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Juve Looking for Inter Derby Favour in Serie A

06 May 2012

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Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero celebrates after scoring during a Italian Serie A match 


AFP

Juventus will be hoping their oldest rivals Inter Milan can do them a favour by winning their city derby against AC Milan on Sunday, reports AFP.

The Serie A title race has come down to the final two matches of the season with Juve leading the reigning champions by a single point.

Milan must beat their cross-city rivals to ensure they make it to the final game of the season in with a chance of taking the title.

If they fail to do so, Juve know they can claim a record 28th scudetto crown with victory at Cagliari, in a match being played in Trieste due to the Sardinians' unplayable pitch.

It's an awful position for Inter to be in as whatever they do, they will help one of their two hated rivals.

But they too have an objective, although one that has now become a little more distant following their 3-1 defeat at Parma on Wednesday.

Inter are chasing third place and a Champions League qualifying finish but they trail Napoli and Udinese by three points.

Even if they win their final two matches it may not be enough, although if they want to play in Europe at all next season, the minimum they must do is maintain their four-point lead over seventh-placed Roma.

And club president Massimo Moratti insists they will try to win and let fate decide which of their bitter rivals takes the scudetto crown.

"We'll play the derby with the usual spirit, it's a unique match and we're not favourites," said Moratti.

"This year it's one or the other (Milan or Juve) who will do it, I don't know which would be better (for us)."

Juve could have been already halfway there but they threw away victory at home to Lecce on Wednesday.

They led 1-0 from the ninth minute and played the last 35 minutes with a numerical advantage.

But despite creating a host of chances to finish off their relegation threatened opponents, they blew victory five minutes from time when a mistake from goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon gifted Andrea Bertolacci an equaliser.

Coach Antonio Conte admitted after that blip that his side may have let the sniff of glory get to them.

"The prize was a big one (had they won) and maybe that took away a bit of our lucidity," he said.

"I'm a fatalist, if things happen it's because they were meant to."

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was simply relieved to have closed the gap at an unexpected time.

It also means they can guarantee they take the race to the final day by beating Inter, something that would not have been the case had Juve triumphed against Lecce.

The Turin giants have the edge in head-to-head meetings with Milan, meaning the rossoneri have to make up two points to win.

And Allegri believes Cagliari have ample motivation to fight for a point against Juve.

"Football is strange, we know that, we're still behind but it's better than it was before," he said.

"Nothing's changed, we had to win every match before and we still do now.

"Cagliari need one point to be safe (from relegation) so who knows."

Napoli travel to Bologna and Udinese host Genoa in the race for third, although if either drop points than Inter and Lazio, who travel to Atalanta, could come back at them.

On Saturday, Roma all but crashed out of contention for a place in Europe next season with a limp performance in a 2-2 draw at home to Catania.

Roma are now mathematically out of Champions League contention and are two points behind the final Europa League place, but they have just one match left while the teams above them will all play twice.

Lecce are almost certain to be relegated following their 1-0 Saturday's defeat at home to Fiorentina.

Serse Cosmi's team now trail Genoa in the final survival spot by three points but they have only one match left.

Fixtures

Sunday (1300GMT unless otherwise stated)

Atalanta v Lazio, Bologna v Napoli, Novara v Cesena, Palermo v Chievo, Udinese v Genoa, Cagliari v Juventus (1845GMT), Inter Milan v AC Milan (1845GMT)

Tags: World, Sports, Alessandro Del Piero

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