, but Parma midfielder Marco Marchionni warned: “When we face the big teams we always give a little more, and maybe we need this at this time.”

Lazio’s 1-1 draw with Juventus in the first leg semifinal of the Italian Cup in midweek was its second in a week after it was held 2-2 by Palermo last Sunday.

And although Vladimir Petkovic’s title-chaser is unbeaten in its last 15 games, it will look to get back to winning ways in the likely absence of German striker Miroslav Klose. — AFP

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