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Serie A Preview: Juventus v Cagliari



Relegation-threatened Cagliari could benefit from Juventus attention lying elsewhere when the two sides meet in Turin on Saturday.

The 18th-placed Cagliari gave their unlikely hopes of Serie A survival a boost with a thumping 4-0 win over rock-bottom Parma on Monday that saw them close within six points of safety.

Just four matches remain in the season but Cagliari have Atalanta, who sit 17th, in their sights, and will hope Juve – crowned Serie A champions for a fourth season in a row last week – rest and rotate their squad.

Juve’s focus will be firmly on the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. Massimiliano Allegri’s men secured a well-earned 2-1 home win over Real Madrid in the opener earlier this week.

And new Cagliari coach Gianluca Festa hopes their win over Parma has given his squad the belief they need to avoid the drop.

“The boys have become aware of their capabilities,” Festa told the club’s official website.

“[Parma] was a good performance, a new step to feed hope. Surely we will continue to play with that desire and commitment until the end.”

After a winless run of 11 matches, which included nine defeats, Cagliari have won two of their last three, with a tremendous 3-1 success at Fiorentina last month raising spirits.

A party-like atmosphere is expected at Juventus as they play their first league match at home since retaining their Scudetto, secured through a 1-0 win at Sampdoria.

Juve’s home end will be made up of 9,500 school children, though, after the stand was shut as punishment for clashes with Torino fans in April. The stand has been re-opened Italian Football Federation accepted Juve’s proposal to put school kids in the ‘Curva’ instead.

If he starts, Serie A top-scorer Carlos Tevez could continue his superb run of form. Tevez, who won and scored a second-half penalty against Real Madrid, has scored five times in his last six league games.

More likely is Alvaro Morata – who opened the scoring against ex-club Real – partnering Spanish compatriot Fernando Llorente, though. Llorente was scratchy off the bench on Tuesday and missed two good chances in the latter stages. Allegri will want him sharp if he is needed in Madrid next week.

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