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BOTAFOGO 0x1 FLAMENGO | SÉRIE A | 31ª RODADA | 07/11/2019

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BOTAFOGO 0x1 FLAMENGO | SÉRIE A | 31ª RODADA | 07/11/2019

Preview: Juventus vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

One of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures on the Serie A calendar will take place at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday night as Juventus welcome AC Milan.

The Old Lady top the table with 29 points from their 11 fixtures this season, while Milan have only picked up 13 from the same number of matches, leaving them down in 11th position.


Match preview

Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt celebrates with Blaise Matuidi and teammates after the match against Torino on November 2, 2019© Reuters

Juve, who have won nine and drawn two of their 11 league matches this term, could be in the second spot by the time that Sunday's fixture rolls around as second-placed Inter Milan, who are just one point off the summit, face Hellas Verona on Saturday looking to move to the top of the table.

The Old Lady have needed to be in impressive form this season to hold off the threat of Inter, and Maurizio Sarri's side will bring a three-game winning run into Sunday night's contest in Turin.

Indeed, since being held at Lecce on October 26, Juve have overcome Genoa and Torino in the league, in addition to recording a 2-1 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The team's next three games are huge when considering that they will tackle Milan and Atalanta BC in Italy's top flight ahead of a home European fixture against Atletico Madrid on November 26.

Juve, who have won Serie A eight times in a row, have beaten Milan on the last eight occasions that the two teams have locked horns in Turin. Indeed, I Rossoneri have not triumphed at the Juventus Stadium in Italy's top flight since March 2011, which was also the year that they last won Serie A.

AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma during the warm-up before the Serie A meeting with Udinese on April 2, 2019© Reuters

Only Juve (35) have won more Italian league titles than Milan (18), but as mentioned, the Red and Blacks have not lifted the trophy since since 2010-11. The Italian giants actually finished as low as 10th in 2014-15 but managed to claim fifth last season, which was certainly an improvement on their recent positions.

Already on their second manager of the season, Stefano Pioli was appointed last month after Marco Giampaolo was relieved of his duties. It has been a poor start for the sleeping giants, who have won just four of their 11 matches and suffered six defeats to sit down in 11th position.

Milan are only three points off the top eight but sit eight points off fourth-placed Lazio, and there has been little to suggest that the club are capable of challenging for the top-four finish during the 2019-20 campaign.

Indeed, the team's only win since October 5 was at home to basement side SPAL. They lost 2-1 at Roma towards the end of last month while they were on the wrong end of the same scoreline at home to Lazio last weekend as they dropped in the bottom half of the table.

For a team that has been so successful - also lifting seven European Cups - Milan are going through a tough period. Juve have not been blowing sides away this season, though, and the visitors certainly have players capable of making it a tough evening for the champions.

Juventus form: WWWDWW

AC Milan form: LWDLWL


Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Juventus on May 12, 2019© Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a knee injury during Juve's Champions League clash with Lokomotiv during the week, but the Portugal international is expected to recover in time for Sunday's match.

Sarri will again be without Giorgio Chiellini and Mattia Perin, though, while Matthijs de Ligt is unlikely to recover from an ankle injury, meaning that Daniele Rugani could continue in central defence.

Paulo Dybala is expected to get the nod in the final third over Gonzalo Higuain, while Aaron Ramsey could keep his spot in an attacking position.

Blaise Matuidi was an unused substitute during the week, but the France international is also expected to return to the XI this weekend for what is a huge game.

As for Milan, Samu Castillejo is a huge doubt due to a muscular problem, while Suso also faces a late fitness test after being forced to sit out the clash with Lazio last time out.

Ante Rebic could get the nod in the final third alongside Krzysztof Piatek, who was excellent last season but has managed just three league goals thus far this term.

Rafael Leao and Giacomo Bonaventura are also pushing for positions in the middle of the park, and the latter could get the nod alongside Lucas Paqueta and Ismael Bennacer.

Juventus possible starting lineup: Szczesny​; Cuadrado, Bonnuci, Rugani, Sandro; Khedira, Matuidi, Pjanic, Ramsey; Ronaldo, Dybala

AC Milan possible starting lineup: Donnarumma; Calabria, Duarte, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Bonaventura, Bennacer, Paqueta; Calhanoglu, Piatek, Rebic


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We say: Juventus 2-0 AC Milan

Milan are capable of picking up a result this weekend, but it is difficult to back against Juve when considering that they have not lost a home Serie A match since April. We fancy Sarri's side to run out two-goal winners on Sunday night, which would either see them return to the summit or open up a bigger advantage.


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James Forrest hails Lazio win as one of the best in Celtic's history

James Forrest could scarcely believe Celtic qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday night with two Group E games still remaining.

The Hoops' 2-1 victory over Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico was not only the club's first win on Italian soil but it left them top of the section on 10 points to secure European football after Christmas, with fixtures against Rennes at home and Cluj away still to play.

It looked like being a long night for Neil Lennon's side when they fell behind after seven minutes to a goal from striker Ciro Immobile.

However, the Scottish champions steeled themselves and Forrest deservedly levelled in the 38th minute with a terrific finish.

Then, with seconds remaining of five added minutes, French midfielder Olivier Ntcham, on for Ryan Christie, dinked in the winner for Celtic's first victory in Italy in 13 attempts.

Forrest told Press Association Sport: "It is unreal. It is a great feeling.

"It was an unbelievable night, one of the best the club and me have had. To be 1-0 down and coming back and obviously scoring a last-minute winner, it is frightening.

"When you seen the draw you knew it was going to be a really tough group. I don't think anyone could have called it before, who was going to be first or second, so to do it after four games is unbelievable and it is credit to everyone.

"We will be looking forward to the draw and being in Europe after Christmas. You want to play in those games and I think everyone will be buzzing, whoever we get."

Ntcham's cleverly-finished winner from an Odsonne Edouard pass on a swift last-gasp counter attack completed the double over a Lazio side who had moved into fourth place in Serie A with three wins in the league since they lost 2-1 at Parkhead last month.

Scotland winger Forrest played down his contribution to the night but is aware of its significance.

Ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Motherwell at Parkhead on Sunday, he said: "I was delighted to strike it well and for it go in.

"It got us going and after the goal we really kicked on and played really well.

"Credit to the boys. We came out in the second half and played really well and looked really strong. Everyone gave it their all and put in a great shift.

"Celtic have gone to Italy a few times and not won and since we beat Lazio a few weeks ago they have won three big games. They are a good team so I think it shows how well we have done in the group so far.

"But it is good that even though we have had good results in the group we just keep going, and the confidence levels with everyone in the team is sky high.

"It is a great feeling. It was some night."

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