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Inter's chance to start closing gap

Published: Friday 26 November 2004, 17.45CET
Another draw will not do for FC Internazionale Milano as they look to make up ground on leaders Juventus FC. features

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Published: Friday 26 November 2004, 17.45CET

Inter's chance to start closing gap

Another draw will not do for FC Internazionale Milano as they look to make up ground on leaders Juventus FC.

FC Internazionale Milano host leaders Juventus FC on Sunday night in the 'Derby d'Italia', the meeting of the only two sides never to have been relegated from Serie A.

Defence the difference
Despite being the only undefeated side so far, Inter are 15 points behind the Bianconeri having drawn ten of their 12 games. Juventus have dominated the opening months of the season, claiming an impressive ten victories out of 12. Both sides have scored 23 goals but their defensive records set them apart. Juventus have conceded only four goals, while Inter's defence has been breached 20 times.

Del Piero missing
Juventus, however, will go into the game without their captain Alessandro Del Piero, who is recovering from a minor thigh injury. With David Trezeguet out until February, the in-form Marcelo Zalayeta will link up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.

Mancini wary
"Del Piero is a great player," said Inter coach Roberto Mancini. "But Zalayeta is also very dangerous. He always manages to do something important for the team. I know 15 points are probably too many, but a win against Juve will give us the opportunity to play our next games in a more relaxed way."

Martins on form
After scoring in the 1-1 draw against Werder Bremen on Wednesday, Obafemi Martins could have earned himself a place alongside Adriano in attack. Former Juventus star Christian Vieri is also competing for a place in their starting eleven.

Stars return
AC Milan, six points behind Juventus, hope their city rivals can stop the Bianconeri as they visit AC Chievo Verona. Andriy Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson should both be available after missing the 4-0 Champions League win against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

Tuscan form
Third-placed Udinese Calcio visit in-form AS Livorno Calcio on Saturday. The club from Tuscany have taken 14 points from an unbeaten run of six matches. AS Roma visit AC Siena on the same day.

Gilardino back
UEFA Cup contenders S.S. Lazio and Parma FC take on Cagliari Calcio and UC Sampdoria respectively on Sunday, while fourth-placed FC Messina Peloro host ACF Fiorentina. Alberto Gilardino is ready to return in attack for Parma after missing the UEFA Cup defeat by R. Standard de Liège.

Atalanta hopeful
Elsewhere, Bologna FC host US Lecce and Brescia Calcio take on US Città di Palermo, while Atalanta BC have a chance to win their first game of the season at home against Reggina Calcio.

Last updated: 27/11/04 19.22CET

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