Sports betting: Internazionale should get it right under Lippi

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The Independent Online
INTERNAZIONALE LOOK a good bet to win the scudetto, the Italian league title, which gets under way this weekend. It all went wrong for Inter last term. Ronaldo, their brilliant striker, was plagued with tendinitis and Roberto Baggio, their veteran playmaker, and Franceso Moriero, the winger, were also injury prone. Moreover, Inter's defence went to pieces as Gianluca Pagliuca, their goalkeeper, lost his way while the outfield defenders, led by the aging Giuseppe Bergomi, provided scant security.

But, out with the old, and in with the new. Pagliuca and Bergomi have gone. And Marcello Lippi, Inter's new coach who won three Italian league titles with Juventus, goes to war with Christian Vieri, the striker signed for a world record pounds 31m to partner Ronaldo, Vladimir Jugovic in midfield, and Christian Panucci and Laurent Blanc at the back to protect Angelo Peruzzi, the goalkeeper signed from Juventus.

Milan, last season's winners, and Lazio, the runners-up, promise to provide sterner opposition than the rebuilding Juventus. But they, along with Fiorentina - who have recruited Enrico Chiesa, Predrag Mijatovic and Abel Balbo to support Gabriel Batistuta up front and Angelo Di Livio, the veteran wing-back - and possibly Parma - who have inexplicably sold Juan Sebastian Veron, their playmaker, and Chiesa to finance the pounds 24m purchase of Marcio Amoroso - may find the demands of the Champions' League inhibiting their domestic hopes. Inter are not in Europe and this gives them a vital edge.

Tonight and tomorrow draw treble possibilities abound. While Middlesbrough can beat Leicester tonight and Arsenal can beat Bradford tomorrow, tonight's game between Watford and Aston Villa and tomorrow's games between Coventry and Manchester United, Everton and Wimbledon, Newcastle and Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday and Derby can all be draws.

Parma can beat Rangers in the second leg of their Champions' League qualifier in Italy. Parma, 2-0 down from the first leg, will be playing for their lives while Rangers could lose 1-0 or 3-1 and still go through. Chelsea, 3-0 up from the first leg may draw at Skonta Riga. On Friday, Manchester United may be held to a draw in 90 minutes by Lazio in the Super Cup.

n Suggested bets: Ten pounds 1 trebles with William Hill: Watford to draw with Aston Villa (11-5), Coventry to draw with Manchester United (12-5), Everton to draw with Wimbledon (5-2), Newcastle to draw with Sunderland (11-5) and Sheffield Wednesday to draw with Derby (12-5); pounds 1 Parma to beat Rangers at 4-6 (Coral and Tote); pounds 1 Skonta Riga to draw with Chelsea at 12-5 (Tote), pounds 1 Lazio to draw with Manchester United at 12-5 (Ladbrokes) and pounds 1 Internazionale to win Serie A at 11-4 (Coral and Ladbrokes). (pounds 14 staked).

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