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Soccer-Ominous Juventus gearing up for three-in-a-row


By Terry Daley

ROME, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Juventus showed why they are still the team to beat in Serie A as the fringe members of their squad helped move them six points clear of unbeaten AS Roma with a seventh straight league victory on Friday.

Juve's starting 11 in the comfortable 2-0 win at Bologna featured five non-regulars, including Federico Peluso, who set up Arturo Vidal's 12th minute opener with a superb chipped pass, and out-of-favour strikers Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella. All slotted into their required roles with little fuss.

"The fact that with five players who don't always start the level of performance was that high is the most important thing for me," Juve coach Antonio Conte told reporters.

"I knew that whoever I picked would put in a great performance... all my players need to be ready for action."

Roma can close the gap back to three with victory at home to Fiorentia on Sunday (1130GMT). Third place Napoli, nine points off Juve, host Udinese later on Saturday (1945 GMT).

Since slumping to an embarrassing 4-2 defeat at Fiorentina in October, Conte's Italian champions have been in devastating form, not conceding a goal in their impressive league run and pulling themselves back from the dead in the Champions League.

"When I see something that's going wrong, I'm lucky in that I have bright players who listen to me and look to correct those errors," said Conte, whose side have won 13 of their 15 league matches.

"We have good players, but our organisation is the bedrock of our game. Everyone knows the job they have to do, so given the quality we have, it's obvious that everything becomes more straightforward."

Friday's win was perfect preparation for their Champions League showdown at Galatasaray on Tuesday.

They only need a draw in Istanbul to qualify for the last 16, despite a shaky group stage which has seen them win only once and throw away points through uncharacteristic defensive slip-ups at Copenhagen and against Tuesday's opponents.

"We made qualification more difficult for ourselves and it's only right we now have to resolve the situation," added Conti.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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