Milan rely on Baggio

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The Independent Online
MILAN travel to Udinese without George Weah today, but with Roberto Baggio, Marco Simone and Dejan Savicevic in attack plus Marcel Desailly and Zvonimir Boban in midfield, as they seek to extend their lead at the top of Serie A.

Udinese, beaten 4-1 last week by Cagliari, are joint seventh on 25 points, 12 behind Milan, and will rely on their experienced trio of foreigners: Polish defender Marek Kozminski, Danish midfielder Thomas Helveg and German striker Oliver Bierhoff, who has scored 11 goals this season.

Second-placed Fiorentina, emphatic 3-0 away winners at Torino last week, have a tricky home game with Vicenza. Fiorentina, who now trail Milan by just one point, will be without three suspended players - midfielders Emiliano Bigica and Sandro Cois and defender Lorenzo Amoruso.

Despite these absentees, Fiorentina's Portuguese midfielder Rui Costa expects his side to perform well. "Our mentality has changed and we've won four times away from home. That is proof of our maturity, of the maturity you need to win a league title," he said.

Juventus, the defending champions, are looking to improve on their current position of fourth place, eight points behind Milan, as they prepare to face relegation-threatened Piacenza. Impressive international performances against Wales in midweek from strikers Fabrizio Ravanelli and Alessandro Del Piero should give them the boost they need, despite missing their suspended defenders Pietro Vierchowod and Alessio Tacchinardi.

"All my players came back from the national squad really fired up and that's a big advantage for me," Marcello Lippi, the Juventus coach, said. "From here to the end of the season we must treat every match we play as a cup final."

Third-placed Parma have a difficult away game against Internazionale at the San Siro in prospect. Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov will probably start on the substitutes' bench with Alessandro Melli alongside Gianfranco Zola in attack. Antonio Benarrivo is suspended, while Portuguese international Fernando Couto and Lorenzo Minotti will start the game alongside Stoichkov on the bench.

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