Torino set to stretch Milan

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The Independent Online
MILAN, the Italian league leaders, and the defending champions Juventus are both looking to bounce back from recent defeats today when they face Torino and Internazionale respectively.

Milan, two points clear of second-placed Parma, suffered a surprise defeat in midweek when they were eliminated from the Italian Cup by the Serie B side Bologna in a penalty shoot-out.

With the striker Marco Simone doubtful through injury, Fabio Capello is likely to field the "dream attack" of Roberto Baggio, Dejan Savicevic and George Weah. Torino, meanwhile, travel to the San Siro with fresh enthusiasm following a 4-2 win against Piacenza last Sunday in their first match under their new coach, Francesco Scoglio, appointed last week after the dismissal of Nedo Sonetti.

Ruggiero Rizzitelli, the Torino captain, believes his side can take a point from Milan: "I prefer to put on a poor show, play badly and take a point rather than play well, provide entertainment and lose," he said. "I wouldn't like to think that we set off for Milan already beaten." Torino will be without the suspended Paolo Cristallini, but look to the experience of Rizzitelli, the Frenchman Jocelyn Angloma and Ghana's Abedi Pele.

Fifth-placed Juventus, seven points off the lead, will be anxious to atone for their 2-0 away defeat by Sampdoria last weekend when they face Inter. The Turin side will rest the striker Alessandro Del Piero, replacing him with either Michele Padovano or Angelo Di Livio.

With the exception of Del Piero and the suspended defender Ciro Ferrara, Juventus will be at full strength, fielding Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli in attack with Didier Deschamps, Vladimir Jugovic and Paulo Sousa in midfield.

Inter, however, will be buoyed by reaching the Italian Cup semi-finals at the expense of Lazio. Brazil's Roberto Carlos, dropped for the Lazio game, is likely to return against Juventus, with Paul Ince and Argentina's Javier Zanetti making up the foreign-player trio.

The Italian Cup elimination by Inter continued a bad run for Lazio, who have lost their last three Serie A games. Today they face another difficult match at home to in-form Sampdoria.

Lazio will be strengthened by the return of Dutchman Aron Winter, who has been on international duty with Holland in their successful European Championship qualifying play-off against Ireland. Alen Boksic is expected to start alongside Giuseppe Signori and Roberto Rambaudi in attack.

Parma appear to have the easiest task of the top sides when they travel south to face bottom-of-the-table Bari, beaten 7-1 by Cremonese last week. Parma's Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoichkov, dropped for last weekend's 2-1 win against Lazio, may again be kept out of the side by Faustino Asprilla.

The Leeds striker Phil Masinga and Mark Williams of Wolvesfaced the former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann when South Africa played Germany in Johannesburg on Friday night, but all their firepower proved ineffective in a goalless draw. After weathering an early onslaught, Germany took control in hot conditions.

Masinga and Williamsfailed to convert fine opportunities, while Germany's best chance fell to Klinsmann, who drew a brilliant one-handed save from the home goalkeeper Andre Arendse in the final 15 minutes.

If Klinsmann's took a temporary dip, Diego Maradona's is definitely on the wane. The temperamental Argentine's fan cluib is shrinking rapidly. A radio talk show poll gave him little support over his threat to leave Boca Juniors after the club decided to offer the coaching job to the former Seville and Argentina coach Carlos Bilardo. The poll showed only 13 per cent of Boca fans had a good image of Maradona, and 42 per cent cannot stand him.

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