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Thursday, September 27, 2012
Zeman into the lion's den

Zdenek Zeman will be the most unpopular man in the Juventus Arena on Sunday as he takes his Roma side to face the unbeaten Serie A leaders.

Zeman made allegations 14 years ago during his first spell at Roma which sparked a doping investigation into Juventus. The 65-year-old has remained critical of Juventus since, and in particular their coach Antonio Conte, who is serving a 10-month touchline ban for match-fixing charges arising from his role at his previous club Siena.

Conte's interim replacement Massimo Carrera did not attend his regular pre-match press conference this week.

Juve's run of four straight wins drew to a halt in a goalless draw against Fiorentina in midweek, and Carrera's main decision will be whether to replace the ineffective Andrea Pirlo with youngster Paul Pogba.

Ghanaian striker Kwadwo Asamoah admitted fatigue could be a problem, saying: ``I did feel a bit tired but that's normal with all the games we are playing at the moment. The tiredness is ready to pass. It will be another intense encounter on Saturday, but we know how important it is, and we are determined to win.''

Juve's slip allowed Napoli to draw level on 13 points at the top after their emphatic 3-0 win over Lazio in Naples, in which Uruguayan Edison Cavani hit a hat-trick.

Napoli face a tough task on Sunday at third-placed Sampdoria, who have shrugged off a one-point deduction and grabbed a point at Roma in midweek despite the early sending-off of Enzo Maresca.

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri is refusing to raise expectations, insisting; ``We are only five games into the season and the road is long. We have had a great victory, and are looking at Sampdoria because it will be a tough game.''

Fourth-placed Inter Milan will be without Wesley Sneijder for their Sunday clash with Fiorentina. Sneijder pulled a muscle in his side's 2-0 midweek win at Chievo and could be out for at least two weeks. Antonio Cassano is in line to replace the Dutchman as Inter look to make it two wins in a row.

City rivals Milan are in Saturday action as they travel to Parma, hoping to build on a 2-0 midweek win over Cagliari in which 19-year-old Stephan El Shaarawy scored both goals.

After a bright start to the season, Lazio will be desperate to shrug off two successive Serie A defeats, including their thumping midweek loss at Napoli, when they face bottom club Siena.

Catania will look to build on their midweek win over Atalanta as they travel to Bologna, while Atlanta face a Torino side who have failed to win in three after a midweek home draw with Udinese.

Udinese are at home to Genoa while the league's two remaining winless sides both have chances at home, with Cagliari facing Pescara and Palermo up against more fellow strugglers in the shape of Chievo.




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