The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
5 things to know about the Italian league ahead of this weekend's matches
MILAN - With an eight-point lead atop the standings, Juventus is looking to continue its charge to the Serie A title and extend its winning streak when it plays Cagliari this weekend. Second-place Roma hosts Genoa and will be hoping to bounce back from a loss in Turin and keep up the pressure on Juventus.
Third-place Napoli travels to in-form Hellas Verona.
Here are five things to know about the Italian league:
Juventus is looking for an 11th successive win when it travels to Cagliari on Sunday as Antonio Conte's side remains firmly on course for a third successive league title.
Juventus beat title rival Roma in its first match after the winter break to extend its lead at the halfway stage of the season.
"Eight points is certainly a good advantage," Conte said. "But it should be just that and not an illusion. Because if these eight points make us believe we have something that we don't yet have, it will make us lose concentration, desire to train, dedication... So I say these eight points could be bad for us."
Inter Milan holds the record for most consecutive victories, after winning 17 in a row in the 2006-07 season. Juventus has never won 11 successive league matches.
AC Milan unveiled new signing Keisuke Honda on Wednesday and the Japan forward is likely to make his debut on Sunday at Sassuolo.
Milan will be hoping the signing of Honda will have a similar impact to the arrival of Mario Balotelli last year, when he helped propel the team from mid-table to a Champions League berth.
"I need to score goals, provide assists and there are many things I need to do and can do," Honda said. "I don't think the side are doing that badly, I saw the match on Monday, they played great, I can give my contribution. We can probably improve a lot. "
Milan beat Atalanta 3-0 on Monday but remains mired in 11th place.
Teenage midfielder Bryan Cristante could make another appearance for Milan against Sassuolo after scoring on his first start against Atalanta.
Cristante had previously played just five minutes of league football but had two scoring opportunities and hit the crossbar within the opening 14 minutes.
"I'm very happy with my debut," the 18-year-old player said. "But above all with the performance of the squad. We managed to win and climb back up in the table.
"I want to continue to grow and work. I'm here and I'm always ready. Training every day with these champions helps you grow quickly. I feel ready but I have to continue to grow."
Cristante scored his first goal for Milan shortly after Kaka had scored his 100th and 101st.
ROMA LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK
Roma's loss at Juventus was its first of the season and means there are now no unbeaten teams in the league.
It was the first time Roma had conceded three goals under coach Rudi Garcia and also saw the team end the match with nine men after Daniele De Rossi and Leandro Castan were sent off.
"I don't have anything more to say about that match," Garcia said. "What matters is not wasting time and instead thinking of winning again.
"You do the accounts at the end. In football there is the mistake of weighing things up after too little time, doing so on one game is wrong for me. Let's not forget that our first defeat came after 17 matches, what we did before wasn't bad and we can do so again."
Roma hosts Genoa on Sunday.
BALLARDINI AT BOLOGNA
New Bologna coach Davide Ballardini will take charge of the club for the first time when it hosts Lazio on Saturday.
Bologna sacked coach Stefano Pioli and hired Ballardini on Wednesday after winning just one of its past eight games to leave it languishing a point above the relegation zone.
Ballardini was in charge of Genoa for the second half of last season and saved it from relegation. He has also managed Lazio, Cagliari and Palermo.
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