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Italian champions-elect

Juventus warm up for Bayern with win

Juventus continue to blaze a trail in Italy’s Serie A after winning the big game of the 30th round of matches 2-1 away to Inter Milan, a morale-boosting result for the nation’s most successful club before they face Bayern in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday evening.

Fabio Quaglierella scored after three minutes, and although Rodrigo Palacio levelled on 54 minutes, Alessandro Matri sealed it on the hour for the visitors, who comfortably lead the way in the Serie A standings on 68 points to Napoli’s 59 and Inter’s 47, as the Nerazzurri missed the chance to stake a claim for a Europa League berth.

Finish line in sight

“That was another big step in the right direction, and we can see the finish line on the horizon,” said Juventus coach Antonio Conte in the wake of his team’s 21st league win of term. “But there are still eight games to go and the teams behind us are waiting for us to slip. We have to keep our foot on the gas.”

In the 220th Derby d’Italia, Conte fielded a near full-strength team, lacking only striker Mirko Vucinic due to flu. Quagliarella deputised, starting for the first time since 13 January, with Matri preferred to Sebastian Giovinco.

Conte’s strikers say thank you

The match at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium was only three minutes old when Quagliarella repaid his boss’s faith with his eighth goal of the campaign. Palacio netted a not-undeserved equaliser nine minutes after the restart, but Conte’s second new forward made sure of the points just six minutes later.

Juve are clearly leaving nothing to chance prior to meeting FCB, as Conte and his team will arrive in Munich on Sunday afternoon, a full day earlier than normal. The Italians’ closed training session at the Allianz Arena takes place early on Monday evening.

Italian eyes are smiling

“We go to Munich looking to keep alive our greatest dream,” said Conte, “we have smiles on our faces and feel no fear. We want to see how far off we are from the best in Europe. We’ll aim to field a physically strong team against Bayern.”

Juventus line-up away to Inter:
Buffon - Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini - Padoin, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Peluso 63) - Matri (Pogba 74), Quagliarella (Giovinco 83)