Inter’s Scudetto hopes are now surely over but they have to use the character shown in the Derby d’Italia to at least catch up with high-flying Messina.
The Nerazzurri impressed with their comeback to get a 2-2 draw with leaders Juventus despite being 2-0 down, though clearly the team still has its problems. Juan Sebastian Veron is still doubtful with a calf strain, while Marco Materazzi should return to the starting eleven after he was dropped last weekend. Coach Roberto Mancini is likely to stick to the shape of the squad with Adriano partnered by Obafemi Martins, although Christian Vieri’s goal might have done enough to earn him a shot upfront.
Messina may be new to the top flight, but they are currently a point ahead of the Milanese giants and have conceded four fewer goals. They have managed all of this despite an injury crisis that has ruled out Riccardo Zampagna, Arturo Di Napoli, Marco Storari, Jorge Mamede, Domenico Giampà and Salvatore Sullo for long periods, while Coppola misses this match due to a ban. Coach Bortolo Mutti has precious few options available to him, so Atsushi Yanagisawa should be given a rare start alongside ex-Juve striker Nicola Amoruso. Messina will certainly not be frightened of the San Siro atmosphere after beating Milan here 2-1 in September.
an injury crisis that has ruled out Riccardo Zampagna, Arturo Di Napoli, Marco Storari, Jorge Mamede, Domenico Giampà and Salvatore Sullo for long periods, while Coppola misses this match due to a ban.
Which is basically half of their starting eleven ! Giampà and Zampagna scored their goals against Milan btw.
STANKOVIC: "EVEN MORE FOCUSED"
Thursday, 02 December 2004 15:11:13
APPIANO GENTILE - In an interview with Inter Channel, Dejan Stankovic looked back at the match with Juventus before looking ahead to Saturday evening's clash with Messina at the Meazza.
"We didn't risk hardly anything in the first half and we were sure of ourselves," said Stankovic about derby d'Italia draw. "If the second half we let in a goal from a deflection. It took our legs away and we had some bad moments. The game changed after Recoba and Vieri came on. Perhaps we took a few risks, but it went well. Ten more minutes and we could have won it."
Dejan is confident ahead of this weekend's visit of Sicilian side Messina. He said: "There are teams like Messina, Lecce, Palermo and Chievo who have done well against the big clubs. They have good players and play well, and this is why I don't want to think about anything else other than Inter. We must be focused, we have great qualities and we really want to win. I'll bet whatever you want that everything will go well on Saturday. We have worked very hard this week and we're in good condition. I'm very motivated and I really want to start winning. We have three (league) matches from now until Christmas. We want nine points."
MANCINI NAMES SQUAD FOR MESSINA VISIT
Friday, 03 December 2004 17:19:57
MILAN - Roberto Mancini has called up twenty-one players for Saturday evening's Serie A TIM Week 14 match at home to Messina:
Goalkeepers: 1 Francesco Toldo, 15 Fabian Carini
Defenders: 2 Ivan Ramiro Cordoba, 3 Nicolas Burdisso, 4 Javier Zanetti, 11 Sinisa Mihajlovic, 13 Zé Maria , 16 Giuseppe Favalli, 23 Marco Materazzi, 26 Giovanni Pasquale
Midfielders: 6 Cristiano Zanetti, 7 Andy van der Meyde, 8 Edgar Davids, 14 Juan Sebastian Veron, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 25 Dejan Stankovic
Strikers: 9 Julio Ricardo Cruz, 10 Adriano, 20 Alvaro Recoba, 30 Obafemi Martins, 32 Christian Vieri
COLLINA TO REFEREE INTER V MESSINA
Friday, 03 December 2004 11:34:41
MILAN - Saturday evening's Serie A TIM Week 14 match at home to Messina will be refereed by Pierluigi Collina (Viareggio section). The Bologna-born official, who has taken charge of 43 Nerazzurri matches (13 Inter wins, 19 draws and 11 defeats), has yet to referee Inter this season. The last time Collina officiated an Inter match was the 0-0 draw at home to Lazio on 25 April 2004.
Serie A TIM Week 14 fixtures & refs
Cagliari v Chievo: Trefoloni
Fiorentina v Bologna: De Santis
Inter v Messina: Collina (Sat 4 Dec at 20:30)
Juventus v Lazio: Dondarini
Lecce v Livorno: Morganti
Palermo v Atalanta: Rizzoli
Parma v AC Milan: Pieri (Sat 4 Dec at 18:00)
Reggina v Brescia: Racalbuto
Roma v Sampdoria: Tombolini (Sun 5 Dec at 20:30)
Udinese v Siena: Rosetti
VIERI HOT IN DECEMBER
Friday, 03 December 2004 11:56:10
MILAN - Courtesy of Football Data , here are some interesting facts and figures ahead of tomorrow night's match at home to Messina:
Vieri hot in December
According to the statistics, December is Christian Vieri's most prolific month. Of his 145 goals in the Serie A and B, Bobogol has scored 24 in the twelfth calendar month (17 in A and 7 in B).
No Inter penalty since May
Inter are one of six Serie A teams that still haven't been awarded a penalty this season (the others are Atalanta, Fiorentina, Lecce, Reggina and Siena). The Nerazzurri's last championship spot kick was on 2 May when Adriano scored against Lecce.
Nerazzurri still unbeaten in 2004/05
Inter haven't lost a competitive fixture since last 2 May when they were beaten 2-1 by Lecce at the Via del Mare Stadium. Since then, the Nerazzurri have played 23 matches in the Serie A, Champions League and Tim Cup, winning 9 and drawing 14.
Donati set for 100th appearance
If fielded against Inter, Messina midfielder Massimo Donati will complete a century of Serie A appearances. Donati made his top-flight debut in Atalanta 2-2 Lazio on 1 October 2000. Besides the Bergamo Nerazzurri and the Sicilian club, he has also played for AC Milan, Parma, Torino and Sampdoria.
No red cards for Messina opponents
Messina are the only team contesting the 2004/05 Serie A championship not to have had an opponent sent off so far this season.