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Inter v Juventus: Allegri´s men in high spirits

Champions Juventus visit Inter on Saturday in high spirits after qualifying for a first UEFA Champions League final since 2003 in midweek.

Juve – who wrapped up a fourth consecutive Serie A title earlier this month – reached the decider of Europe’s elite club competition after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at Real Madrid on Wednesday. That saw them record a 3-2 aggregate victory and keep hopes of a historic treble alive for Massimiliano Allegri’s men.

Progression to the Champions League showpiece against Barcelona has already impacted the Italian football calendar, with the Coppa Italia final – which Juve will play Lazio in – shifted forward to next Wednesday. 

The match was originally slated for June 7, one day after the Champions League finale.

Saturday’s trip to Inter – just four days before the Coppa Italia final – means Juventus are likely to rotate players. 

And midfield maestro Claudio Marchisio acknowledged the Inter clash was not high on their priority list when he told the club’s official website: “Our number one target at the moment is the Coppa Italia.

“After that we can start thinking about the Champions League.”

Marchisio added that Allegri’s squad was full of belief and self-confidence after an excellent result in the Spanish capital.

“We pulled off a great win against a top team,” he added.

“The belief we have in ourselves now is something we’ve acquired gradually, starting from the group stage [of the Champions League].

“We’ve improved a lot and have seen the results this season.”

Juventus have stuttered slightly in the league of late, winning just three of their six matches as focus turned to winning more trophies.

That will fill Inter with confidence – particularly given Allegri’s men were held to a 1-1 home draw by relegation-threatened Cagliari last time out.

Inter have finally hit form, unbeaten in seven in a run that has included four wins. That streak has been highlighted by successes against second-placed Roma and Lazio, who sit third, with Inter climbing to eighth.

As a result, European football for next season is not beyond them. Roberto Mancini’s men are just three points below fifth-placed Fiorentina. And with Juventus possibly distracted by talk of a treble, Inter’s late push for a UEFA Europa League berth could receive another boost at San Siro.

Inter last beat Juventus in November 2012, when Diego Milito’s double helped them to a 3-1 away success. The champions have won two of the four matches since, but were held to a 1-1 home draw in January’s league meeting.

It was no surprise that the scorers on that occasion were Carlos Tevez for Juve and Mauro Icardi for the visitors. Tevez leads the Serie A scoring charts with 20, with Icardi third having netted 18 league goals.

Thu 14 May, 2015
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