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Milan look to pull clear as rivals Inter, Napoli clash


Milan (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic is poised to return from injury as AC Milan look to extend their lead at the top of the Serie A table at lowly Genoa on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic has missed his side’s last three games but is still joint top scorer in Serie A alongside Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus with 10 goals each.

Milan have held firm despite the towering Swede’s absence with two wins and a comeback draw last weekend against Parma when two goals from Theo Harnandez rescued a point.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan saw their lead cut to three points on city rivals Inter Milan, with third-placed Napoli a further point back before their head-to-head in the San Siro.

Champions Juventus, in fourth position equal on points with Napoli, face a stiff test at home against Atalanta, who lie eighth but have a game in hand.

Milan’s opponents Genoa lost to Juventus at home last weekend and are second from bottom of the league with just six points from 11 games.

Inter finished last in their Champions League group, meaning they even missed out on a consolation place in the Europa League. So a first Serie A title since 2010 is now their main objective this season.

But Antonio Conte’s Inter side have frequently had to come from behind this season and have picked up more points from losing positions than any other team. 

“Having the strength to turn it around shows that the boys want to fight and won’t give up in the face of trouble,” said Conte.

Sassuolo, a point behind Juventus, will be looking to keep in touch with the leaders at struggling Fiorentina, having dropped down to fifth.

– Inzaghi brothers clash –

Promoted Benevento host Lazio on Tuesday in a first clash between Italian coaching brothers Simone and Filippo Inzaghi.

Filippo Inzaghi, 47, led Benevento back into Serie A this season, and will lock horns with younger brother Simone, 44, whose Lazio challenged for the Scudetto last season.

Lazio were furious after falling 2-1 at home against Hellas Verona last weekend, days after qualifying for the Champions League last 16 for the first time in two decades.

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Simone Inzaghi whose side are ninth in the table, four points off the European berths.

“We will try to make up for it on Tuesday against Benevento.”

Lazio have the unenviable task of facing holders Bayern Munich in that Champions League last 16.

Sixth-placed Roma host Torino on Thursday, having returned to the European qualification places after a thumping 5-1 win over Bologna. 

Torino headed straight into a training retreat on Sunday after their eighth game without a win, with the pressure mounting on coach Marco Giampaolo whose side languish in the relegation zone.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Tuesday

Udinese v Crotone (1730GMT), Benevento v Lazio (1945)

Wednesday

Juventus v Atalanta (1730), Inter Milan v Napoli, Genoa v AC Milan, Fiorentina v Sassuolo, Hellas Verona v Sampdoria, Parma v Cagliari, Spezia v Bologna (all 1945)

Thursday

AS Roma v Torino (1945)

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