Mancini faces choices as Inter look to bounce back

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After contrasting fortunes in the Champions' League this week, Milan and Internazionale have potentially perilous examinations awaiting them in Serie A.

Inter, the defending champions, who lost to Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday after winning their domestic opener against Fiorentina, entertain Sampdoria today, while tomorrow Milan, who beat AEK Athens 3-0 at San Siro on Wednesday, visit Parma.

Inter's form has been chequered. They won the Italian Super Cup 4-3, coming back from 3-0 down against Roma before nearly letting Fiorentina snatch a draw on the first day in Serie A, winning 3-2, while on Tuesday, they looked poor while losing 1-0 in Lisbon.Coach Roberto Mancini has the choice of sticking with Adriano as a lone striker or pairing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hernan Crespo.

Sampdoria have several key players injured, including the striker Fabio Bazzani and close-season signing Christian Terlizzi.

Milan, who started the season with an eight-point penalty following the match-fixing scandal, have been rotating their line-up so far. Against AEK on Wednesday, Carlo Ancelotti rested midfielder Andrea Pirlo and defender Alessandro Nesta. Clarence Seedorf started that game on the bench but could return for what could be a high-scoring trip to Parma: last season's two meetings produced 12 goals.

In Spain, Barcelona have called for a swift resolution to a dispute that has left them not knowing whether they are playing their Primera Liga match at Racing Santander today or tomorrow.

"The situation is incredible and a little ridiculous," the president of the European and Spanish champions, Joan Laporta, said. Against the background of a continuing dispute between the League and the company who hold the broadcasting rights, Racing want the game to be played today, while the LFP have offered a Sunday slot.

After a sluggish start, Barcelona look to be up and running having beaten Osasuna and Levski Sofia during the week with eight goals scored and none conceded. Their hosts this weekend, Racing Santander, have played and lost two in the League without scoring.

The Real Madrid coach, Fabio Capello, will be under pressure to show that the 2-0 Champions' League defeat to Lyon on Wednesday was simply a blip, when Real Sociedad visit Sunday.

The Basques are unlikely to prove as strong as Lyon but the Bernabeu will be impatient for goals after a dull goalless draw against Villarreal in their league opener three weeks ago.

Lyon come down to earth Saturday when they play promoted Lorient. The Breton side are seventh on eight points having beaten Paris St-Germain and Nantes.

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