The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
5 things to know about the Italian league with Juventus looking for a 12th consecutive win
MILAN - Former AC Milan player Clarence Seedorf will take charge of his first match as coach of the Italian team when it hosts in-form Hellas Verona on Sunday.
Also, Juventus is looking to continue its charge to another Serie A title and extend its winning streak when it plays Sampdoria on Saturday. Roma hosts relegation-threatened Livorno, while Napoli visits struggling Bologna.
Here are five things to know about the Italian league:
AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf spent a successful decade at Milan as a player and now has to revive its fortunes as a coach, starting with the Rossoneri's home game against high-flying Hellas Verona.
Seedorf replaced Massimiliano Allegri, who was fired following last weekend's 4-3 loss at Sassuolo.
Even though Seedorf had been playing at Brazilian club Botafogo, he said the strong links with the Italian club always remained intact.
"You can't say that I'm back as I never really left," Seedorf said. "We have a lot to do to take the club back to the top. I'm very happy to be back."
Milan is 11th in the Serie A, only six points off the relegation zone.
Seedorf has no formal coaching experience and will rely on his popularity and respect among fellow players to guide him at the beginning.
New signing Keisuke Honda scored his first goal for the club in his full debut in the Italian Cup victory over Spezia on Wednesday. Giampaolo Pazzini also scored his first goal in eight months.
Livorno also has a new coach after Attilio Perotti replaced Davide Nicola on Monday, the same day Livorno-born Massimiliano Allegri was dismissed.
Livorno has lost seven of its past eight matches, drawing the other one, to leave it level on points with last-place Catania. The team visits title-chasing Roma on Saturday.
Perotti has previously coached Hellas Verona and Empoli in Serie A and took charge of Livorno for four matches in 2011-12, helping it avoid relegation to the third tier of Italian football.
The 67-year-old Perotti is the club's sporting director.
Having already bettered the club record when it beat Cagliari 4-1 last week, Juventus is now looking for a 12th consecutive victory when it hosts Sampdoria on Saturday.
The team closed the first half of the campaign with 52 points, and maintained its eight-point advantage over second-place Roma to remain firmly on course for a third straight league title.
"Our aim isn't to get 100 points but to get the title, that's more important than how many points we can get," Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said. "If we get this third straight title, we can really talk about one of the best ever Juventus sides."
Inter Milan holds the record for most consecutive victories, winning 17 in a row in the 2006-07 season.
Roma is having a fantastic year and bounced back from defeat at Juventus by beating Genoa 4-0 last weekend.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia has transformed the squad and the team is now playing with a fluidity which is a delight to watch.
Roma remains the squad with the toughest defence in the league, while its scoring record is second only to league leader Juventus.
Any other season Roma would be favoured for the title. Instead, it is chasing a Juventus side seemingly intent on breaking records as it charges to a third straight title.
Roma will look to keep up the pressure on Juventus when it hosts Livorno on Saturday.
Teenage forward Domenico Berardi already burst onto the scene this season with a hat trick against Sampdoria, but made world-wide headlines when he scored four to help Sassuolo beat AC Milan 4-3 last weekend.
The result was all the sweeter for Berardi as he is a staunch fan of the Rossoneri's city rival, Inter Milan.
The 19-year-old Berardi has now scored 11 goals in 14 matches and is being talked about for a possible player in Italy's World Cup squad.
"If the national coach calls me then we'll see what we'll do," Berardi said. "At the moment I'm just thinking about Sassuolo and doing well with this shirt."
Berardi was called up to Italy's under-21 squad for the first time last week.
Sassuolo moved a point off the relegation zone after snapping a four-game losing streak. It hosts Torino on Sunday.
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