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AC Milan out to open 4-point lead with derby win

AC Milan out to open 4-point lead with derby win

AC Milan can score an early blow against city rivals Inter Milan in Saturday's derby when Leonardo's side will aim to open up a four-point lead over Jose Mourinho's team.
AC Milan started the season with a 2-1 win away to Siena, while Inter were held to a 1-1 draw at home despite the first goal in a competitive game from summer signing Samuel Eto'o.
Ronaldinho, the AC Milan playmaker, showed flashes of the form he displayed at Barcelona by setting up both Alexandre Pato goals from his position behind the strikers.
However, despite the win, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister and owner of AC Milan, criticized Leonardo's tactics by declaring he would have picked a different attacking trio.
"If it was up to me I would have played (Clarence) Seedorf behind Pato and Ronaldinho," he said. "You want Ronaldinho playing near the penalty area as either a striker, or support striker."
Midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is also back to near his best after a season marred by injury and is hoping that victory in the derby will give AC Milan an edge in the title race.
"It doesn't matter that we're ahead of them, for a few years now Inter have had a slow start," he said. "The real danger is having the derby so early into the season, as losing it in round two could psychologically affect the team."
Mourinho has come under fire this week for comments suggesting that observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan negatively affected Inter midfielder Sulley Muntari's performance.
The Ghanaian was substituted after 30 minutes in the match against Bari, a fixture that was played prior to sun down, when Muntari, a practicing Muslim, can not eat or drink.
Inter defender Marco Materazzi was also brought off during the match and said that it won't be any easier for his side at the San Siro.
"They have three points, us only one, so they are the favorites," he declared. "I don't think of them as enemies, but as adversaries. The derby is always the derby wherever and whenever it is played. It is always passionate whether it is played in August or December."
Wesley Sneijder, who joined Inter from Real Madrid for ⁈lion (US$21 million) on Wednesday, is likely to be included in the side and form an attacking trio with Eto'o and Diego Milito.
Juventus appeared uninspired during a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona and Ciro Ferrara's team must now travel to play AS Roma, who will be hoping to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to Genoa.
One bright spot in the match was the performance of Juventus summer signing Diego, who set up Vincenzo Iaquinta for the winning goal and provided the side with a rare moment of inspiration.
Juventus captain Alessandro is hopeful of a return to action to add further impetus to the team's attack at Rome's Olympic Stadium.
"It was a shame I missed the start, but I will be there against Roma," he said. "We are pleased to have started with a win. It was a tough and difficult match, but in the end we got the three points."
Roma will aim to bounce back from a late collapse against Genoa which scored two late goals to win the match.
Roma central defender Nicolas Burdisso made his debut in that game following his loan move from Inter and expects improvements in the forthcoming matches.
"(Luciano) Spalletti has already made a good impression on me as he is someone who wants his team to play," he said. "The squad here is more Italian than at Inter and that is good for me.
"Here the teams plays in a different manner, much more attractive than what they play at Inter, who are more worried about shape and solidity."
In the weekend's other matches, it is; Bari vs. Bologna; Atalanta vs. Genoa; Cagliari vs. Siena; Chievo Verona vs. Lazio; Fiorentina vs. Palermo; Napoli vs. Livorno; Parma vs. Catania and Sampdoria vs. Udinese.


Updated : 2021-06-19 23:23 GMT+08:00