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Juve meets Inter with eye on rivals for 2nd place

JUVENTUS hosts Inter Milan tomorrow in a matchup of the Italian league's top two teams, but the Turin power appears more concerned with the two clubs chasing it in the Serie A standings - AC Milan and Genoa.

Inter leads the league with 73 points. Juventus is next with 63 points, while Milan has 61 and Genoa has 57. With only seven rounds remaining, Inter's 10-point lead is considered insurmountable.

"It's still a big game for us and the fans," Juventus forward Vincenzo Iaquinta said. "And we've got to try and win because we've got to keep an eye on Milan and Genoa."

Genoa, which beat Juve 3-2 last weekend, hosts Lazio immediately before the Juve-Inter game, while Milan faces Torino at the San Siro on Sunday.

An Inter victory could drop Juventus to third place.

"We realize that's what's going to happen if we don't win," Iaquinta told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's our own fault. We started to think about the Inter match too soon."

Juventus drew 3-3 with struggling Chievo Verona two weeks ago, and coupled with the loss to Genoa, the Bianconeri have only gained one point in their last two games.

Iaquinta has been one of the few Juventus players to perform well lately, scoring six goals over the last month. He should pair with either Alessandro Del Piero or David Trezeguet in attack.

Juventus midfielder Mauro Camoranesi is suspended after getting sent off against Genoa.

Inter striker Adriano has deserted the club to rethink his future in Brazil, meaning Zlatan Ibrahimovic will pair with either Mario Balotelli, Julio Ricardo Cruz or Hernan Crespo.

Christian Chivu and Walter Samuel are set to return for Inter in defense.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho has said his team needs only a draw against Juventus to virtually clinch the title, but club president Massimo Moratti wants more.

"We've got to go to Turin on Saturday to win, because it's the right thing to do and because playing for a draw doesn't work well," Moratti said. "Of course we feel the possibility of winning the title, but we've got to remain intense, otherwise you approach the game in the wrong manner."

Milan has its eyes on second place after consecutive wins, and Ronaldinho is feeling better after a rough start to the year.

"I'm happy to feel well in such an important moment for the team," the Brazilian said. "I'm ready to give the club a hand. We've been gaining some important points."

Genoa has gained widespread praise after its victory over Juventus, when Thiago Motta scored twice.

"There's not one team in the league that has played beautiful football the way Genoa has all season," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.

Genoa faces a Lazio side coming off a 4-2 derby win over AS Roma.

In the race for the final Champions League spot, Genoa holds a two-point lead over Fiorentina, which visits Udinese.

Also Sunday, it's: Atalanta vs. Reggina; Cagliari vs. Napoli; Catania vs. Sampdoria; Palermo vs. Bologna; AS Roma vs. Lecce; and Siena vs. Chievo Verona.


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