Milan vs. Juventus  1 - 1


Thiago Silva weighs in on ´ghost´ goal

27 February 2012 14:48

AC Milan defender Thiago Silva has lamented Sulley Muntari's disallowed goal during the 1-1 draw with Juventus on Saturday.

Ghanaian Muntari saw his header cross the line in the second of the Serie A clash at San Siro, only for the assistant referee not to award the goal.

"I am gutted about what happened against Juventus, I cannot believe the linesman did not see it," Thiago Silva told Sky Sport Italia.

"I saw it from midfield and he (the referee) was in a position where he could see everything."

"I am in favour of TV replays or having referees behind the goal, it should be like this in important matches."

The Brazil international refused to put the blame for the incident on Juventus goalkeeper Buffon, who clawed the ball out of his net, stating: "I would have done the same thing if I were him."

AC Milan remain one point clear of Juventus, who have a game in hand over the league leaders.


Berlusconi wants goal-line technology

26 February 2012 15:39

Silvio Berlusconi has berated match officials after AC Milan's 1-1 draw with Juventus, calling for goal-line technology to be introduced.

Hosts Milan led 1-0 in Saturday's Serie A clash at San Siro, and they were denied a two-goal advantage when Sulley Muntari header's was disallowed after the assistant referee decided the ball had not crossed the line.

Former Italian prime minister and Milan president Berlusconi believes his team have been treated harshly by recent decisions, including a three-match ban handed to star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic for slapping an opponent.

"We did not agree with the decision to suspend Zlatan Ibrahimovic for three games, robbing us of his presence against Juve," Berlusconi said.

"Ibra was only guilty of a little tap and the judges should've taken into account that this match was putting the two protagonists of the season against each other."

"It would've been opportune for each side to have their best men available."

"As for the goal, I am more disappointed than angry. The result was falsified by that incident. If we'd gone 2-0 up, the situation would have been very different."

"Was the referee influenced by Antonio Conte's comments during the week? I really think so, yes," he said, referring to accusations from the Juve coach that Serie A officials are conditioned not to make decisions in favour of his team.

"In any case, it was a mistake and I absolutely do not want to believe in a plot against Milan."

"I have a great deal of faith that Milan can win the Scudetto, because our mission is to be stronger than envy, misfortune and injustice. Milan had the right to a positive result."

Berlusconi believes the incident should be used to encourage the introduction of goal-line technology.

"The goal that wasn't given was absolutely clear for all to see, even without the photographs and video evidence," he said.

"I have always encouraged the use of technology in football and it would be opportune for referees to have the option of watching the replays in big decisions."

"The Sulley Muntari incident confirms that technology in football would lead to less injustice in football."


Nocerino thrilled with Juve strike

26 February 2012 14:31

AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino was delighted to score against former team Juventus during a 1-1 draw between the two teams.

Nocerino, 26, put Milan ahead 15 minutes into the match at San Siro, thanks to a shot which deflected off Leonardo Bonucci.

The midfielder spent much of his youth career at Juventus, and was co-owned by the club during spells at Genoa and Piacenza.

He finally made his first-team debut for the Turin side in 2007/08, before leaving for Palermo.

Impressive performances for the Sicilian club earned a move to Milan in August 2011, and Nocerino feels he has proved a point to the club who 'cast him aside.'

"I felt glee," he said after scoring against Juve on Saturday.

"I had a great charge and a rage inside me that wanted to explode. I spent 11 years at Juventus before being cast aside without much explanation."

"Luckily I went to Palermo where I had a great experience and grew up, and now I'm happy here and I am really enjoying myself."

Nocerino pointed to Sulley Muntari's disallowed header as a turning point in the encounter, after which Alessandro Matri came off the bench to grab a late equaliser for Juventus.

"We played very well against a great team," he said.

"In the first half we scored two goals, and I cannot decipher how the linesman did not give (Muntari's) goal."

"We then went and created other opportunities, but with a two-goal advantage it would have been different."

"(The draw) is a missed opportunity for us because the goal was to maintain our lead at the summit."

Nocerino said Milan remain a force even when they are without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed the Juve clash as the final part of a three-match suspension.

