Zlatan Ibrahimovic has lost his
appeal against the third game of his suspension and will miss
leaders AC Milan's top-of-the-table Serie A clash with unbeaten
top scorers Juventus, who also boast the best defence.
Banned for three matches for slapping an opponent against
Napoli earlier this month, Ibrahimovic has already served two
games and must now sit out Saturday's meeting at San Siro.
"The decision of the appeal court of the soccer federation
is unjust because it has applied a sanction designed for violent
acts to an act which was not violent," A Milan statement said.
"It is a grave error of judgement."
Milan top Serie A with 50 points and 48 goals scored from 24
games but Juventus, who have conceded 14, are one point behind
and have a game in hand.
Juventus have subjected champions Milan to two of their six
defeats in all competitions this season, winning 2-0 in Turin in
Serie A in October and 2-1 at San Siro in the first leg of an
Italian Cup semi-final earlier this month.
Since then, Milan have returned to winning ways with a 2-1
win at third-placed Udinese, a 4-0 demolition of Arsenal in the
Champions League and 3-1 win at Cesena.
Milan have though slipped up in other big matches this
season - losing to Inter Milan, Napoli, Lazio and Barcelona -
while Juve's problems have been against smaller sides, drawing
with Cagliari, Parma and Siena since the start of the year.
Milan centre-back Thiago Silva expects victory for
Massimiliano Allegri's outfit.
"It's an important challenge. I am happy with the squad, we
have rediscovered our will to win," the Brazilian told Milan
Buoyant Napoli, who beat Chelsea 3-1 in the Champions League
on Tuesday, host down-at-heel Inter Milan on Sunday with
Claudio Ranieri's team having taken only one point from their
Inter suffered further misery on Wednesday with a 1-0 defeat
at Olympique Marseille in their Champions League last16
Udinese, third with 42 points, visit Bologna in another
Sunday evening game when fourth-placed Lazio complete a
turbulent week at home to Fiorentina.
Beaten 5-1 at Palermo on Sunday, Lazio coach Edoardo Reja
offered his resignation on Wednesday but it was turned down by
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