Football

5 things to know about Italian league

ROME (AP) — Here are five things to know about this week's Italian league games:

NINE AND COUNTING

With a record nine straight wins to start the Serie A season, Roma is now looking beyond domestic records. Two more victories would match Tottenham's 11 straight victories in 1960-61 for the best start in a major European league.

The only other club in Europe with nine straight wins this season is Standard Liege in Belgium.

Inter holds the record for most consecutive Serie A wins at any point in the season, with 17 between October 2006 and February 2007.

The previous best start in Italy belonged to Juventus, which recorded eight opening victories in 1930-31 and 1985-86, and also won nine straight to start 2005-06 but was stripped of its title-winning season in the "calciopoli" match-fixing scandal.

Roma has scored 23 goals and conceded one, with only Jonathan Biabiany of Parma scoring against the Giallorossi. Since then, Roma has gone 591 minutes without conceding.

And it doesn't look like Chievo has the resources to stop Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. The Verona club has lost five straight matches and coach Giuseppe Sannino's job is at risk.

JERSEY BOYS

New Jersey-born players Giuseppe Rossi and Michael Bradley have stood out the past two weekends in Italy.

Eight days ago, Rossi scored a hat trick as Fiorentina came back from two goals down to beat rival Juventus. Then this past weekend, Bradley came off the bench to score the winner for 10-man Roma in a 1-0 victory at Udinese.

Rossi was born to Italian immigrants in Teaneck and grew up in Clifton, New Jersey, while Bradley was born in Princeton, where his father coached at Princeton University before taking over the national team of the United States and now Egypt.

BALOTELLI BLUES

Things haven't been this bad for Mario Balotelli since he joined AC Milan in January.

The Italy striker was substituted for the first time by Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri during Sunday's 3-2 loss at Parma.

Having already been shown a yellow card, Allegri replaced Balotelli in the 52nd minute with Alessandro Matri.

"He risked being sent off," Allegri said. "He's just like any other player."

Balotelli recently completed a three-match ban for insulting the referee and he also missed a match with a thigh injury this month.

Entering Wednesday's match against Lazio at the San Siro, Milan is in 10th place, 16 points behind Roma.

KLOSE'S HEADER

Miroslav Klose is back in form after undergoing surgery on his right foot last month.

The Germany striker entered after halftime and scored seven minutes later to break a scoreless deadlock in Lazio's 2-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday.

It was a textbook header at the edge of the box as Klose rose to meet a cross from Antonio Candreva. Three minutes later, Klose earned a penalty that Candreva converted.

The 35-year-old Klose needs one more goal to match Ronaldo's record of 15 at the World Cup, and he's hoping to get some playing time at next year's tournament in Brazil.

TEVEZ'S T

SHIRTS

Carlos Tevez is endearing himself to fans back home in Buenos Aires with each goal he scores for Juventus.

The Argentine has taken to celebrating by revealing T-shirts under his jersey with the names of poor neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

First came his home neighborhood, "Fuerte Apache," which is also Tevez's nickname. Next was "Ciudad Oculta," and after another goal in a 2-0 win over Genoa on Sunday it was "Isla Maciel," a neighborhood on the extreme outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Tevez has scored five goals in Serie A since transferring from Manchester City, plus one in Juve's Italian Super Cup win.

Follow Andrew Dampf at http://twitter.com/asdampf

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