Struggling Inter Milan
are praying their penalty curse does not strike again when
they face Serie A leaders Juventus on Saturday.
Roma, who like Inter have made a stuttering start, host
resurgent champions AC Milan in the weekend's other top match.
Inter have conceded five penalties in eight games, the
latest in a 1-1 draw at Atalanta on Wednesday. Even though
goalkeeper Luca Castellazi saved that last-minute spot-kick,
coach Claudio Ranieri was not placated.
"It was highly debatable and given by the linesman - in fact
so debatable that the referee didn't award it initially," said
Ranieri whose team are 16th with eight points.
"We have to get ourselves out of this situation where
everything keeps going wrong for us - fate, individual episodes.
Let's hope all this finishes soon.
"Of course it will make headlines that we've had five
penalties given against us in eight matches. And not one of them
Inter's chief executive Ernesto Paolillo said he found it
"baffling how easily they can be given against Inter, and yet
not be given with the same ease in other games."
"This evening's was very dubious, like all the penalties
given against us," Paolillo said.
"As a club we have a lot of respect for referees and we're
not going to complain to the people who appoint the referees,
but the federation president should act as a guarantor and
assess the performances of the referees and linesmen."
Juventus lead with 16 points but that does not mean it is
plain sailing for coach Antonio Conte who left Milos Krasic and
Alessandro Del Piero out of the team that beat Fiorentina 2-1 on
Director general Giuseppe Marotta backed the decisions,
admitting that Krasic had not been at his best, and said Conte
had full autonomy.
With Udinese and Lazio one point behind, Juventus, the only
unbeaten team, cannot afford any slip-ups. Lazio visit Cagliari
and Udinese host Palermo, both on Sunday.
Milan, two points behind Juventus, are the team in form
after winning their last three games and scoring 10 goals,
including hat-tricks from Kevin-Prince Boateng against Lecce and
Antonio Nocerino against Parma on Wednesday.
Roma have 11 points after their 2-1 defeat at Genoa. "I'm
not worried about pressure, I just look at the performance and I
was happy with that," said Roma coach Luis Enrique.
"We took the
game to them for the full 90 minutes."
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