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FOOTBALL - ITALY

Juventus brimming with confidence ahead of Inter trip

Text by: AFP
3 min

Probably the biggest match in Europe this weekend: Juventus up against champions and hosts Inter Milan in San Siro. Juve's Brazilian forward Amauri is convinced his team can more than match Inter.

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Juventus are brimming with confidence ahead of this weekend's crunch clash against champions Inter Milan.

Juve are only three points behind Jose Mourinho's leaders in third place and come into the match off the back of seven successive victories in all competitions.

Their last was one of their most impressive with a 4-1 defeat of Genoa who had previously come away from the San Siro with a 0-0 draw against Inter.

Not only that but they beat Real Madrid home and away in the Champions League during that run and there is a palpable feeling around Turin that the glory days could be on their way back.

Juve's Brazilian forward Amauri is convinced his team can more than match Inter.

"If we take to the pitch with the same mentality as in the last seven games we will do well," he said.

"At this time of year a result cannot be decisive but nevertheless it's a crucial match: the winners could go top of the league.

"Juve are in great form while Inter won well against Palermo. They will be at home and will have that little lift.

"But looking back at our last seven matches, at the two victories over Real, that too can give us a boost.

"Juve are playing better at the moment."

Claudio Ranieri's side did not start the season very well, winning only two of their first seven Serie A matches.

But five scudetto successes on the bounce has launched them up the table and only Milan rivals Inter and AC sit above them.

What makes this game particularly special is that it is known as the derby of Italy between arguably the country's two biggest clubs, even if Milan have won more European titles than the two of them put together.

Even Inter president Massimo Moratti is getting excited about this match, after which Juventus could return to the top of Serie A for the first time since being stripped of the 2006 title, and relegated, for match-fixing.

"The tension is always there for this type of 'classic' match which is eagerly anticipated by both players and fans," he said.

One of the key players is expected to be Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored twice last weekend against Palermo but has never netted against his former employers.

"He's never scored against Juve?" asked Moratti. "Well the important thing is that Ibrahimovic plays like he did against Palermo.

"He's in form. Whether he scores or sets one up, the important thing is that he continues to play well."

Should that match finish goalless, Milan could return to the top of the table with victory at Torino.

They have not lost since the second Serie A match of the season but their recent victories have all been narrow and goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, a former Torino player, is wary.

"I had a great time at Torino and I can't deny that I'm a bit emotional," he said.

"This match is important for us to continue earning the results we have been getting.

"Torino are a good group, they've been unlucky and I think they should be higher up the league (they are 16th).

"It will definitely be a tough match."

In other games Fiorentina host Udinese with both teams coming into the match off a defeat and needing three points to try to relaunch their title hopes.

Napoli and Lazio, who also lost last week, will be trying to keep pace with the top three as they host Genoa and Cagliari respectively.

And AS Roma will try to build on recent victories over Lazio and Chelsea as they travel to Lecce looking for their first away points of the season.
 

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