Injury worries haunt Cuper during build-up to Internazionale's trip to Juventus as <b>Serie A</b> top two square up

Jon Culley
Saturday 01 March 2003 01:00

Juventus and Internazionale meet at Stadio Delle Alpi tomorrow evening with first place in Italy's Serie A at stake. Both teams have 48 points from 22 matches, two more than third-placed Milan, who host Atalanta at San Siro earlier in the day.

The Juventus vice-president Roberto Bettega said the match against Inter was important but not decisive. "In the last couple of years there has been something at stake between us," he said. "But last season showed us that you must also win matches against the so-called smaller teams if you want to win the title." Inter coach Hector Cuper's biggest headache is finding 11 fit players. Mohammed Kallon, Domenico Morfeo and Stephan Dalmat were hurt in Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Barcelona, joining Hernan Crespo, Matias Almeyda, Okan Buruk and Emre Belozoglu on the treatment table.

Juventus have announced plans to halve the capacity of the much-maligned Delle Alpi but produce a stadium more appealing to supporters. The ground, built for the 1990 World Cup, can hold 70,000 but has drawn many complaints because of its lack of atmosphere.

Under the new development, the Delle Alpe would retain its existing exterior but inside the athletics track would be removed and new stands would be sited closer to the pitch. "There will be only 10 metres between the supporters and the players, closer than they are at San Siro," the Juventus chief executive officer, Antonio Giruado, said.

In Spain, Real Madrid believe a victory at Alaves today could induce jitters in leaders Real Sociedad, although the Basque team – two points ahead – will look to celebrate four months in first place by winning at Valladolid tomorrow.

In France, Didier Deschamps's in-form Monaco travel to Lille today only two points adrift of the pace-setters Marseille, who face a stiffer test away to Strasbourg.

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