"We are a good team even without Ibra, who remains our reference point, but I would always like to have (Antonio) Cassano and (Kevin-Prince) Boateng in as well," he said.

"Physically we are feeling much better and this can be seen on the pitch. On top of that we are playing with much more intensity, meaning the attackers are finding it easier."


Antonini rues ´ghost´ goal

26 February 2012 13:40

AC Milan defender Luca Antonini bemoaned Sulley Muntari's disallowed goal in his team's 1-1 draw with Juventus on Saturday.

Scudetto holders Milan led thanks to Antonio Nocerino's effort early in the match at San Siro, and Muntari's 'goal' would have given the hosts a commanding 2-0 advantage.

But the Ghanaian's header was not deemed to have crossed the line by the assistant referee, and Alessandro Matri went on to equalise for Juve.

"We played the game as we had to do, as we were missing many players and attempted to cover those absences," Antonini told Milan's official website.

"At 2-0 it would have been a different game. I'm a bit angry and disappointed because we deserved to win and instead go out only with a point."

"We were a bit tired before their equaliser; they took advantage. But we played a good game and we have nothing to regret. We must continue to play like this."

With the spoils shared, Milan remain the top of Serie A, but Juventus are only a point behind and have a game in hand over the league leaders.


Matri: Luck evened itself out

26 February 2012 13:29

Juventus striker Alessandro Matri says his offside strike evened out Sulley Muntari's disallowed header for AC Milan in Saturday's 1-1 draw.

Ghana international Muntari looked to have scored a legitimate goal 25 minutes into the clash between Serie A's top two teams, only for the linesman to decide the ball did not cross the line.

Matri had what appeared to be a valid goal of his own chalked off for offside near the end of the match at San Siro, and he believes the two incidents cancelled themselves out.

"My disallowed goal? It ties us with AC Milan, as I have said (Muntari's header) to be a regular goal," Matri told Sky Sport Italia.

Matri netted the equaliser to earn Juventus a point in the match, and maintain their unbeaten season in the Italy's top flight.

They remain one point behind league leaders Milan, but do hold a game in hand over the defending champions.

"It was important we were able to equalise in such a difficult match," Matri said.

"It's a draw that makes a difference in the league table, but not one that will be decisive in the race for the title."

"(The result) also keeps our momentum going, which for us is the most important thing."


Buffon blind-sided by ghost goal

26 February 2012 09:51

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said he was unaware Sulley Muntari's shot crossed the line, in their 1-1 Serie A draw with AC Milan.

Saturday's clash at San Siro was packed with controversy, and no moment was bigger than Muntari's disallowed goal, which Buffon swept from inside the goal back into the field of play.

The 34-year-old stated that he was unsure whether Muntari's header had crossed the line and was only interested in helping his team, adding that if he had known that the goal was legitimate, he would not have corrected the officials.

"I was watching the ball, not the line," Buffon told La Repubblica.

"I didn't realise it had gone over the line, and even if I did I wouldn't have lended a hand to the referee."

"Taking a point and continuing the unbeaten streak makes it a special evening, where we played against most successful team to win the Scudetto."

"In the end what counts is that we were ready to adapt to whatever happened in the match. Milan had greater freshness, lucidity and technical skill."

"In the second half we tried to change and in the last 25 minutes we were better because in the first half AC Milan had control of the game."

The draw means that Milan are still top of Serie A by one point, though Juventus have a game in hand.


Heated battle irritates Conte

26 February 2012 09:01

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has expressed his disdain at the tense nature of his side's 1-1 draw with AC Milan in Serie A on Saturday.

Conte's men bagged a late point courtesy of substitute Alessandro Matri, who cancelled out Antonio Nocerino's early strike.

The game, however, was overshadowed by a pair of questionable refereeing decisions in the form of two disallowed goals from Juve's Matri and Milan's Sulley Muntari.

A half-time bust-up between both clubs also ensued, and Conte could only apologise for the controversy that unfolded at San Siro.

"These things happen, and I'm sorry that this match had too much tension," he told Sky Sport Italia after the match.

"There was not a beautiful atmosphere for the purists. Too many things happened that were not football-related, and I did not like them."

