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Buffon to face touted 17-year-old successor

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 10, 2014 at 6:59 am •  Published: April 10, 2014
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ROME (AP) — Gianluigi Buffon will face 17-year-old Simone Scuffet when Juventus visits Udinese on Monday in what is being billed as a matchup of the present and future Italy goalkeepers.

It's also a key match for Juventus in its bid for a third consecutive Serie A title.

Juve holds an eight-point lead over Roma with six matches to go but can't afford to drop many points with a game at the second-place club in the penultimate round.

Roma could put pressure on Juve with a home win over Atalanta on Saturday.

Also this weekend, third-place Napoli hosts Lazio, Inter Milan goes to Sampdoria and AC Milan hosts Catania.

Here are five things to know about the Italian league:

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BUFFON'S SUCCESSOR?: Both made their Serie A debuts at 17, both stand about 1.90 meters (6-foot-3) tall and both weigh about 85 kilograms (187 pounds).

And more similarities and comparisons between Buffon and Scuffet keep popping up as the younger 'keeper continues to impress since taking over the starting job at Udinese in February, when Zeljko Brkic was injured.

Scuffet maintained a clean sheet in his debut although he really began to make headlines when he defied Inter Milan at the San Siro with a series of difficult saves in a 0-0 draw two weeks ago.

Buffon has been complimentary of Scuffet and it will be interesting to see whether Italy coach Cesare Prandelli includes the teenager as his third-choice keeper for the World Cup, with Paris Saint-Germain's Salvatore Sirigu in line for the No. 2 spot.

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ROMA RAGE: Roma is enraged over the three-match ban handed to striker Mattia Destro for punching Cagliari defender Davide Astori.

The incident was not sanctioned by the referee so TV replays were used to decide the ban.

"It's true that he hit him but the referee saw it all," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said.

If TV replays were not used to decide the ban, then a rule technicality could result in the sanction being reduced on appeal.

Destro has been Roma's most in-form player, scoring 13 goals in 18 matches since starting his injury-delayed season in December — including a hat trick vs. Cagliari.

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