Milan: After a controversial win to maintain its Serie A unbeaten run, Juventus can extend that streak to 49 games on Wednesday against Bologna. Catania had a goal ruled out Sunday before Juventus took the lead with a strike that should have been disallowed for offside. Juventus won the game 1-0. "I agree that yesterday there was a refereeing error," Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said. "But I categorically deny the notion of a conspiracy, that Juventus affected the result. Our club behaved itself well.
Moreover, even if the goal hadn't been ruled out, no one can say that the match would have finished that way." Napoli is three points behind Juventus and will look to keep up the pressure on the defending champions against Atalanta. Bologna slipped to 17th place following its third successive defeat, a 3-1 loss at home to Inter Milan, and coach Stefano Pioli knows his job is on the line. "We're up against a very tough opponent, Juventus, as we were with Inter," he said. "Of course I'm worried. We've lost three games in a row. We absolutely have to start moving up the table."
Inter picked up its seventh win in a row at Bologna. The result also saw it move into third place in Serie A, four points behind Juventus. Andrea Stramaccioni's side, which has won all five of its away games this season, travels to Juventus next weekend in a highly anticipated clash. However, Stramaccioni has played down title talk, and first up is Wednesday's visit of free-falling Sampdoria. "We've only played nine games," he said. "It's more intelligent to talk about growth. What's important is to see improvements and results. We want to get back into the Champions League, we work, we work and we work because it's the only thing I know to do.
"Sampdoria has a great coach, very well prepared. They're on a bad run but that's also because they've had a bit of bad luck and that will increase their desire to get back on track. ... I only think about one game at a time, but we need to beat Sampdoria so that the Juventus game can be a top-of-the-table clash." Samp won its first three games of the season, but hasn't won since then, drawing twice before losing its next four games.
Catania is still smarting from the Juventus defeat, with club President Antonino Pulvirenti calling for the game to be replayed and continuing to lash out at the linesman who disallowed the goal. It has to pick itself up quickly for a trip to Udinese, which recovered from going two goals behind at Roma to win 3-2. Elsewhere on Wednesday, it's: Cagliari vs. Siena, Chievo Verona vs. Pescara, Lazio vs. Torino and Parma vs. Roma.
AC Milan kicks off the midweek action with a visit to Palermo on Tuesday. It scraped a narrow victory against Genoa on Saturday for only its third win of the season. Alexandre Pato impressed on his first start in eight months. "It was important for me to play, to feel good and move well," he said. "And I'm good. I played, I didn't feel anything, unfortunately I didn't score, but I tried to help my teammates. I can say I'm very happy, I hope to score in the next game.
"It was a hard victory but it was important to win after the past few defeats. Now we have to forget the other games and think about this success which was important. Now we have to train well to have a good game against Palermo." Genoa hosts Fiorentina on Thursday.
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