Football: Turin test for Internazionale

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The Independent Online
Internazionale, the new Italian league leaders, face their first serious test of the season when they travel to Turin to face the European champions, Juventus tomorrow night.

Five games into the new season, Inter lead by just one point from a quartet of second placed sides - Parma, Roma, Bologna, and Juventus.

Inter might be top but they have not impressed in picking up nine of their 10 points against Serie A also-rans, Udinese, Perugia, Atalanta and Piacenza.

In a midweek Uefa Cup home tie, Inter again struggled to beat the modest Austrian side Casino Graz 1-0, thanks to an 81st-minute goal from the French defender Jocelyn Angloma.

The Inter defender Salvatore Fresi argues that, media criticism notwithstanding, being on top of the league brings a psychological advantage. "The difference between this season and last is tangible, opponents look on us with more respect. Let's hope it goes well in Turin. The longer we remain on top, the more respect we'll earn, the more opponents will fear us," he said.

Recent tradition is against Inter since their last league win against Juventus came in the 1992/93 season when they pulled off a 3-1 and 2-0 home and away double.

Tomorrow Inter will also be without their influential English midfielder Paul Ince, who is suspended, following his sending off against Piacenza last Saturday.

Inter's English coach, Roy Hodgson, will replace Ince with the Swiss midfielder Ciriaco Sforza, alongside the Argentine Javier Zanetti, the Frenchman Youri Djorkaeff and the Dutchman, Aron Winter.

In attack, Maurizio Ganz may be preferred to the Chilean, Ivan Zamorano, as a partner for Marco Branca.

Juventus have also had a week of mixed fortunes which saw them held to a 1-1 draw by the Austrian side, RapidVienna, in the Champions' League on Wednesday, five days after a 2-1 league defeat by Vicenza.

The goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi and the French midfielder Zinedine Zidane, who both missed the Rapid encounter, are expected to return.

The Croat, Alen Boksic, and Michele Padovano will form the attack, while Zidane regains his place alongside his compatriot Didier Deschamps and Angelo Di Livio, probably at the expense of the Serb Vladimir Jugovic.

Juventus's stylish striker Alessandro Del Piero, who has been out of action since sustaining an ankle injury last month, is expected to come on as a second-half substitute.