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Milan set sights on fortress Juve

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21 Apr 2013 01:48:59

Milan set sights on fortress Juve

Juventus may be cruising to a 29th Serie A title but AC Milan are still aiming to come away from Turin with a victory on Sunday, insists striker Stephan El Shaarawy.

With Juventus now 11 points ahead of Napoli after the Partenopei's 1-1 draw away to Milan last week, a second straight Scudetto already seems a formality for the Turin giants.

However the fight for runners-up spot, which gives direct access to the Champions League, is far from over.

Napoli, who host Cagliari, currently occupy second place on 63 points but Milan are just four points behind and unbeaten in 14 league matches since the turn of the year.

"Sunday will be a big test of concentration. Whichever team makes the least mistakes will win," El Shaarawy told the Milan Channel.

"We'll give it everything to bring back the three points. It will be crucial to make a strong start and maintain a fast tempo throughout."

A 31st minute strike courtesy of Robinho secured a 1-0 for Milan in the corresponding fixture in November.

While that win was one of several results marking Milan's resurgence following their worst ever start to a league season, Juventus have been just as efficient.

The Bianconeri have not lost a league game at home since a shock 2-1 reverse to Sampdoria in January and their 2-0 away win at Lazio on Monday means the champions now require seven points from their remaining six games to secure the title.

But with key games against Milan and then city rivals Torino, defender Andrea Barzagli says they can take nothing for granted.

"They will be two important games, but we're focusing only on the first," Barzagli, who is two away from making 100 appearances for the club, told Juventus.com.

"Both Milan and ourselves need points. We're chasing the Scudetto, while they're aiming for Champions League qualification. It won't be easy, but we're preparing well."

On Saturday, a superb first-half volley from veteran Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale secured a precious 1-0 win over Lazio and dented the Biancocelesti's hopes of European football next season.

Lazio are now sixth, one place outside Europe, but on the same points (51) as seventh-placed Udinese.

Coach Vladimir Petkovic looked forlorn at the final whistle and could only concede: "Congratulations Udinese, they were efficient and disciplined.

"For it's a negative phase results-wise, we have to analyse what went wrong and try to be more concrete and cynical in these kinds of games."

Fixtures (times GMT)

Sunday

Inter v Parma (1030), Bologna v Sampdoria, Catania v Palermo, Fiorentina v Torino, Napoli v Cagliari, Roma v Pescara, Siena v Chievo (all 1300), Juventus v AC Milan (1845)


AFP

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