Football:Parma prepare for Milan and Juventus

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The Independent Online
Second-placed Parma will need to beat Milan at home tonight to keep up the pressure on the Italian Serie A leaders, Juventus.

The rescheduled game comes just three days before Parma travel to Turin to play Juventus in what is effectively a potential championship decider.

Both Parma and Juventus won last Sunday to leave the four-point gap between them unaltered, with four games to play.

Juventus are at home to the relegation battlers Piacenza tonight but regardless of how the leaders fare in that match, Parma know they need to defeat Milan to retain an outside chance of winning the title.

"We're a side full of class players, we can't give up now," said Parma's French defender, Lilian Thuram.

"We have to beat Milan and go on to Turin in a winning frame of mind. That's what we have to do because, anyway, against Juventus we've nothing to lose."

Parma are expected to start with the same formation which ran out easy 3-0 winners against Vicenza on Sunday, with the attack again being led by Enrico Chiesa and the Argentinian Hernan Crespo, scorer of all three goals against Vicenza.

Their visitors, Milan, are unlikely to be in a charitable mood since they badly need points to get back into contention for a Uefa Cup qualifying spot.

Milan come into the game on 41 points, in ninth position but four points outside the Uefa qualifying zone.

Milan appear to be recovering some modest form after a disastrous season which saw them eliminated from the Champions' League and the Italian title contest by Christmas.

Milan's 3-1 home win against relegation-bound Reggiana on Sunday followed draws against Piacenza and Udinese.

The Milan coach, Arrigo Sacchi, however, expects a difficult game, saying, "Parma are simply a much stronger side than us. Strangely, they're even stronger now that they have sold off one or two class players".

Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov of Barcelona and Gianfranco Zola of Chelsea were both sold by Parma in the past year.

Milan expect to field a strong-looking side featuring Liberian George Weah and Roberto Baggio in attack, with Frenchman Marcel Desailly, Croat Zvonimir Boban and Demetrio Albertini in midfield.

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