Updated: Sunday, 02 February 2014 13:36 | By Agence France-Presse

Roma look on as Juve, Inter clash in Serie A

It may not be 'top of the table' but Inter Milan's visit to champions and leaders Juventus is a clash neither side can really afford to lose on Sunday.

Roma look on as Juve, Inter clash in Serie A

Juventus' Fernando Torres Llorente (C) fights for the ball with Lazio's Giuseppe Biava during their Italian Serie A match, at the Olympic stadium in Rome, on January 25, 2014 - by Alberto Pizzoli

Only two weeks ago the pundits gave Juve's scudetto rivals little chance of overcoming their respective deficits to the Bianconeri.

But Juve's 1-1 draw away to Lazio last weekend, coupled with Roma's 3-1 win away to Verona, has injected some life into a championship in which most teams seem to already be playing for their futures in Europe next season.

Juve host Inter without goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, handed a one-match ban for his exclusion last week, but with a six-point lead on Roma and Napoli a further six points adrift in third in the last Champions League qualifying spot.

Juve are unbeaten at home this season but with a rampant Roma expected to account for Parma at the Olympic Stadium and Inter desperate for a win, Antonio Conte's men can take nothing for granted.

Francesco Totti, who hit Roma's third goal last week, warned: "I think we've fired a warning shot with regard to the championship fight."

Inter would like to be just as ambitious but with just eight points from their last nine games they face a formidable task.

Defender Juan Jesus says the key could be taking inspiration from their 1-0 derby win over city rivals Milan in December.

"We know Juventus are an excellent side who score a lot of goals... and we need to fight for every ball," Jesus told Sky Sport 24.

"We need to be aware that Juve will go out all guns blazing because that's what they always do, but we need to play like we did at San Siro. We need to stay calm and play football."

Both sides were among those active in the transfer market on Thursday, with defender Danilo D'Ambrosio joining the Nerazzurri from Torino and the club still in negotiations to sign Brazilian midfielder Hernanes from Lazio.

Juventus, meanwhile, spent most of Thursday in talks to bring Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo back to Serie A less than six months on from his 15.1m euros transfer from Roma.

Following their third consecutive win last week, Roma coach Rudi Garcia played down his side's title challenge, saying: "We're six points adrift, so our destiny is not in our hands."

However Roma have scored 10 goals in their last three league games and will look to continue in the same vein against a Parma side which, nevertheless, held Inter 3-3 away in a memorable San Siro encounter at the start of December.

Roma are without Brazilian winger Dodo, who has a thigh strain, while midfielder Daniele De Rossi returned to training Thursday following an injury niggle.

Napoli on Wednesday beat Lazio 1-0 to set up an Italian cup semi-final clash with Roma next week, but Rafael Benitez insists his players are focused on Sunday's trip to Bergamo.

"It was an important win, but all we're focusing right now is Atalanta," said the Spaniard.

In Saturday's matches, visiting Udinese beat Bologna 2-0, Cagliari defeated Fiorentina 1-0 and, Milan drew Torino, 1-1.


Genoa v Sampdoria (1130), Atalanta v Napoli, Catania v Livorno, Chievo v Lazio, Roma v Parma, Sassuolo v Verona (all 1400), Juventus v Inter

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