Italian Football: Milan ripe for taking

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The Independent Online
BOLOGNA MAY give visitors Milan a hard time in Channel 4's live Serie A game tomorrow. After Parma's 3-1 home defeat to Scudetto hopes Lazio last Sunday, Bologna have the best defence in Serie A, conceding just 13 goals in 17 games.

Bologna had little trouble taming the Internazionale strike trio - the Brazilian Ronaldo, Roberto Baggio and and Ivan Zamorano of Chile - last week while winning 2-0.

Milan, once the giants of Europe, have, after a spell in the wilderness, looked better this term under Alberto Zaccheroni, their new coach. Zaccheroni joined them from Udinese, bringing with him the German striker Oliver Bierhoff and has imposed an attacking 3-4-3 formation with some success. However, Milan are flattered by their fourth place in Serie A. They lost 3-1 at home to Fiorentina - top again after Gabriel Batistuta made it 17 goals from 17 games with a hat-trick in his club's 4-2 win at Cagliari last week - and Parma beat them 4-0 last year.

Bologna will be without the defender Michele Paramatti and the midfielder Giancarlo Marocchi, who are suspended, and the defender Giovanni Bia and winger Carlo Nervo, who are injured. Milan are missing the goalkeeper Sebastiano Rossi, who starts a five-game ban for hitting an opponent in their 2-1 win over Perugia last week. Rossi will be replaced by the 21- year-old Christian Abbiati. The Danish midfielder Thomas Helveg is injured while the Liberian George Weah is on international duty.

Other games tomorrow: Empoli v Fiorentina; Lazio v Piacenza; Internazionale v Cagliari; Juventus v Perugia; Salernitana v Roma; Sampdoria v Udinese; Venezia v Bari; Vicenza v Parma.