Rossi targets Cup final return

Fiorentina expect star striker Giuseppe Rossi to make his long-awaited return from injury in the Coppa Italia final against Napoli on 3 May.

The Italian international has been sidelined since January after suffering ligament damage in his right knee. Rossi, who was the top scorer in the Italian Serie A with 14 goals before getting injured, is eager to return to full fitness in time to be selected for this summer’s FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.

Juve restore eight-point lead

Spanish striker Fernando Llorente scored his third goal in two games as Juventus restored their eight-point lead over Roma at the top of the Italian Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Udinese.

Roma kept their slim hopes of a first Scudetto since 2001 alive with a 3-1 win at home to Atalanta on Saturday which reduced the gap to five points. But any thoughts Antonio Conte’s men, beaten 2-0 away at Napoli two weeks ago, would suffer a slip-up at the Friuli Stadium were quashed inside the first half hour of a largely one-sided contest.

Conte Looking For European Silverware

conteJuventus coach Antonio Conte said all thoughts of a third consecutive Italian Serie A title will be sidelined as his side focus on the “prestigious” feat of becoming Italy’s first UEFA Europa League semi-finalists in six years.

Juventus are eight points ahead of Roma in the Serie A title race with six games remaining. But a day ahead of hosting Lyon, beaten 1-0 in France last week, the Italian said Juve’s focus was entirely on becoming Italy’s first side in the semi-finals since Fiorentina in 2008.

Rare Juve defeat while drama in Rome

Napoli dealt Serie A rivals Juventus their second defeat of the season to help revive a humdrum title race following Roma’s victory earlier in the day.

I Bianconeri were unbeaten in 22 league games and cruising heading into the game at the Stadio San Paolo but goals from Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens gave third-placed Napoli the 2-0 victory. Rafael Benitez’s men may be a distant 17 points off the championship pace, yet Roma have a game in hand and could cut Juve’s lead to only eight points by beating Parma on Wednesday.

AC Milan beat Chievo, Atalanta win

AC Milan picked up back-to-back wins for only the second time this season with Mario Balotelli and Kaka on target in a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Chievo.

Balotelli gave Milan a flying start and Kaka, making his 300th appearance for the Rossoneri, doubled their lead before the break. The Brazilian added a stunning third before leaving the field to a standing ovation. Only Milan’s wastefulness prevented them from winning even more convincingly, while Cyril Thereau did the visitors no favours by hitting a late penalty against the bar.

The win lifted Milan to eighth place, six points behind the top five ahead of Sunday’s matches.

Benitez targets second place

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez has said that he is determined to secure second place in the Serie A table after watching Gli Azzurri close the gap on Roma to just six points.

Still smarting from their 1-0 home defeat to Fiorentina, Napoli duly punished bottom side Catania with four unopposed first-half goals at the Stadio Angelo Massimino on Wednesday night. Duvan Zapata scored twice with Jose Callejon and Henrique also notching before the Sicilians bit back late with goals from Fabian Monzon and Norbert Gyomber to make the final result 4-2.

Udinese teenager frustrates Inter

Teenage goalkeeper Simone Scuffet performed heroics for Udinese to secure a share of the points from a thrilling scoreless draw with Inter which dented the Milan giants’ UEFA Europa League hopes on Thursday. Inter hosted the northerners looking to make amends for a 2-1 home defeat to Atalanta at the weekend. But despite dominating for large periods, Walter Mazzarri’s men were frustrated by an astute Udinese defence as well as the quick reflexes of 17-year-old Scuffet.

Tevez strikes twice, Napoli fire four

A brace from Carlos Tevez in a cagey 2-1 win over ten-man Parma restored Juventus’s 14-point lead over Roma on Wednesday and kept the champions on track for a third consecutive Serie A title.

Roma had cut the gap on Tuesday with a last-minute 2-1 win at home to Torino. But any expectations Juventus would drop points and hand Rudi Garcia’s team hopes of a title slip-up were effectively over by the 65th minute in Turin, when Parma, having reduced the arrears thanks to Cristian Molinaro’s half-volley, were reduced to ten men when Amauri saw red for fouling defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Guarin signs Inter contract extension

Inter Milan on Monday ended speculation over Fredy Guarin’s future by tying the Colombia midfielder to a new contract which expires in 2017. Guarin was the subject of a proposed swap deal involving Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic during the winter transfer window although the deal fell through at the 11th hour when Inter pulled out.

Guarin, who joined Inter on loan from FC Porto in January 2012, had signed a permanent deal with the Nerazzurri in the summer of 2012 that would have expired in 2016. On Monday the Colombian international said he was delighted to have extended his deal by a year.

Juve face Lyon, Benfica take on AZ in Europa League

Italian champions Juventus will face Lyon in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League as they bid to keep alive the dream of playing in the final at their home stadium. Juve, who appear well on course to defend their Italian Serie A title, are targeting a European and domestic double after seeing off Fiorentina in the round of 16, and will make the relatively short trip across the French border for the first leg on 3 April, returning to Turin a week later.