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Aug, 5, 2012

Conte sits out Juventus friendly

Juventus beat Malaga 2-0 on Saturday night but more intriguing than the result was the absence of Antonio Conte from the bench.

• Conte plea bargain rejected

The game - the Turin giants' final friendly ahead of the Italian Super Cup on August 11 - was decided by a brace from striker Alessandro Matri but Conte's decision to watch from a private box was the major talking point.

With the very real prospect of a lengthy touchline ban hanging over their coach, Juventus instead opted to have former player Massimo Carrera take charge of the side. This has been discussed by the club as a viable solution should the FIGC hand Conte the 15-month suspension requested by prosecutor Stefano Palazzi.

Carrera, already part of the coaching staff for the Bianconeri, would only need to take the reins on match days as the ban would still allow Conte to train the players during the week while preventing him from being in the dressing room before games or at half-time and conducting pre-game press conferences.

The game itself saw the 3-5-2 system utilised once again with Matri and Sebastian Giovinco showing a superb understanding as their attacking partnership begins to flourish now the latter is back with Juventus. Fellow Italy international Leonardo Bonucci also came on as a late substitute, earning a huge ovation from the crowd just hours after his own court appearance in the same match-fixing trial.

League champions Juventus will now return to train in Turin before flying to China to face Italian Cup winners Napoli in Beijing's Birds Nest Stadium.

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