Juve look for derby success to keep faint Serie A title hopes alive

Juve look for derby success to keep faint Serie A title hopes alive

Juventus players before the match.

They may still be well off the pace in the Serie A title race, but an 11 match unbeaten run has at least given Juventus some hope of achieving what previously appeared unthinkable, with a derby clash the next step on their quest.

After seventh-placed Juve slipped to a fifth loss from 14 league games against Atalanta in late November, Serie A’s most successful club were on course for another disappointing campaign, having finished fourth the previous season.

Massimiliano Allegri’s return to coach the club for the second time was not going to plan, but now the Old Lady are back in the top four, nine points behind leaders AC Milan, having not lost in the league in almost three months.

The visit of city neighbours Torino to the Juventus Stadium on Friday, who they are unbeaten against in the last 15 derbies in all competitions, will represent the perfect opportunity to keep the feel good factor around the rejuvenated club going.

“The glass is half full,” Allegri told a news conference on Thursday. “We must remain optimistic, but this doesn’t mean we are happy. The draw against Atalanta (in last match) will be exceptional if we win tomorrow.

“The extraordinary thing about football is that a draw can look like a defeat, but every point counts at the end of the season. I’d like to win every game, but it’s difficult. You can win or lose the title for one point.”

Leaders Milan had a bit of a wobble either side of the winter break, but two wins from their last two games, including one over champions Inter Milan, has put them back on track. They travel to bottom side Salernitana on Saturday.

Back in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in a decade this season, Inter fluffed their lines against Liverpool in their last-16 first leg on Wednesday, losing 2-0 at home to the Premier League side.

They have only won one of their last four in all competitions, as Simone Inzaghi’s men have relinquished their position at the top of the Serie A table.

Second-placed Inter do, however, have a game hand over Milan, with one point between the rivals. Inzaghi’s team host Sassuolo on Sunday.

Elsewhere, third-placed Napoli travel to Cagliari on Monday, while Atalanta in fifth face a trip to Fiorentina, who continue to deal with life without striker Dusan

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