Juventus wary of struggling Inter Milan in Serie A

Serie A leaders won't be taking their rivals likely when they meet in the 'Derby d'Italia'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 4:34am
AFP

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Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic insists the champions will not take Inter Milan lightly when the sides meet today.

Juve lead the Serie A table by nine points from Napoli with Milan third, a further two points back with nine games remaining.

Inter's solid first half of the season has given way to inconsistency in recent months and although in fifth place Andrea Stramaccioni's side are seven points behind Milan and the third and last Champions League qualifying spot.

They also welcome Juventus to the San Siro still hurting after several of their strong Latin American contingent were held up by flight delays while on international duty in midweek.

But Vucinic says Juve will be treating the clash like the "last game of their lives".

He believes Inter could show the same grit and determination as they did recently when they overturned a 3-0 Europa League first-leg defeat to Tottenham with a 4-1 second-leg win, only to lose out on away goals.

"We're playing against Inter, the name says it all," Vucinic said. "They're a strong team and I don't believe people who say that they're struggling."

Inter silenced the doubters when they outclassed Juventus 3-1 in Turin in early November, with Argentine Diego Milito scoring a brace with Rodrigo Palacio hitting the third.

This time, however, Milito is sidelined with serious injury while Argentine star Palacio could be below par after playing against Bolivia in La Paz.

Other Inter players have had it worse. Alvaro Pereira and Walter Gargano were among the Uruguayans, also including Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, left stranded in Chile after their flight was cancelled.

Colombian Fredy Guarin was an unused substitute in a 1-0 defeat away in Venezuela and has - like his club-mates - yet to arrive back in Italy.

While Stramaccioni should have no trouble firing up his players, Andrea Ranocchi believes it will take another Tottenham-like performance to claim their second win this season over the leaders.

"We won our first meeting with Juve this season and we hope to repeat that," the defender insisted.