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Derby d'Italia tests Inter title credentials

Published: Friday 16 April 2010, 9.00CET
José Mourinho's 100th game at the FC Internazionale Milano helm could hardly be more significant: Juventus visit San Siro with the Nerazzurri desperate to reignite their title hopes.
Derby d'Italia tests Inter title credentials
José Mourinho's Inter will look to reclaim the Serie A lead on Friday night ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 16 April 2010, 9.00CET

Derby d'Italia tests Inter title credentials

José Mourinho's 100th game at the FC Internazionale Milano helm could hardly be more significant: Juventus visit San Siro with the Nerazzurri desperate to reignite their title hopes.

FC Internazionale Milano could end the season with an historic treble or trophy-less for the first time in six years. First things first, however – tonight brings arch-rivals Juventus to the San Siro for the Derby d'Italia and José Mourinho's 100th game in charge of the Nerazzurri.

Inter are still in the running on three fronts after reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 aggregate victory against PFC CSKA Moskva, and the Coppa Italia final thanks to a two-legged triumph over ACF Fiorentina. They were held 2-2 by the Viola in the league last weekend, though, and subsequently relinquished the Serie A ascendancy to AS Roma for the first time in six months.

Mourinho has led Inter to 59 victories, 26 draws and 14 losses since joining in summer 2008 and will know that a 15th defeat, against the Bianconeri, could put a serious dent in their hopes of winning a fifth successive Scudetto – a feat achieved only by Torino FC more than half a century ago.

Inter, who will be hoping Roma slip up in their derby against S.S. Lazio on Saturday, will have one cause for celebration whatever the outcome with captain Javier Zanetti set to make his 500th league appearance for the club. Juventus coach Alberto Zaccheroni is planning to spoil the occasion for his former employers. "At the moment Inter are stronger than us, but in the recent weeks I have seen positive signals from the team," said the 57-year-old, who is in charge until the season's end. "I want to see a tough Juventus at San Siro."

Indeed, since Zaccheroni replaced Ciro Ferrara at the Juventus helm, La Vecchia Signora have racked up an identical points' tally to that of Inter (18) and sit sixth in the standings. "We both need points, I don't think Inter will be focused on the [UEFA Champions League semi-final] against Barcelona," added Zaccheroni, who will be without David Trezeguet. "I will decide only before the game who will play."

Last updated: 16/04/10 12.03CET

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