Serie A leaders Juventus look to convert disappointment into grit as they face a tough city derby at Torino Sunday following a painful elimination in the Champions League.
The Bianconeri went two goals up at Bayern Munich Wednesday, but saw the German champions rally to win 4-2 in extra-time and advance to the quarter-finals 6-4 on aggregate.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri praised his men and set his sights on clinching a fifth straight Serie A title as Juve also seek a second successive Italian Cup trophy in a final against AC Milan in May.
“We now have the derby. The home league is crucial for us,” Allegri said. “Therefore, albeit disappointed, we are quickly getting back to work.”
Juve, who lead on 67 points, are three clear of Napoli with nine games left and are free from continental distractions.
Missing the derby with injury is midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who warned about the dangers of the opposition.
“Torino have been in poor form of late,” Marchisio said. “Things like this rarely matter in a local derby though and facing Il Toro in their backyard is always difficult regardless of the circumstances.”
Juve are on a run of 19 unbeaten league games, including a single draw, and last weekend set a record of 10 clean sheets. Their 38-year-old goalkeeping captain Gianluigi Buffon needs four unbeaten minutes in the derby to improve an all-time best run of 929 that Milan’s Sebastiano Rossi achieved in 1994.
Torino last weekend suffered a fate similar to that of their city rivals in Germany, seeing Genoa rally from two goals down to win 3-2. Il Toro sit now 13th, with a seven-point buffer from the drop zone.
Genoa (34) moved one point clear of Torino and are now to visit Napoli (64), while Roma and Inter Milan play a big match late Saturday.
The Rome side have enjoyed a run of eight successive wins to go third on 59 points and occupy the last Champions League berth. Fourth-placed Fiorentina, who visit troubled Frosinone, lead Inter on goal difference.
Roma veteran full-back Douglas Maicon recalled the clashes against the Giallorossi when he was at Inter from 2006 to 2012.
“It was the toughest game of the season, because (coach Luciano) Spalletti would study our game and attack our weak spots,” Maicon told Roma TV. “It was the game that bothered me most. We fought for the title for many years. Luckily I was the one who always won it.”
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