"The best thing was the game itself, the rest should be improved in the future. I, for one, must also improve."

Conte attacked former Milan midfielder and Sky pundit Zvonimir Boban, who claimed Muntari's header held more significance to the final outcome of the match than Matri's offside finish.

"There were two serious technical errors on two goals from Matri and Muntari. These are errors that can occur, but they are both even," he said.

"We hope that errors can always be balanced for and against all teams come the end of the season, but I find unacceptable to say that a goal is more regular than the other."

Despite the negativity on the pitch, Conte praised Milan for successfully putting his team on the back foot for the first hour, but was proud of his side's response.

"We must credit Milan because they played at a very high level for an hour, putting us under intense pressure," he stated.

"But it was unlikely that they could sustain it for the entire match and we were good at exploiting them, aided by the players I brought on."

"The people watched a great Milan team, although they missed many important players. We were both good and lucky, but there is still much to do for the Scudetto."

AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri said he was not disappointed despite conceding late in the contest, and failed to blame the officials for Muntari's disallowed goal, which appeared to cross the line.

"I'm not sad to only draw, because my team played an excellent match tonight. I'm happy with the guys' performance and I'm sorry because we could have closed the game winning 2-0, or maybe with a draw anyway, or we could even have lost 3-2, but it would have been important for the team to have that goal given at that moment of the game. I have nothing to blame the referees for," Allegri said.

"I think that talking about these decisions is pointless now, my team played a good match, or better, an excellent match for one hour and 10 minutes, we didn't concede anything."

"I expected them (Juventus) to prevail in the last twenty minutes of play, but we defended well, we only risked it once and made a mistake when they scored, because we let them take the corner kick too quickly and didn't pay enough attention. However I think the title race will be wide open for both sides till the end of the season."


Serie A wrap: Milan, Juve share spoils

26 February 2012 01:52

Alessandro Matri extended Juventus' incredible unbeaten streak to 27 matches as they drew 1-1 with AC Milan in the Serie A on Saturday.

Juventus entered the match without a defeat since May 15, when they lost 1-0 to Parma.

But the golden run Antonio Conte's side had embarked on looked like coming to an end at the San Siro after Antonio Nocerino gave the hosts the lead on 15 minutes.

Nocerino's effort from distance took a deflection and wrong-footed Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Conte brought Simone Pepe and Mirko Vucinic off the bench in the second half to increase his side's attacking options but it was another substitute in Matri who would make the telling impact.

Pepe provided the assist and the forward did the rest, side-footing home for his 10th goal of the season with just seven minutes to play.

Juventus' Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal was given a straight red card on 89 minutes in a heated end to an exciting match.

Milan top the league by one point, with Juventus sitting second.

The day's other match saw Rodrigo Palacio strike twice in the final 20 minutes to earn Genoa a point in a 2-2 draw with Parma.

Goals to Massimo Gobbi and Sergio Floccari before the hour mark handed Parma the lead but the Argentine forward rescued a draw for his side off his own boot.

Firstly, he tapped in the rebound after seeing his penalty saved with 12 minutes remaining.

Palacio's second came six minutes into stoppage time as he netted his ninth goal in as many matches for Genoa.

Parma had defender Alessandro Lucarelli sent off just moments after in a heated finish to the match.


Maldini lashes Milan, Juve

25 February 2012 16:45

Paolo Maldini has criticised former club AC Milan and also took a swipe at Juventus as the teams prepare to meet in Serie A.

Maldini, 43, has previously been tipped to join Milan's coaching staff, but the retired Italy international defender poured cold water on rumours of a potential return to Milanello.

"I don't think I'll go back to Milan," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"I am seen as a problem because I have an independent mind."

"The club's choices are perfectly legitimate, but let us avoid hypocrisy. They said 'he's one of us and is always welcome,' but that's not the truth."

Serie A champions Milan head into Saturday's top-of-the-table clash a point clear of Antonio Conte's Juve at the summit of Italy's top flight.

Maldini saw fit to criticise the Turin club, with their coach Antonio Conte and sporting director Pavel Nedved recently complaining about the percieved reluctance of Serie A referees to award Juventus penalties.

