By Paolo Menicucci
Italian champions AC Milan and last season's runners up AS Roma go head to head on Sunday night as both sides look for the victory that could help them forget a bad week.
The Rossoneri are second, five points behind leaders Juventus FC, but lost against FC Barcelona FC on Tuesday and will be without Filippo Inzaghi and Jaap Stam for a long period as both players need ankle surgery. Meanwhile, visitors Roma are ninth, 13 points behind Juve and have conceded 16 goals in nine games. Moreover, their 1-1 draw against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Wednesday meant the Giallorossi are already out of the UEFA Champions League.
On the up
Andriy Shevchenko, who has scored 12 of the 24 goals scored by Milan in all competitions this season, is sure the Rossoneri are on the right path. "I think we are improving day by day," he said. "Juventus are always winning so we have to do the same thing, starting with the game against Roma." Fabio Capello's Juve are on a roll having won eight of their nine games so far. They visit Reggina Calcio on Saturday.
High-flying US Lecce dropped off the pace after suffering a 4-0 defeat on their travels at ACF Fiorentina last Sunday. Zdenek Zeman's side, however, are still third and can have high hopes when they welcome Udinese Calcio to the Via del Mare stadium. Meanwhile, fourth-placed FC Messina Peloro visit Bologna FC without suspended top scorer Riccardo Zampagna.
On the up
Just one point behind Messina, Fiorentina and FC Internazionale Milano meet in Florence on Sunday. The Viola have recorded two consecutive wins since coach Sergio Buso arrived, while Inter are still unbeaten, having drawn seven of their nine games. Cagliari Calcio and AC Chievo Verona each have 13 points like Inter and Fiorentina. On Sunday, the Sardinian team receive in-form AS Livorno Calcio, who have won their last three games, while Chievo visit Brescia Calcio, who have three players suspended, in the only other Saturday fixture.
Finally, Sunday's other matches see UEFA Cup contenders S.S. Lazio face AC Siena, while Parma FC visit US Città di Palermo. Atalanta, finally, look for their first Serie A win against visiting UC Sampdoria.
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