No strike puts Juve-Lazio back in spotlight

MILAN - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Serie A matches.

This weekend's players' strike is off after a deal over a new collective contract with the league was reached on Thursday.

Second-placed Lazio at third-placed Juventus on Sunday is the standout match with both sides in good form.

Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who last played in the World Cup, has said he will return from back surgery in January so Marco Storari continues his impressive stint in goal.

Juve defenders Paolo De Ceglie and Leandro Rinaudo are still injured along with forwards Amauri and Jorge Martinez. Fabio Quagliarella and Vincenzo Iaquinta's superb partnership in last Sunday's 3-1 win at Catania means Alessandro Del Piero may be left on the bench again.

Lazio are without injured full-back Javier Garrido while defender Stefan Radu is suspended, although he is out for a month after knee surgery in any case.

Leaders AC Milan travel to troubled Bologna on Sunday with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to return to the starting line-up having been rested for the first hour of Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League defeat by Ajax Amsterdam.

Ronaldinho is likely to drop back to the bench amid speculation about his Milan future while Thiago Silva and Mathieu Flamini are out with knee problems.

Bologna go into the game on the back of two straight wins but with uncertainty over their future with a new buyer possibly being announced this weekend, media reports say.

The club have already been deducted one point for tax problems and another points loss could follow if the Italian soccer federation decides to punish Bologna over unpaid player wages.

Faltering champions Inter Milan are away at the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates so a win for Milan could send them 13 points ahead of their fifth-placed city rivals.

Fourth-placed Napoli travel to Genoa on Saturday with Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi ruled out with an ankle knock.

Genoa go into the game with transfer speculation around one of their top players having been put to bed for the moment.

Centre-back Andrea Ranocchia is half-owned by Inter and the champions have been considering trying to sign him fully in January given their injury problems.

However, Ranocchia told reporters: "In January I'll stay at Genoa then I'll accept what ever happens in the future."


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