Pitchside Europe

European Match of the Weekend: Juventus v Roma


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Roma coach Zdenek Zeman

Juventus look to continue their incredible unbeaten run, which currently stands at 44 matches, as they host Roma. But it will be the visit of the controversial Roma coach Zdenek Zeman that overshadows the clash.

Antonio Conte and Massimo Carrera's men are currently joint-top with Napoli after five matches with 13 points on the board. Roma are five points behind in sixth.

Roma have only been able to secure one victory in their last 14 Serie A encounters with Juventus, stretching back to February 2004, but Giallorossi coach Zeman will be desperate to improve upon that record.

The Roma coach has been disappointed with his side's stuttering form of late, despite having beaten Internazionale 3-1 at the San Siro.

Roma have since recently lost 3-2 to Bologna, despite having assumed a two-goal advantage, and drawn 1-1 at home to a Sampdoria side reduced to 10 men in midweek.

Zeman, who had been away from Italy's top tier for seven years until joining the club in the summer after leading Pescara to the Serie B title and promotion, does not have a whole lot of love for Juventus with the same in return.

Zeman upset the Bianconeri with his doping accusations made against the club in the 1990s, and there is no love lost between the coach and the Old Lady.

Indeed, Zeman further angered the club's fans again recently with his comments that Antonio Conte should not be allowed to train Juventus during his one-year ban.

Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic was frank in his admission that he would boo the Roma coach if he were a Juventus supporter.

"I would jeer Zeman as well if I were a Juventus fan," Vucinic told La Stampa.

"However, I am a player and I will shake his hand. I owe him a lot. I have a very positive memory of Zeman. I scored 19 league goals under him.

"He taught me a lot when he was my coach, but he's not the only coach who has helped me. I have grown a lot over the years."

The two sides' most recent encounter, in April, finished 4-0 to the Bianconeri; but this is set to have considerably more spice with Zeman visiting the Juventus Stadium for the first time.

There has been an extremely hostile relationship between him and the club, and few things would give him more pleasure than to bring an abrupt end to Juve's distinguished unbeaten run.

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Opta stats: Juventus v Roma

Juventus v Roma: Saturday - 19:45

Live minute-by-minute commentaries:

Saturday September 29

Parma v Milan: 17:00

Real Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao: 19:00

Sevilla v Barcelona: 21:00

Sunday September 30

Sampdoria v Napoli: 14:00

Real Madrid v Deportivo: 18:50

Inter v Fiorentina: 19:45

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