Saturday March 17 2018
Line-ups: SPAL-Juventus

Juventus visit relegation scrappers SPAL in a bid to go seven points clear at the top and field practically a first-choice XI.

It kicks off at the Stadio Mazza in Ferrara at 19.45 GMT.

Follow the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.

The Bianconeri are flying high at the moment, as they’ve booked their place in the Coppa Italia Final, will face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final and sit four points clear of Napoli at the top of the table after their midweek rescheduled victory over Atalanta.

As Napoli play Genoa tomorrow evening, Max Allegri’s men have the opportunity to extend that lead to seven points for at least 24 hours.

He doesn’t hold back, using practically his best available XI, resting only Andrea Barzagli and Mario Mandzukic, as Alex Sandro is moved into a more advanced role in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

It’s a very South American attack, with Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro supporting Gonzalo Higuain.

Daniele Rugani steps in for suspended Medhi Benatia in the back four, while Sami Khedira has flu, Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi are injured.

SPAL are in their first Serie A campaign since the 1960s and won the Serie B title last term ahead of Verona and Benevento.

Marco Borriello and Federico Mattiello are out injured, but the front two of Alberto Paloschi and Mirco Antenucci remains intact.

Ones to watch include Pasquale Schiattarella, Jasmin Kurtic and pacey winger Manuel Lazzari, while Alex Meret is a bright young hope in goal.

Juventus have kept nine consecutive Serie A clean sheets and one more would match their record from 2015-16.

The Bianconeri conceded only one goal in their last 15 league games, scoring 30, during a run of 14 victories and a draw.

The last time SPAL hosted Juventus was a 5-0 Coppa Italia defeat in September 1973, while the most recent Serie A meeting in Ferrara was a more slender 1-0 loss in May 1968.

SPAL have beaten Juve twice in 33 encounters and they were pretty impressive results, 3-1 in February 1957 and 4-1 in the Coppa Italia in May 1962.

SPAL: Meret; Cionek, Vicari, Felipe; Lazzari, Grassi, Schiattarella, Kurtic, Costa; Paloschi, Antenucci

SPAL bench: Gomis, Marchegiani, Simic, Vaisanen, Drame, Viviani, Everton Luiz, Vitale, Schiavon, Salamon, Bonazzoli, Floccari

Juventus: Buffon; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Asamoah; Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Alex Sandro; Higuain

Juventus bench: Szczesny, Del Favero, Barzagli, Howedes, Lichtsteiner, Sturaro, Bentancur, Marchisio, Mandzukic

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