Inter host Juventus, Napoli look to stay top

ROME. Defiant Inter Milan host champions Juventus for their first major home game of the season while Serie A leaders Napoli look to tighten their grip against visitors Atalanta.
Inter vs Juventus has always produced all sorts of drama. Net photo.
Inter vs Juventus has always produced all sorts of drama. Net photo.

ROME. Defiant Inter Milan host champions Juventus for their first major home game of the season while Serie A leaders Napoli look to tighten their grip against visitors Atalanta.

AC Milan, the only major team in Italy’s top flight to drop points so far, visit Torino in Saturday’s other fixture hoping the recent signing of Brazilian Kaka pays dividends.

Three years after an historic treble of league, Cup and Champions League trophies, Inter finished a lowly ninth last season and are desperate to make amends under new coach Walter Mazzarri.

So far, they have recorded comparatively easy wins over Genoa and Catania and Juventus ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon believes Inter’s absence from Cup or European competition makes them bona fide title challengers.

“We have great respect for Inter,” said Buffon, who collected a record-equalling 136th cap for Italy in a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in midweek.

While a number of Juventus players were on international duty nearby in in midweek, when Italy stamped their ticket for the 2014 World Cup with two qualifiers to spare, Inter also had a number of stars in action.

A win or draw would put Inter top ahead of Saturday’s late games when Mazzarri’s former club, Napoli, host Atalanta and Milan visit a Torino side looking to make amends for last week’s 2-0 defeat at Atalanta.

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez scored a minor coup when he signed Argentine Gonzalo Higuain to replace Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, Serie A’s top scorer last season who signed for Paris Saint Germain.

Milan are missing defenders Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio for the visit to Turin and although Kaka is battling his way back to match fitness he is expected to make an appearance on Saturday.

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