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Juve's Pepe faces long spell on sidelines

Juventus say utility player Simone Pepe will be "out of action for a long time" after suffering a second tear to his left thigh muscle.

Pepe, 29, had returned to action only recently, making a 20-minute against Lazio last month following months on the sideline with the first injury.

But Juve confirmed that he had suffered a setback in a statement on their official website, which said: "Pepe will have to be out of action for a long time yet.

"Over the last few days, the player suffered a new muscular problem at the semi-membrane level of the left thigh.

"It is a I-II degree lesion in the area of the previous lesion, which had healed. To avoid further setbacks, he will have a period of complete rest and treatment, so will only return when his condition is completely healed."

The injury will be a blow to Juve coach Antonio Conte, because Pepe had been set to deputise for Kwadwo Asamoah when the Ghanaian heads to the African Nations Cup next month.

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