Europeran Football: Bergkamp ban lifted

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

INTERNAZIONALE, reeling from their Uefa Cup penalties defeat by Aston Villa on Thursday, have been consoled by the news that Dennis Bergkamp can play in today's Serie A clash with Juventus.

The Italian league disciplinary committee has halved a two-match ban imposed on the Dutchman after he was sent off for elbowing a Brescia defender on 18 September. Bergkamp sat out his team's 3-1 victory over Fiorentina last weekend.

The World Cup star Roberto Baggio is expected to return to action for Juventus after a three-week lay-off through injury, probably at the expense of the reserve striker Fabrizio Ravanelli, who scored all five goals in their Uefa Cup demolition of CSKA Sofia on Tuesday.

The coach, Marcello Lippi, has to choose between Ravanelli and 19-year-old Alessandro Del Piero for the third position in the attack, alongside Baggio and Gianluca Vialli.

A modest Ravanelli said: 'I'm ready to return to the subs' bench for Baggio. He's a player who can make the difference, and I don't have the skills of either Baggio or Del Piero.'

Juventus, who go the home match top of the table with Roma and Parma, will again be without their injured Portuguese midfielder, Paulo Sousa. Milan, the title holders, boosted by their Champions League victory over Salzburg on Wednesday, will be without their captain, Franco Baresi, for their home game against Brescia. Baresi was substituted midway through the first half against Salzburg following a clash of heads with team-mate Christian Panucci, and may be out for 10 days.

Parma, who confirmed their good form with a 2-0 elimination of the Dutch side Vitesse in their Uefa Cup outing on Tuesday, should be at full strength for their home game against Torino.

Lazio, another club to hit their stride in midweek, beating Dinamo Minsk 4-1, field their impressive strike force of Alen Boksic, Roberto Rambaudi and Giuseppe Signori for a difficult game at Fiorentina.

The Spanish champions Barcelona, smarting from a midweek European Cup defeat in Sweden, seek consolation in a league clash on Sunday at Real Zaragoza, the team that humiliated them 6-3 last season.

Barcelona went down 2-1 to IFK Gothenburg on Wednesday, conceding two goals in the last 15 minutes in a performance described by their coach, Johan Cruyff, as 'really stupid'.

The Brazilian striker Romario is likely to miss his third consecutive match for Barcelona because of a thigh strain suffered in a European Cup game against Galatasaray.

The police will be watching the match with interest, as a Spanish commission charged with cracking down on violence in sport has classified it as a high-risk encounter.

The league leaders Real Madrid travel to Sporting Gijon today but without the full-back Quique Sanchez Flores, sent off in last weekend's 4-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao.

(Photograph omitted)

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