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Monday, 20 April 2015, 19:45

Italian Serie A

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Runaway leaders Juventus host Fiorentina on Sunday in the first of three meetings between the two sides this month.

Last Updated: 07/03/14 at 10:15 Post Comment

Antonio Conte: 'Fiorentina are a very strong side'

Antonio Conte: 'Fiorentina are a very strong side'

Juve will host the opening game of their Europa League round of 16 tie next week in Turin before travelling to Florence for the return leg on March 20.

"Fiorentina are a very strong side," Juve coach Antonio Conte said to Gazzetta dello Sport. "They have a lot of ambition and they want to qualify for the Champions League next season.

"They are fourth in the standings and have already reached the Coppa Italia final.

"We will face them first in the league and then in the Europa League and we shall see how that goes."

Conte, who was voted best coach of the 2012-13 season by his peers this week, finishing ahead of Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella, has good cause to be wary.

Juve, the defending Italian champions, have lost just once this season, a 4-2 reverse at Fiorentina back in October.

A Fiorentina victory would help keep alive the fading title hopes of second-place Roma, who are 11 points behind Juventus but have a game in hand.

The Romans face a big hurdle themselves on Sunday night because they are traveling south to the San Paolo stadium to take on Napoli, who are third and six points behind them.

Torino coach Giampiero Ventura faces a selection headache for Sunday's match at Inter Milan with five regular defenders injured or suspended.

Parma are unbeaten in 14 games and know that victory over Hellas Verona this weekend could see them climb into the top five.

The Ducale club are level on 40 points with Hellas Verona and trail just one point behind Inter, who are fifth and hold the last Europa League qualifying spot.

Lazio will host Atalanta looking to make it three league wins in a row, something the Biancoceleste have failed to achieve this season.

AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf could rest some players in Saturday's game at Udinese in view of next week's Champions League last 16 return leg at Atletico Madrid.

Milan need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the opening leg to progress.

Chievo have won just one of their past 11 games and know that anything but a win against Genoa on Sunday could see them fall into the bottom three.

The Verona outfit are 17th, level on 21 points with Livorno, who are in the relegation zone.

Livorno have mustered just one victory in their last 17 league games and travel to Genoa to face that city's other team, Sampdoria.

Sicilians Catania are favourites to win the battle between the islands when they host Sardinians Cagliari, who have yet to win on the road this season.

Bottom-side Sassuolo are hoping the return of coach Eusebio Di Francesco will spark their campaign into life.

The Emilian club sacked Alberto Malesani earlier this week after he failed to clinch a point in his five games in charge.

Sassuolo have suffered seven straight defeats heading into their game at Bologna on Sunday.

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