Juventus looking to get back on track vs. Pescara


ROME (AP) -Juventus quickly moved on from its first Serie A loss in two seasons with a convincing win in the Champions League. Now, the Bianconeri hope to do the same in the Italian league against promoted Pescara on Saturday.

After falling 3-1 to Inter Milan at the weekend to end its 49-match winning run, Juventus beat Danish side Nordsjaelland 4-0 on Wednesday.

"A lot was said after the loss to Inter, but I think some people forgot that we hadn't lost in two seasons," Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said after scoring against Nordsjaelland. "We could have let it make a psychological impact, but we didn't."

Arturo Vidal, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella also scored against Nordsjaelland, while Alessandro Matri hit the crossbar, as Juventus continues to produce goals by committee without a single dominant forward.

Mirko Vucinic, generally considered Juve's most dangerous forward, sat out the match with a left calf injury suffered against Inter.

"I knew the response would be positive," said assistant Angelo Alessio, who was filling in on the touchline while head coach Antonio Conte serves out his four-month ban for match-fixing, which expires next month.

"We know our players, and Conte has motivated them like crazy," Alessio added. "There was a lot of anger after Saturday and the guys responded on the pitch with the utmost determination and a very high pace. We constructed a lot and scored four goals. All we lacked was a goal for Matri, who also had a great night."

Pescara beat in-form Parma 2-0 last weekend to save the job of its manager Giovanni Stroppa, leaving the club three points clear of the relegation zone

"It's a difficult match, but it's not a given. ... I want points," Stroppa said, looking ahead to the Juventus game. "If we're at our best we can play with anyone, while if we let up just for an instant we're very vulnerable."

As a player with Udinese, Stroppa once scored against Juventus.

Meanwhile, it's been a week filled with praise for Inter manager Andrea Stramaccioni, who had the audacity to play with three strikers at Juventus Stadium: Rodrigo Palacio, Antonio Cassano and Diego Milito, who scored twice.

Local media have even compared how Stramaccioni wore sweat pants while shopping in downtown Milan's high-fashion district like Jose Mourinho - the coach who led Inter to the Champions League title in 2010 - used to.

Inter, which trails leader Juventus by one point, visits regional rival Atalanta on Sunday.

"Let's not get carried away," Inter president Massimo Moratti said. "It all has to do with the players' ability to follow the coach, who is a very alert kid, and that permits him to adapt to situations and anticipate things."

Since replacing Claudio Ranieri in March, Stramaccioni has guided Inter to 14 wins in 20 Serie A matches for a 70 percent winning percentage - ahead of even Mourinho's 64.5 percent from 2008 to 2010.

"Let's hope it lasts, because the results now are extraordinary, but they're still not what the club believes can be reached," Moratti added. "We've got to be attentive match after match, because what can seem like easier games can often hide traps. Every match now is an adventure to be dealt with carefully."

Atalanta is tied for seventh with Catania and Parma despite a two-point penalty for match-fixing.

Also this weekend, Lazio faces Roma in the capital derby.

Lazio lies fifth and Roma is sixth, two points behind its city rival.

"The derby isn't a war, like some people make it out to be," Roma coach Zdenek Zeman said.

While it's the first Rome derby for Zeman since he coached Roma from 1997 to 1999, it's the very first for new Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic.

Also on Sunday, AC Milan looks to extend its recently improved form against a Fiorentina side that is also impressing under its new coach, Vincenzo Montella.

While Milan was held to 1-1 by Malaga in the Champions League on Tuesday, it has gained seven points from its last three Serie A matches.

Fiorentina is fourth, two points behind third-place Napoli, which visits Genoa. Althoughm the Tuscan side is without its top player, Stevan Jovetic, for two weeks due to injury.

Also this weekend, it's: Cagliari vs. Catania; Palermo vs. Samopdoria; Chievo Verona vs. Udinese; Parma vs. Siena; and Torino vs. Bologna.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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