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Liveblog: Serie A Wk5 Sunday

Join us for the build-up and action as it happens from today’s five Serie A games, including Cagliari-Crotone, Benevento-Napoli, Fiorentina-Udinese and Juventus-Verona.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 11.30 GMT in Sardinia, as Eusebio Di Francesco’s Cagliari hope to entertain again with a Crotone side fresh from holding Juve to a draw.

At 14.00 GMT, there’s a fascinating local derby between Benevento and Napoli, especially as the Insigne brothers Roberto and Lorenzo are likely to both start.

Parma are still decimated by COVID-19 as they take on surprising Spezia

At 17.00 GMT, Fiorentina try to end their crisis by hosting Rodrigo De Paul’s Udinese.

And at 19.45 GMT, Juventus give Paulo Dybala his first start in three months against tough to beat Hellas Verona.



HT: Juve come close, but Verona level

Alvaro Morata saw his goal ruled offside and Juan Cuadrado rattled the crossbar, but Verona have threatened Juventus too in the first half.

Follow all the action as it happens and give your views on the LIVEBLOG.

Paulo Dybala got his first start in three months with Federico Bernardeschi, Alvaro Morata and Aaron Ramsey, but Alex Sandro, Matthijs de Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini were injured, with Federico Chiesa suspended. Hellas made the trip without Miguel Veloso, Samuel Di Carmine, Koray Gunter, Mert Cetin, Marco Benassi and Eddie Salcedo, so Nikola Kalinic received his first start for the club.

Juve were wearing a special edition jersey designed in conjunction with Pharrell s, made to visibly be hand-drawn.

Kalinic tested Wojciech Szczesny from close range after out-muscling Leonardo Bonucci and on the resulting corner, Ebrima Colley had the ball in the net after wandering offside.

Juve’s first chance came on 20 minutes, as Bernardeschi sprung the offside trap to sprint forward, Marco Silvestri palming the snapshot round the near post.

Verona were more dangerous again, Colley hooking a Darko Lazovic ball back across the six-yard box with nobody able to finish, then Kalinic’s scuffed effort went wide.

Ramsey’s cross went just beyond both Bernardeschi and Morata, but the best chance of the half fell to Juan Cuadrado on 42 minutes. It was at the end of a well-worked team move, Cuadrado hitting a rocket from 12 yards on to the crossbar after Bernardeschi rolled it across from the left.

Morata thought he had opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when running on to a Cuadrado through ball and immediately flicking it up over Silvestri with a delightful first-time lob. However, it was disallowed using VAR for the slimmest of offside margins.

Juventus 0-0 Verona (Half-Time)

Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Demiral; Cuadrado, Arthur, Rabiot, Bernardeschi; Ramsey; Dybala, Morata

Verona: Silvestri; Lovato, Ceccherini, Empereur; Faraoni, Vieira, Tameze, Lazovic; Colley, Zaccagni; Kalinic

Ref: Pasqua


Danilo: ‘I really enjoy role’

Danilo explains why he is relishing his new role in a back three for Juventus. ‘It’s something I really enjoy.’

The game with Verona kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

“It’s a difficult match, as Verona run really hard and we need to move the ball quickly, which also means movement off the ball,” Danilo told JTV and Sky Sport Italia.

“I think Verona will focus on the counter-attack, as that is their style, but we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves and run hard for the team.”

The Brazilian was asked about his new role in Andrea Pirlo’s tactics, playing on the left of a three-man defence, although it becomes four when defending.

“I played left-back many times, so it doesn’t change much, but I can also move further into the centre and that lets me see more of the ball, to pass it from the back, and that is something I really enjoy.

“That also makes it easier for our forwards if we play it out from the back and construct the moves deep.”


New COVID clampdown on sport

COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Italy, so Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered new limits on sport, playing games behind closed doors again.

The Serie A fixtures had been allowed up to 1,000 supporters in the stands so far this season, but from next weekend, it will go back to a totally empty arena.

Conte presented the latest Government decree on Saturday evening, which will shut down all amateur sport.

Only Serie A, B, C and D clubs can continue in the world of football.

Gyms, swimming pools, spas, amateur contact sport and any sporting activity in schools will all be shut down.

People are urged not to travel unless necessary, while bingo halls, casinos and theme parks are closed, along with cinemas, theatres and even open air events.

There is a rule noting that anyone who comes in from abroad must prove they are COVID-19 negative with a test taken at most 72 hours before their travel to Italy.

Restaurants, bars and bakeries are all closed on Sundays and public holidays, allowed to open only from 05.00 to 18.00 local time.

Table service is allowed for a maximum of four people, as long as they all live in the same household.


Pirlo: ‘Dybala starts, Morata no surprise’

Andrea Pirlo confirms Paulo Dybala will start for Juventus against Hellas Verona tomorrow and he’s not surprised by Alvaro Morata. ‘That’s why we signed him.’

It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We had time to rest after the trip to Dynamo Kiev, so apart from Giorgio Chiellini, everyone else is available,” said Pirlo in his press conference.

“As of last night, I had no news on Cristiano Ronaldo’s COVID status. We all had swabs this morning, including Ronaldo at home. Alex Sandro is on his way towards a full recovery, but I think it’ll be after the break for international duty.

“I can confirm Dybala will start tomorrow. He had the right progress in training and it’s only fair now that he starts the match. I always said it was an issue of time, as he had the injury, then a virus on international duty. The two times he was on the bench without coming on, it was because we’d gone down to 10 men. He played in Kiev as a substitute, it’s only right that he starts tomorrow.”

In the absence of Dybala and Ronaldo, Morata has really stepped up, scoring three goals in two games against Crotone and Dynamo Kiev.

“This is why we signed him,” smiled Pirlo. “We knew he was a great player who provided us with different tactical options, he knows Dybala well and I think they can happily coexist in the same line-up.

“With Atletico Madrid, he had recently been accustomed to playing largely in defence, so there were 80 metres in front of him to go on the counter-attack. On the other hand, we at Juve try to keep the ball, work on the position of the body when receiving a pass, pressing to free up a man. We work for each other to ensure we can move the ball quickly.

“When it comes to Federico Bernardeschi, we wanted to test him out all along the wing, the way he used to play at Fiorentina, but he tended to be more coverage for the trident attack here. I see him in a wider role and we’re working on it, I’m sure he can be a great resource for the team.”

Federico Chiesa is suspended following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Crotone, but Weston McKennie is available.

“I have many options and it all depends on the type of game we are facing. All four midfielders are compatible, so they will rotate for the two places.

“McKennie tested negative for COVID yesterday, he’ll have his physical test today and I hope he can at least be on the bench tomorrow. Matthijs de Ligt is waiting for the all-clear from the doctors, he can train with us, albeit avoiding physical contact after his shoulder operation.”

The Champions League trip to Kiev was a new experience for Pirlo, largely because there were more fans allowed in the stadium.

“There were 20,000 people and it felt like a different world. When there’s a crowd, you realise the danger of someone approaching a player when you hear them murmur and it puts the player on alert too. It’s not easy to play behind closed doors.

“On the other hand, the quarantine period was useful, as it was like a pre-season retreat allowing us to test a few things out and explain what we wanted.”