MILAN - Inter Milan's stirring 4-0 win
over Werder Bremen in the Champions League on Wednesday came at
a cost ahead of Sunday's juicy clash against Juventus.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar and centre-back Lucio had to come
off injured with muscle problems in the waltz past the Germans
while before the game, Inter president Massimo Moratti
continued a war of words with his Juve counterparts.
It all served to add extra intrigue to the Serie A
encounter, which is dubbed the "Derby of Italy" given the two
dominant sides' fierce rivalry over 50 years.
Treble winners Inter, top of Serie A yet again after five
games as they seek a sixth straight scudetto, already had
doubts over the fitness of striker Diego Milito, captain Javier
Zanetti and defender Walter Samuel for the San Siro game.
The loss of Julio Cesar and Lucio too would be a big blow
to the European champions but all five hope to lineup against
"They are all different injuries. We'll have to wait, we
don't know how they'll progress," new Inter coach Rafael
Benitez told reporters as he gears up for a first "derby"
against a team so heavily linked with him in the media last
The injuries did not hamper Inter in their second Champions
league Group A outing on Wednesday, with Samuel Eto'o running
riot to score a hat-trick albeit against a weak Werder defence.
Ninth-placed Juve, a poor seventh last term, have been
leaking goals again this season but three from new winger Milos
Krasic sealed a 4-2 win over Cagliari last weekend in contrast
to Inter's 1-0 loss at AS Roma.
Juve are Italy's most successful domestic club with 27
league titles, but the fact the Turin club say they actually
won 29 scudettos is where the extra rivalry with Inter comes
A 2006 match-fixing scandal led a now weakened Juve to be
demoted from Serie A and have their 2005 and 2006 titles
stripped, with the latter one awarded to Inter.
Juve, who are also Italy's most-supported club, say new
evidence in the criminal trial linked to the match-fixing shows
Inter were implicated in the scandal too and should lose the
Inter deny any wrongdoing and Moratti said on Wednesday
that Juve should be giving up more of their past titles because
of the affair instead of trying to drag them into the mire.
The San Siro will be packed and the atmosphere will be
heated whatever happens on the field.
AC Milan, whose animosity for their city rivals is probably
less than the hostility between Inter and Juve, will hope the
other two traditional powerhouses cancel each other out.
The Rossoneri, with former Inter and Juve striker Zlatan
Ibrahimovic in fine form despite a minor knock, visit Parma on
Saturday while Napoli entertain Roma on Sunday.
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