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AC and Inter hungry for Milanese derby
MILAN (Mar 19, 1998 - 18:54 EST) - Milan will once again be the capital
of Italian football this weekend, when AC face archrivals Inter in
another take-no-prisoners derby at San Siro. Both sides have been
successful recently on cup duty, with Inter reaching the UEFA
semi-finals and AC Milan through to next month's Italian Cup final
However, both sides also desperately need all three points on Sunday
night -- Inter for their league title bid, while further down the Serie
A table, AC need them to reach the UEFA Cup zone. Inter ought to win,
but having been thrashed 5-0 by their neighbors earlier in the season,
anything is possible. Ronaldo is fit after a disappointing performance
Schalke 04 in midweek, leaving coach Gigi Simoni to pick a striker
partner for him from Youri Djorkaeff, N***wo Kanu and Ivan Zamorano.
Djorkaeff should be the successful candidate, but the Frenchman needs to
bounce back after a disappointing run of form. Dutchman Aron Winter,
rested against the Germans, and Portugal's Paulo Sousa, ineligible for
European cup duty, both return to the midfield. The pair join up with
Francesco Moriero and Argentine ironman Diego Simeone, who has finished
the last two games with his head bandaged after receiving a *** head
wound against Atalanta.
Inter president Massimo Moratti, whose team are
just behind Juventus and Lazio, said: "I don't know if it will be an
advantage to know what the other sides have done when we play, but I'm
not interested anyway. The important thing, in a thrilling end to the
like this, is to not look for any excuses, and to always believe we can
They're a great bunch of players, and they mustn't give up."
However, the fighting talk was also coming from the other side of
Lombardy's capital city, and AC Milan's local hero Demetrio Albertini.
The Italian midfielder, who returns from a month out through injury, is
always nervous about the derby games. "But this one is special," he
insisted, "because both sides have got so much to lose: us with the UEFA
Cup and them with the Champions League. Whoever loses on Sunday will
jeopardize their position."
AC coach Fabio Capello will be putting his faith in a rejuvenated
Patrick Kluivert and Liberian striker George Weah, backed by their
elegant French winger Ibrahim Ba.
If Inter have a major obstacle blocking their way up the table, life
will be no easier for pacesetters Juventus, who are away to Parma.
Spirits will have been lifted by reaching the Champions League
semi-finals, thanks to a hat-trick from Filippo Inzaghi, but Parma have
an awesome home record this season: just one defeat in seven months. The
leaders are meanwhile only two points ahead of Lazio after a humbling
draw with Napoli, and with Lazio facing easy prey in Piacenza, Sunday
would be a bad time for Juventus to lose a match.
Serie A fixtures on Sunday: Atalanta v Empoli, Bari v Sampdoria,
Fiorentina v Bologna, Lazio v Piacenza, Napoli v Lecce, Parma v
Juventus, Udinese v Brescia, Vicenza v AS Roma, AC Milan v Inter Milan
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