Juventus, Inter Milan renew battle for Serie A?s top honours


MILAN: Juventus and Inter Milan return to their duel at the top of Serie A after midweek European successes, with Napoli carrying the momentum of a 1-1 draw at Liverpool as they look to snap a seven-game winless run and climb up the table.Serie A football leaders Juventus are at home to 14th-placed Sassuolo on Saturday after ensuring they will finish top of their Champions League group with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in Turin.The eight-time reigning Serie A champions are unbeaten this season and are one point ahead of Inter Milan, who kept their European ambitions burning with a 3-1 win at Slavia Prague.Juventus have a perfect home record against Sassuolo with six wins in as many games. “Right now, we are only showing flashes of what we feel we can achieve and we would like to show more consistently,” said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri.Cristiano Ronaldo has returned after a slight knee problem, giving Sarri a selection dilemma with Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain in top form.Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 41, could start in place of Wojciech Szczesny, as he looks to close in on Paolo Maldini’s record for Serie A appearances.Antonio Conte’s Inter have a chance to keep the momentum going as they host lowly SPAL, who have never won in the San Siro.But Conte sees the side from Emilia-Romagna, who are second-bottom of the league, as “another test” as they build towards their Champions League clash with Barcelona.Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli host Bologna after a 1-1 draw at Anfield left them well-placed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Italians had travelled to Merseyside in disarray with Ancelotti seemingly on the brink of being sacked after a slump to seventh in Serie A.President Aurelio De Laurentiis has also threatened to sell the entire squad and take legal action against the players after they refused his orders to be confined to a week-long training camp earlier this month.But Ancelotti declared that “coming out of Anfield alive,” had pleased De Laurentiis and boosted morale.“We are united and there is determination on the part of everyone to return and demonstrate our potential,” said Ancelotti.Napoli have taken just four points from their last five league games, but have won their last five home games against 15th-placed Bologna.Atalanta host the ‘Derby of Lombardy’ against Brescia after creating history with their first ever Champions League win, 2-0 over Dinamo Zagreb. Atalantastar striker Duvan Zapata’s injury absence has seen the team slip to sixth, three points off the Champions League places.
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