What: Italian Serie A
Who: Juventus vs Inter
When: Sunday 25th March, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Date with Destiny
Juventus eventually beat title rivals AC Milan in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia in midweek, booking a showdown with Napoli in the final. However, the Rossoneri are still one foot ahead of their rivals in Serie A, as the gap separating the two sides is currently four points after Juve’s recent draws. Now, the record-winning Italian champions face another Milanese side as they battle Inter in Italy’s biggest derby.
La Vecchia Signora’s luck in the domestic game ran dry of late as the Bianconeri fell victim to four consecutive Serie A draws – one against leaders Milan. However, the team will be pumped full of confidence after overcoming the seven-time Champions League winners in an epic cup tie.
“I’m very happy with this evening. We strongly wanted to get through to the final; I think it was absolutely apparent”, commented club legend Alessandro Del Piero after the match.
“Now we must enjoy this achievement and hold this enthusiasm until our match against Inter. We must continue on this path in the championship as well. Milan are four points in front and they are strong, but we want to keep going and try to win.”
Ranieri is Safe
The win over Chievo was supposed to mark the end of Inter’s horrific form, as it was their first victory in nine games. Since then however, the team have been knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition by the dreaded away goal rule against Marseille, and then went on to record another draw, this time against mid-table side Atalanta. When Claudio Ranieri leads his team against Juventus, he will be hoping that his team’s form will not affect their chances in the derby.
The Nerazzurri’s season has been an utter disaster so far, with no trophy left to battle for. Speaking after the stalemate against Atalanta, president Massimo Moratti was quick to rule out an early Ranieri exit, despite the Italian’s inability to steer the black and blue ship back into safe waters.
“Can Claudio Ranieri be sure his job is safe? Yes, absolutely”, assured the supremo, before going on to add that a true comeback might be easier than people might think: “A win could wake us all up. When you win a game it is easier to carry on winning. We have to show a reaction against Juventus."
In the camp, rumours of a bust-up between Ranieri and Diego Forlan were denied by the player himself, who opted to put the controversy to rest by declaring that at no point did he refuse to play against Atalanta. “The coach has explained what happened well. I have never refused to go on to the pitch and I never will.”
Genoa 0-0 Juventus (11/03; Serie A)
Fiorentina 0-5 Juventus (17/03; Serie A)
Juventus 2-2 AC Milan (20/03; Coppa Italia)
Chievo 0-2 Inter (09/03; Serie A)
Inter 2-1 Marseille (13/03; Champions League)
Inter 0-0 Atalanta (18/03; Serie A)
Juventus: Alessandro Matri (doubt); Andrea Barzagli; Stephan Lichtsteiner (suspended)
Inter: Cristian Chivu (doubt); Dejan Stankovic (doubt); Wesley Sneijder (doubt); Fredy Guarin (doubt)
Players to watch
Juventus – Mirko Vucinic: The ex-Roma striker has become instrumental for Juventus and continues to provide the Old Lady with goals. His excellent display against Milan earned Vucinic Man of the Match praise and he will need to provide more of the same against Inter.
Inter – Diego Milito: The Argentine has been one of Inter’s better players recently, despite being a shadow of his former self. Milito can be deadly in the six-yard box, and should he be given license to roam, will cause the opposition lots of problems.
It will be sad for the average fan that one of the two sides enters the derby on a very low note. It is often said that derby results do not rely on form, but a win for Inter here will be difficult, as the team appears to be completely lost at the moment. Juventus 2-0 Inter.
This Juventus v Inter match is sure to be a cracker, with both sides desperate to win. But who will? Make sure you visit OLBG for tips and to compare the current odds and betting markets available at all the important bookmakers.