"As for Juventus, they need to stay calm as whining about every half-shout for a penalty isn't the kind of thing a big club does," Maldini said.

"In order to beat them, you need pace."

"Had I been at Milan, I wouldn't have let Andrea Pirlo join Juventus, as he should have gone abroad to Chelsea."

"Tonight's game could be decisive for the Scudetto, if only in psychological terms."


Chiellini: Juve playing to win in Milan

25 February 2012 14:04

Giorgio Chiellini says Juventus plan to take the game to AC Milan during Saturday's top-of-the-table Serie A showdown at San Siro.

Versatile Italy defender Chiellini is wary of the threat posed by reigning champions Milan, even without suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

A draw could be considered a positive result for Juve, who are just one point behind Milan with a game in hand over the league leaders.

But Chiellini said his team plan to impose themselves on Milan right from the kick-off at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

"Milan are coming off the back of a winning year and they're showing that they're one of the strongest teams in Europe," Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia.

"So there's plenty of respect for the Rossoneri, but also a great desire to go there and dictate the game."

Some pundits believe the outcome of Saturday's clash could effectively decide the title race, but Chiellini is not attaching such a level of significance to the game.

"It's not like the Milan-Juve clash in 2005 when I believe there were three or four matches left and you felt that it would be the decisive game," he said.

"In my opinion, whatever the result, there's still a long way to go and anything could still happen."


Milan´s Ambrosini: Juve clash not decisive

25 February 2012 13:02

AC Milan's Massimo Ambrosini does not believe Saturday's clash with Juventus will decide the outcome of the Serie A title.

Reigning champions and league leaders Milan sit one point above second-placed Juve in the standings, but Antonio Conte's men from Turin do have a game in hand.

Ambrosini is unwilling to attach too much importance to the teams' top-of-table clash at San Siro this week.

But the veteran midfielder conceded whichever teams comes out on top will gain a psychological advantage over their rivals.

"It's an important game in terms of the table, but I don't think it will be decisive in terms of the title because there are many games left to play," club captain Ambrosini told Milan's TV channel.

"Of course, the team that wins will have a psychological advantage but we must face Juventus head-on because teams like Juve must be confronted without fear."

Milan are still riding high after last week's 4-0 Champions League round-of-16 first-leg victory over Arsenal.

Nevertheless, Ambrosini feels the club's exploits in Europe could ultimately prove a hindrance when it comes to trying to retain their league crown.

"I think the fact that Juve have no European commitments is an advantage for them," he said.

"They play only on a weekly basis and that allows them to be in great condition for every game."


Aquilani: Milan are better than Juve

25 February 2012 12:34

Alberto Aquilani wants his AC Milan colleagues to prove their superiority over Juventus when the top two teams meet in Serie A on Saturday.

Midfielder Aquilani spent last season on loan at Juve from Liverpool, and has considerable respect for the Turin outfit.

But he is confident reigning champions Milan will prevail in this week's eagerly-awaited top-of-the-table clash at San Siro.

"I think that Milan are stronger than Juventus, but they must prove it on the field," Aquilani was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I envy Juventus' unbeaten record and (midfielder Claudio) Marchisio, who is a very strong player."

"Juventus have invested so much and have returned to the top. And (coach Antonio) Conte has given great organisation to the team."

"However, I remain of the view that it is (the) players who make the difference."

Aquilani feels Milan are the stronger team man-for-man, and have demonstrated their strength in depth by coping without Zlatan Ibrahimovic in recent weeks.

The star striker will sit out the Juve clash as he serves the final match of his three-game suspension for slapping an opponent.

"The team has shown it can do well without him (Ibrahimovic)," Aquilani said.

"And I hope that (Alexandre) Pato has a great game for Milan; he has enormous potential."

Aquilani himself will also be missing, the 27-year-old is sidelined by an ankle injury.


Serie A preview: Milan, Juve set for showdown

25 February 2012 03:03

Andrea Pirlo can strike a blow against his former employers when Juventus travel to AC Milan in a match that could decide the Serie A title.

Juventus are a point behind the league-leaders and have a game in hand.

A win on Saturday, as well as in their spare game on March 7 against Bologna, could mean a five point gap over Milan for Pirlo and his teammates.

