Pirlo’s faltering Juve search for Ronaldo return, Lukaku blow for Inter


Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus head to promoted Spezia on Sunday hoping to have coronavirus-hit Cristiano Ronaldo again to spice up their marketing campaign days after their Champions League flop towards Barcelona.

However rivals Inter Milan will likely be with out star striker Romelu Lukaku towards Parma after the Belgian picked up a thigh pressure which additionally places him in danger for subsequent week’s Champions League recreation at Actual Madrid.

Ronaldo missed Juventus’ 2-0 defeat towards Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, greater than two weeks after testing constructive for Covid-19, as Pirlo fell to his first teaching defeat.

The champions have had a stuttering begin to a marketing campaign they hope will reap a tenth consecutive league title, and a primary elite European title in quarter of a century.

The Turin giants are fifth — 4 factors behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan — and tackle the minnows from Liguria, who’re 14th within the desk.

The nine-time reigning champions received their opener towards Sampdoria in September, their solely victory on the pitch in Serie A this season, earlier than three attracts.

Between these matches they had been awarded a 3-0 victory after Napoli refused to journey to Turin on October 4 due to coronavirus circumstances.

“Our outcomes are lower than our requirements,” mentioned defender Leonardo Bonucci. 

“It’s time to grit our tooth, unite, and convey out one of the best in ourselves.

“We miss necessary gamers, it isn’t an excuse, it is actuality, however in 4 days we’ll be again on the pitch and we’ll attempt to do higher.”

– ‘Spoilt for alternative’ –

Unbeaten AC Milan journey to Udinese after their 3-0 Europa League win towards Sparta Prague on the San Siro, with coach Stefano Piolo saying his facet this season had been spoilt for alternative.

“The extra we go on, the tougher will probably be to decide on, if all of them play so nicely,” mentioned Pioli.

Second-placed Napoli, two factors behind AC Milan, have received all of the league video games they performed this season, and subsequent tackle Sassuolo, third however equal on factors.

Gennaro Gattuso’s southerners received their Europa League recreation at Actual Sociedad this week, however captain Lorenzo Insigne pulled up with a thigh harm.

Inter Milan, an additional level adrift in fourth, heat up for subsequent week’s journey to Actual Madrid after their goalless draw towards Shakhtar Donetsk, towards Sixteenth-placed Parma.

Lukaku, who has scored seven objectives this season for Inter, is being monitored day by day.

Atalanta journey to rock-bottom Crotone on Saturday, forward of their Champions League dwelling recreation towards Liverpool.

The Bergamo membership had been held 2-2 at dwelling towards Ajax after a 3-1 loss to Sampdoria as Gian Piero Gasperini conceded his try at “a little bit of experimenting” within the squad backfired.

Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria — equal on factors with Juventus and Atalanta — tackle metropolis rivals Genoa, seeking to push their profitable streak to 4 video games.

One to observe

Inter Milan ahead Lautaro Martinez has been annoyed at his failure to attain in current video games, furiously punching his seat within the dugout after his substitution in final week’s win towards Genoa.

The Argentine was once more changed by coach Antonio Conte towards Shakhtar Donetsk after lacking an awesome probability for the winner within the goalless draw this week.

“I obtained indignant with myself as a result of I did not play the match I wished,” mentioned Martinez.

The Argentine scored in three consecutive league video games earlier than drawing a clean in 4, and can wish to impress in Lukaku’s absence.

Key stats

9 – Juve’s factors after 5 video games, three of which had been awarded after Napoli’s forfeit

7 – Atalanta’s objectives conceded of their final two video games

6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s objectives in three video games

2 – Cristiano Ronaldo’s league video games performed this season

Fixtures (all occasions GMT)

Saturday

Crotone v Atalanta (1400), Inter Milan v Parma (1700), Bologna v Cagliari (1945)

Sunday

Udinese v AC Milan (1130), Spezia v Juventus, Torino v Lazio (each 1400), Napoli v Sassuolo, Roma v Fiorentina (each 1700), Sampdoria v Genoa (1945)

Monday

Hellas Verona v Benevento (1945)

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