Football / European round-up: Milan look to improve

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The Independent Online
(First Edition) MILAN, the struggling Italian champions, will be hoping for a morale-boosting victory when they face Juventus in Turin today after a troubled week.

They were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by local rivals Internazionale, and Uefa upheld the decision to dock two points from Milan in the Champions' League, following crowd trouble against Salzburg.

Milan currently lie seventh in Serie A, five points behind leaders Parma, and will be without their left-back Paolo Maldini, currently recovering from a broken nose, but Ruud Gullit and Dejan Savicevic could return.

Fabio Capello, the Milan coach, refuses to be discouraged. After the defeat by Inter, he said: 'My team seemed to me to be well motivated, full of determination and concentration. All of that is positive and anyway we were on top. Inter's two goals were gifts from our defence. I wouldn't say that the (Uefa) ruling had any effect on the game.'

Juventus, who beat Reggiana to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup, welcome back Roberto Baggio, Paulo Sousa, and international Antonio Conte, all rested in midweek in preparation for this game.

Parma, currently one point clear at the top of Serie A, are at home to second-placed Roma, who overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit in their midweek Cup match to progress to the quarter-finals, beating Genoa 3-0. Roma will be without their captain Giuseppe Giannini, midfielders Francesco Moriero, Jonas Thern and Francesco Statuto, and defenders Enrico Annoni and Marco Lanna.

However, Carlo Mazzone, the Roma coach, is optimistic. 'This will be a big day for me, the first in the table against the second,' he said. 'I'm used to playing at the other end of the table. Against Parma, we're really going to have a go.'

Parma, who also won through to the quarter-finals of the Cup after beating Cagliari 3-1 on aggregate, will be without suspended left-back Alberto Di Chiara.

In Germany, Bayern Munich are trying to cool a war of words between their captain Lothar Matthaus and striker Jean-Pierre Papin. Matthaus said Papin was 'talking rubbish' when he accused Bayern of having no solidarity in the dressing room, and said players were too quick to criticise each other in public.

In Spain, the Madrid coach, Jorge Valdano, has described his one-month suspension for fielding four foreign players at the same time - if only for 90 seconds - as unfair. 'The injustice of the punishment is far greater than my mistake,' he said. 'To apply the rules up to their limit leads to fascism.' Real Madrid have already begun an appeal.

(Photograph omitted)

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