Soccer

5 things to know about the Italian league

MILAN (AP) — Rome heads to Udinese in search of a record-breaking ninth victory, while Juventus hopes to kick-start its season against Genoa. Napoli hosts Torino on Sunday, looking to bounce back after its first defeat of the season. Here are five things to know about this weekend's games in the Italian league.

RECORD

SETTING ROMA?

Roma is looking to become the first Serie A team to win its first nine matches of the season when it visits Udinese on Sunday. Last week's 2-0 win over Napoli saw it match the longest winning streak at the start of an Italian season, set by Juventus in 1930-31 and matched by the Bianconeri in 1985-86. Juventus won nine straight to start 2005-06, but its title was stripped in the "calciopoli" match-fixing scandal. Roma has scored 22 goals this season, conceding just once.

DEFENSIVE WOES FOR JUVE

Juventus' title-winning campaigns of the past two seasons have been built on a solid defense, and both years it let in the least goals in Serie A. However, this season there have been signs of problems at the back and last weekend it let slip a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 against Fiorentina — its first defeat of the campaign. It is the first time since 1992-93 that Juventus has let in 10 goals in the opening eight matches. Antonio Conte's team hosts Genoa on Sunday.

KAKATASTIC

Kaka shone for AC Milan in its 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday. The Brazilian looked like a player reborn as he showed flashes of his old form after a disappointing few seasons at Real Madrid. The performance was all the more impressive as Kaka is not yet fully fit after recently returning from injury. The 31-year-old, who had only played 83 minutes for Milan, lasted 70 minutes before going off to a standing ovation. Kaka is again likely to start at Parma, with forwards Stephan El Shaarawy and Giampaolo Pazzini still out injured.

DIVIDED LOYALTIES

It will be a special match for Hellas Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini this weekend as he takes his team to Inter Milan, the club he supports and played at for seven years. Mandorlini brought Verona up to the top flight for the first time in 11 years and the team has enjoyed an impressive start, to sit fourth after the opening eight matches.

"I have never hidden my passion: as a young boy I supported Inter, then I played for them, I won the scudetto with a record number of points," Mandorlini said. "This will never be a normal match for me, going into San Siro always gives me a special emotion.

"I would sign up now for a draw. That way everyone would me happy, Verona and me."

CATANIA COACH

Despite guiding Catania to its best Serie A finish of eighth last season, coach Rolando Maran has paid the price for the club's poor start to this campaign, which has seen it win just one of its opening eight matches. Luigi De Canio was brought in to help Catania claw its way away from the relegation zone. His first match in charge will be at home to fellow struggler Sassuolo, which will be boosted by picking up its first ever Serie A victory.

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