Pirlo joined the Turin-based club in May, after the reigning champions let his contract expire.

The 32-year-old has started 22 of Juventus' 23 matches in Serie A this season, with six assists and a goal.

Pirlo has been crucial to Juventus' unbeaten run, linking well with the rest of Antonio Conte's midfield, and he will be hoping to continue his side's dominance over Milan this season.

Claudio Marchisio scored twice as Juventus won 2-0 at home against Milan in October, while Juventus also triumphed in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg earlier this month, defeating their rivals 2-1 in Milan.

Milan have won three matches in a row since that reverse, including a 4-0 demolition of Arsenal in the Champions League.

In Saturday's other match, Genoa will host Parma.

On Sunday, Napoli will host Inter Milan, fresh from their impressive victory over Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Napoli's attacking trio of Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi were again brilliant as the Italian club won 3-1.

Inter Milan did not fare as well mid-week, losing 1-0 to Marseille thanks to a last-second goal to Andre Ayew.

Udinese, who are third in Serie A, need to beat Bologna away if they are to maintain their chance of catching the two clubs at the top.

Lazio are in the same position and they take on Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Roma can move to within a point of their cross-town rivals if they beat Atalanta and Lazio lose, while Palermo will be in Siena for a game that could see the hosts move five points clear of the relegation zone with a victory.

The bottom three clubs will all travel on Sunday.

Cesena head north to take on Chievo Verona, Novara will be in Sicily to play Catania, and Cagliari will welcome Lecce to Sardinia.


Conte unfazed by Ibra absence

24 February 2012 16:13

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has played down the fact that Milan will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Saturday's blockbuster Serie A clash.

The Lega Calcio's Disciplinary Committee announced on Thursday that it had rejected Milan's appeal to have Ibrahimovic's three-match ban reduced, meaning he will not be able to play against his former club at San Siro.

"One always wants to win, with or without Ibrahimovic," Conte told reporters. "That has been our mentality since the start of the season."

"Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we do not. For us, (Ibrahimovic's absence) does not change our preparation and our desire, and I imagine the same can be said about Milan."

"Ibra surely gives more points of reference, because he is a great player, but Milan are strong, with or without him."

Juventus are one point behind Milan in second place, with one match in hand, and Conte believes that Saturday's match will be decisive for the Turin side to prove they can go all the way in the competition.

"We have taken a decisive step, which was to become competitive again," Conte said.

"This is a source of pride for me, for the team and for the club. We must now prove that we can continue at this level."

Conte played down comments from former Italy coach Marcello Lippi, who stated on Thursday that Milan have stronger centre-backs than Juventus.

"I think that Milan have two great champions, two outstanding players in Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva," Conte said.

"I played alongside Nesta and he is a great player. Thiago Silva is among the best in his position."

"But I repeat that I would not trade my central defenders with Milan's."


Allegri plays down Juve fixture

24 February 2012 14:59

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has played down the importance of his side's match against title rivals Juventus on Saturday.

The Serie A champions host Juve at San Siro looking to increase their one point lead on the Turin club, who trail Milan in second with a match in hand.

"I do not think the match will be decisive," Allegri told reporters. "But it is normal that a victory from either side will break the balance in the league."

"We are ready to play a great match against a side who deserved their position in the table, based on statistics."

"They have the best defence in the competition and have not yet lost after 23 games."

Allegri revealed that Kevin-Prince Boateng and Maxi Lopez have both been ruled out of the contest, while Alexandre Pato will make his first Serie A appearance since mid-January.

"I expect a convincing return (from Pato)," Allegri said. "He returns in an important match for the league."

"He will also be very motivated to do well."

The 44-year-old coach went on to reveal that his side are wary of the threat posed by Andrea Pirlo, who left Milan for Juventus in the off-season.

"That decision was made seven months ago, it is old news," Allegri said. "He is doing well at Juve, but I had no doubt about his quality."

"He is a reference for Juventus. We will try to limit his actions."

Questioned on the Lega Calcio's decision to reject Milan's appeal to shorten Zlatan Ibrahimovic's three-match ban, Allegri said: "I took the news well in the sense that we cannot do anything about it."

