Injuries hit Italian teams hard in intense season

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
ROME
Published 22.11.2018 22:54
Updated 24.11.2018 00:01

Injuries and fatigue worry Serie A leaders Juventus when they welcome underdogs Spal on Saturday at the restart after international duty while several other squads also have a busy infirmary.

The Turin champions have a shortage in the midfield as Emre Can has just resumed training after thyroid surgery, while his German compatriot Sami Khedira sprained an ankle while training during the break and Federico Bernardeschi had to leave the Italian national squad with muscular troubles.

Likely to man the midfield are Blaise Matuidi, who was unscathed with France, and Rodrigo Bentancur, who had no issues playing for Uruguay, while Miralem Pjanic looks to recover from mild muscular issues sustained with Bosnia.

Star Cristiano Ronaldo had no Portugal duty as Paulo Dybala netted his first goal for Argentina in a 2-0 defeat of Mexico and was due back Thursday. Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi also tallied his first in the friendly. Also returning in Turin were Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa, Medhi Benatia, Joao Cancelo, Giorgio Chellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Rugani and youngster Moise Kean, who made his debut with Italy Tuesday.

All of Napoli's internationals are fit for Sunday's home game against bottom side Chievo, who meanwhile replaced Gian Piero Ventura with Domenico Di Carlo as they languish on zero points - the three they clinched were docked for their financial misdeeds. Left-back Faouzi Ghoulam is due back from a long layoff as the second-placed Neapolitans trail six points behind Juve, while Inter slipped to third with a nine-point gap as Atalanta hammered them 4-1. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis livened up the pause with teasing remarks about the frontrunners, who chase an eighth straight title. "Maybe we won't be able to beat Juve, who knows," the film producer said. "But with the revenues they have, I w

ould have won 10 titles. We often came very close, though."

Inter, meanwhile, had defender Sime Vrsaljko injured with Croatia, but key midfielder Radja Nainggolan returns from an ankle sprain for Saturday's home game to second-last Frosinone. Worse off are fifth-placed AC Milan ahead of Sunday's match at Lazio, who likely to miss midfielder Lucas Leiva as they sit one point ahead in fourth place, the last to qualify for the Champions League. The Devils have midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura out for the season, awaiting knee surgery. Alessio Romagnoli is to miss a month after pulling a calf with Italy and Mattia Caldara, Davide Calabria and Mateo Musacchio are also out in defense.

Playmaker Lucas Biglia is a long-time absentee and Rossoneri coach Gennaro Gattuso also has forward Hakan Çalhanoğlu battling foot problems.

Udinese and Roma open matchday 13 Saturday afternoon, with Sunday action including Parma vs. Sassuolo, Bologna vs. Fiorentina, Empoli vs. Atalanta and the seaside derby Genoa vs. Sampdoria. Cagliari and Torino will meet Monday.

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