Serie A Gameweek 6, Preview: Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci wants order restored in Roma clash
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has called for the champions to underline their status in Italy`s Serie A after a European slip-up in midweek that has injected extra belief into Roma ahead of the sides` Serie A showdown on Sunday.
Rome: Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has called for the champions to underline their status in Italy`s Serie A after a European slip-up in midweek that has injected extra belief into Roma ahead of the sides` Serie A showdown on Sunday.
Roma were humbled 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last season but travel to Turin buoyed by a fine overall performance that earned them a creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester City in midweek.
Rudi Garcia`s men succumbed to a Sergio Aguero penalty in the opening five minutes of their Champions League clash.
But only three days after his 38th birthday, captain Francesco Totti levelled for the visitors to succeed Ryan Giggs as the competition`s oldest scorer as Roma earned a deserved share of the points two weeks after an impressive 5-1 drubbing of CSKA Moscow.
Roma president James Pallotta admitted confidence is high.
"The result (on Sunday) will depend on a lot of things, but we now know we can face any team in the world," Pallotta told Radio Roma.
Juventus boasted 66 percent possession against Champions League Group A rivals Atletico Madrid on Wednesday but Massimiliano Allegri`s men failed to get a shot on target in a frustrating 1-0 defeat away to the Spanish champions.
Although Roma are on the rise, Juve`s Leonardo Bonucci said it`s time to put the record straight.
"We have to focus on domestic matters again and after tonight (Wednesday) we have even more reason to prove that we`re still the team to beat," Bonucci told Sky Sport.
Fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini admits Garcia`s men won`t be taken for granted.
"Roma are not just Francesco Totti, they have important players all through the squad and we have the utmost respect for them," Chiellini said.
Juventus will be without defender Andrea Barzagli (right heel) and midfielder Andrea Pirlo (thigh), while defender Martin Caceres is a doubt after dislocating his shoulder against Atletico.
The hosts are also sweating on the availability of recently-signed Spanish striker Alvaro Morata after he was diagnosed with a slight strain of the right gluteus muscle.
Roma are still missing midfielder Kevin Strootman and Leandro Castan.
Allegri, meanwhile, believes Wednesday`s reverse does not detract from his side`s domestic form.
"We haven`t conceded in our five league matches. The defeat certainly won`t change our mood or our approach," said Allegri.
A slip-up by either Juve or Roma is likely to boost high-flying Udinese, third at only three points adrift, and Sampdoria, only a point further adrift and the only other unbeaten team in the league.
Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale hit a brace in a 4-2 win over Parma on Monday, although his availaility is doubtful following the sudden death of his 68-year-old father in midweek.
Inter sit fifth, on the same points as city rivals Milan, ahead of a tricky trip to Fiorentina that comes a week after a shock 4-1 home reverse to Cagliari that heaped the pressure on coach Walter Mazzarri.
Mazzarri told www.inter.it: "Things don`t change completely in three days. We`ll see if Sunday was just a blip - as I believe it was - or not."
Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi is barely faring better, the former club striker facing the music after a draw with Empoli two weeks ago was followed by last week`s 1-1 draw away to Cesena.
Already seven points behind Juventus and Roma, Milan need a win against visitors Chievo if they are to avoid slipping further.
Although Fernando Torres is set for his full San Siro debut, Milan could be without French forward Jeremy Menez after he was diagnosed with a knee injury.
Napoli, fresh from a 2-0 win over Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League, host Torino late on Sunday looking to close their eight-point gap to the top.
Verona v Cagliari (1600 GMT), Milan v Chievo (1845)
Empoli v Palermo (1030), Lazio v Sassuolo, Parma v Genoa, Sampdoria v Atalanta, Udinese v Cesena (all 1300), Juventus v Roma (1600), Fiorentina v Inter, Napoli v Torino (both 1845)