Juve poised to win 8th straight League title in record time - GulfToday

Juve poised to win 8th straight League title in record time

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Juventus players attend a practice session on Friday. courtesy twitter

Champions Juventus turn their focus to nailing down an eighth consecutive Serie A title in record time this weekend, days after a row erupted over racist abuse aimed at starlet Moise Kean in Cagliari.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side return to their home comforts of the Allianz Stadium in Turin to host AC Milan after their trip to Sardinia on Tuesday ended amid scenes of chaos as Kean and teammate Blaise Matuidi were subjected to monkey cries and racist chanting.

Juventus could win the league title with seven games to spare — the earliest any team has ever sealed Serie A — if they beat AC Milan and nearest challengers Napoli lose at home to Genoa.

The Turin giants have an 18-point advantage on Napoli and have won both their direct clashes with Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season.

Boosted by the summer signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus have had an unparalleled campaign, with just one defeat in 30 games on March 17 against Genoa, when the Portuguese superstar was rested.

But Allegri’s side are building momentum as they prepare for next week’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg clash against Ajax in Amsterdam. If they don’t seal the title on Sunday they can do so the following weekend with a win at SPAL.

In both cases it would be a record for the 20-team Italian championship.

Paris Saint-Germain hold the European record by winning Ligue 1 three years ago with eight games to spare.

Allegri wants to seal a 35th ‘Scudetto’ as quickly as possible, before the real seasonal goal, the coveted Champions League, last achieved in 1996.

The Serie A points record of 102 which Juventus achieved under Antonio Conte in the 2013-2014 season, remains an achievable goal as by winning the last eight remaining matches they can achieve 105.

Ronaldo is recovering from a right thigh injury, which could rule him out of this weekend’s game.

But tests carried out on Monday, indicated he may be able to play the first leg against Ajax, according to reports in Italy.

Allegri could opt for the 34-year-old to start on the bench on Saturday and give him a runout before the Ajax challenge.

Atalanta blitzed Bologna with four goals in the opening 15 minutes to move to within one point of AC Milan and the final Champions League berth with a 4-1 win at home on Thursday.

Injury-hit AC Milan, in fourth, are desperate for a result having taken just one point from their last three league games.

Agence France-Presse

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Zimbabwe trounce Afghanistan to win AD Test

A century from skipper Sean Williams coupled with destructive pace bowling from Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi led Zimbabwe to a rapid 10-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Williams hit 105 to guide


That left Zimbabwe to score 17 runs which they got without any loss to end the match inside two days.

Afghanistan were bowled out for 131 in their first innings.

Lanky pacer Muzarabani finished with 2-14 -- six wickets in the match -- while his new ball partner Nyauchi took 3-30, also getting six in the match.

Afghanistan were facing an innings defeat at 81-7 but opener Ibrahim Zadran fought hard during his 76 -- his second half century -- and added 48 for the eighth wicket with Amir Hamza who remained 21 not out.

Zadran batted for three hours and hit ten boundaries.

This becomes Afghanistan’s third defeat in five Tests since gaining status to play the five-day format in 2017.

The writing was very much on the wall when Nyauchi had Abdul Malik in the second over for a duck for batsman’s pair on debut.

Nyauchi then had Rahmat Shah (zero) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (four) while Muzarabani had Munir Ahmad (one) and rival skipper Asghar Afghan (14) to leave Zimbabwe rocking at 47-6.

Nyuaci’s previous best of 3-69 was on his debut against Sri Lanka at Harare last year.

Earlier, resuming at 133-5, Zimbabwe added 117 more runs to gain crucial lead.

Williams, who resumed on 54 lost his overnight partner Ryan Burl for eight but then found an able partner in Regis Chakabva (44) as the duo added 75 for the seventh wicket.

Williams completed his third Test century, and second in successive Tests, soon after lunch with a single to square leg.

But he fell while flicking spinner Amir Hamza straight to mid-wicket.

Williams had 10 boundaries while Chakabva smashed a six and six boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Hamza finished with career-best figures of 6-75 -- his second five-for in Tests after his 5-74 against West Indies at Lucknow in 2019. The second Test starts on March 10, also in Abu Dhabi.

Scoreboard

Afghanistan first innings 131

Zimbabwe 1st innings (overnight 133-5)

S Williams c Hashmatullah b Hamza 105

R Burl lbw b Zadran 8

R Chakabva c Malik b Zahir 44

D Tiripano c Zadran b Zahir 4

B Muzarabani not out 12

V Nyauchi b Hamza 0

Total: (overs 72; all out) 250

Bowling: Ahmadzai 17.1-2-48-1 (1w), Hamza 25-3-75-6, Zahir 19-0-81-2, Wasi 8.5-0-23-0 (1nb), Zadran 2-0-13-1,

Afghanistan 2nd innings

I Zadran c Chakabva b Tiripano 76

A Malik c Chakabva b Nyauchi 0

M Ahmad lbw b Muzarabani 1

R Shah lbw b Nyauchi 0

H Shahidi c Madhevere b Nyauchi 4

A Afghan b Muzarabani 14

A Wasi b Burl 9

A Hamza not out 21

Y Ahmadzai c Williams b Tiripano 0

Z Khan c Nyauchi b Tiripano 0

Total: (overs 45.3; all out) 135

Bowling: Muzarabani 8-4-14-2, Nyauchi 7-1-30-3 (5w), Williams 6-0-28-1, Tripinao 9.3-2-23-3, Burl 7-0-13-1, Raza 4-0-16-0, Madhevere 4-1-6-0

Zimbabwe 2nd innings

P Masvaure not out 5

K Kasuza not out 11

TOTAL (overs 3.2, for no loss) 17

Bowling: Hamza 2-0-11-0, Ahmadzai 1.2-0-5-0

Result: Zimbabwe win by ten wickets

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