Juventus looking to cap impressive week at Milan

DANIELLA MATAR Associated Press Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Defending Serie A champion Juventus will be looking to cap off an impressive week with a victory over a resurgent AC Milan on Sunday.

Juventus took a big step toward qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Chelsea.

"I hope that the best Juve is yet to come," coach Antonio Conte said. "The satisfaction has to be an added push for the lads who deserved the win. We've taken a big step forward despite people's doubts about us in Europe. We've given an important response to them, but we know we still have to qualify.

"We have an important match against Milan on Sunday. We want to do as well in the league as in the Champions League. Milan is not fighting for the title at the moment, but it is still very dangerous."

It is Juventus' penultimate match before Conte returns from a ban for failing to report match-fixing during his time at Siena.

Milan has struggled this season after its worst Serie A start in 71 years. However, there are signs of a turnaround after the Rossoneri came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Napoli on Saturday. They then qualified for the next round of the Champions League with a 3-1 victory over Anderlecht on Wednesday.

"It's not the turning point," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We've reached the first aim of the season. I think it's a good reward for the lads, who deserve it.

"Juve is stronger at the moment, they believe in themselves, the players have grown in an astonishing way. It's a special game and we know we have to give 110 percent to get a result."

Stephan El Shaarawy scored twice against Napoli and also scored midweek to take his tally to 15 goals for the season, including 10 in the league.

Juventus is four points ahead of second-place Inter Milan, which travels to Parma on Monday.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni will be forced to watch from the stands, while striker Antonio Cassano sits out the first of two games after both were banned following the team's match against Cagliari.

Cassano insulted the referee in the tunnel immediately after the 2-2 draw in which Inter appeared unlucky to have been denied a last-minute penalty.

Fiorentina and Napoli both sit a point behind Inter. Fiorentina travels to Torino on Sunday, while Napoli visits Cagliari a day later.

Pescara's new coach, Cristiano Bergodi, takes charge of his first Serie A match on Sunday, against sixth-place Roma.

Bergodi took over on Tuesday after Giovanni Stroppa resigned.

Also on Sunday, rock-bottom Genoa visits Atalanta hoping to avoid a seventh straight defeat, Chievo Verona hosts Siena and Sampdoria entertains Bologna.

On Saturday, it's Palermo vs. Catania, while fourth-place Lazio hosts Udinese on Tuesday.