Lazio look to halt Juventus title party preparations

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On-form Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi will join forces with German veteran Miroslav Klose on Wednesday when a rejuvenated Lazio aim to put the brakes on Juventus planning for an early title party.

With Juventus nine points ahead of second-placed Napoli with five games remaining, the black and white half of Turin is preparing to break out the champagne and celebrate a record-equalling fifth consecutive Serie A title.

The only other time Juve achieved the formidable feat was in 1935, so this year’s title celebrations should be something special.

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi admits he’s not getting too excited ahead of his bid for a third consecutive win since taking over, but Onazi and Klose would disagree.

The 23-year-old Nigerian was Lazio’s best player on Sunday when he fired Klose’s assist into the Empoli net to score his first goal of the season and secure a 2-0 win.

SEE MORE: Watch Juventus vs. Lazio for free with a trial to fuboTV

Lazio are now only four points behind AC Milan in the first possible Europa qualifying place and Onazi said: “We’re doing our best to get the Europa League spot.”

It was Inzaghi’s first win at the Stadio Olimpico, having begun his top flight career after the sacking of Stefano Pioli two weeks ago with a 3-0 win at Palermo.

Lost confidence has returned to the team, but Inzaghi, the brother of former AC Milan striker and coach Filippo, admits they could come up short against a Juve side looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 24 games.

“We have to recover physically for Turin because at the end of the game some of my players had nothing left in the tank,” he said.

“We’re playing some good football, but it won’t be easy. We’ll go out to try and do our best, but Juventus have been unbeatable.”

SEE MORE: Schedule of Serie A games on US TV and live streaming

An unlikely Juventus defeat would give Napoli, who host Bologna a day earlier at the San Paolo, belief that all is not lost.

But the statistics suggest Massimiliano Allegri’s men are in no mood to give points away: a 4-0 rout of crisis-hit Palermo on Sunday was Juve’s 22nd win in their unbeaten run of 23 games.

The mood in Turin, in spite of the cruciate knee ligament injury suffered by Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio — ruling him out for the rest of this campaign — is so positive they are already looking to next season.

With Italy coach Antonio Conte taking up the reins at Chelsea following Euro 2016, the former Juventus handler is reportedly hoping to lure midfielder Paul Pogba and defender Leonardo Bonucci to Stamford Bridge.

Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta, however, was unequivocal, at least about French international Pogba.

“We made a conscious decision last year that he (Pogba) is an important player we want to see remain at the club for the coming years,” said Marotta.

Although, he added: “Obviously, sometimes you have to consider the desires of the player, but I really think he is at home with us now.”

Having seen their chance of a first scudetto in 26 years slip away, Napoli will still be gunning for a win on Tuesday. Second spot offers automatic qualification to the Champions League and Roma are only five points away.

Roma host on-form Torino in the hope a highly-publicized spat between coach Luciano Spalletti and club legend Francesco Totti following a 3-3 draw at Atalanta does not negatively effect the dressing room.

Totti came off the bench on Sunday to hit Roma’s leveler in Bergamo, but relations with Spalletti have soured in what could be the 39-year-old playmaker’s 23rd and final season at the club.

Meanwhile, a slip-up by Roma would boost Inter Milan’s hopes they can still fight for a top-three finish to enter the Champions League at the qualifying stages.

Inter, in fourth at four points behind Roma, travel to Genoa four days after a convincing 2-0 defeat of Napoli.

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