"It is a judicial decision and we have to calmly accept it."


Yepes excited for heavyweight battle

24 February 2012 14:17

AC Milan defender Mario Yepes is eagerly anticipating Saturday's Serie A blockbuster against Juventus at San Siro.

All eyes will be on Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo as the midfielder returns to the club where he achieved great success, but Yepes has warned that there is more to their opponents than just the 32-year-old Pirlo.

"Juventus are not reliant on just one player. They are a very strong collective, and every player is important for them," Yepes told

"They have an immense desire to win and to return to the top. They are high on confidence and are still unbeaten. That boosts their morale even further and makes them more determined to win."

Milan currently sit top of the table with a one-point lead over their Turin-based rivals, and are keen to extend the gap by bagging all three points. Nevertheless, Yepes has stressed that Saturday's encounter will not be decisive in deciding this season's champions.

"The match versus Juventus won't be decisive for the Scudetto. There are still many games to be played and points to be earned. A win would obviously be a big boost though, and we hope to record a victory," he said.


Matri eases pressure on Juventus

24 February 2012 12:26

Juventus forward Alessandro Matri believes AC Milan are favourites heading into Saturday's highly anticipated Serie A encounter at San Siro.

The Old Lady have already defeated the reigning champions twice in the 2011-12 campaign, but Matri believes that the Rossoneri are in prime position to grab the full three points on Saturday evening.

"Milan are still the favourites in my opinion, but we are growing in confidence. We will attack them right from the start," Matri said.

The former Cagliari star said he has no idea yet whether he will be part of the starting XI.

"I don't know yet whether I will start or (Marco) Borriello. We will find out at the stadium who starts," he said.

The 27-year-old Matri has so far scored nine goals in 21 Serie A appearances this term.


Juve clash a title decider, says Emanuelson

23 February 2012 13:51

AC Milan midfielder Urby Emanuelson said he realises the importance of his side's Serie A blockbuster with Juventus on Saturday.

The San Siro outfit sit top of the Italian top-flight table with a one-point lead over their rivals Juve, who have one game in hand, but the latter took all six points on offer from their two league clashes last season.

Emanuelson said it was more than just three points on offer in the fixture.

"We are playing for the Scudetto on Saturday. It will be a very complicated game for us. We have already met them twice this season, and lost on both occasions," Emanuelson told Tuttosport.

"(Andrea) Pirlo will be crucial for Juventus. He is one of the best players with whom I have played in my career."

Emanuelson scored his first goal for Milan in last week's 3-1 Serie A win over Cesena.


Silva salivating for Milan success

22 February 2012 16:25

AC Milan defender Thiago Silva said his side are hungry, ahead of their home Serie A blockbuster with Juventus on Saturday.

The Brazil international Silva conceded that the reigning champions had some motivational problems at the start of the 2011-12 campaign, but he was adamant that they have now regained their determination to win trophies.

"We lacked the real hunger for success. We no longer had the same willingness to win that we possessed before. This hunger for success is what makes the difference for a team with our qualities," Silva said to Il Corriere dello Sport.

"It happened after the Supercoppa Italiana. The league started and we were no longer the same. We seemed to be thinking that we could easily win another Scudetto. Football isn't like that, though. Things can change very rapidly. Right now, last year's feeling is back, and we're hungry for more titles."

Milan sit top of the Serie A table with a one-point lead over Juventus, but the latter have a game in hand.


Quagliarella gives Conte selection headache

21 February 2012 13:05

Juventus coach Antonio Conte may offer Fabio Quagliarella a rare starting spot for their blockbuster with AC Milan in Serie A on Saturday.

Conte will hope that the former Napoli striker's impressive display against Catania last weekend will provide some much needed momentum as they face their title rivals at San Siro.

Quagliarella capped a fantastic performance at home against Catania with an 81st-minute goal that sealed a 3-1 win for Juve.

The Italy international has been praised not just for his goal scoring, but for his role in the team and hard-working performance.

He has found his chances limited at Juventus Stadium this season with a series of injuries along with a high level of competition for places in Conte's side.

When asked of the impending clash with champions Milan, Quagliarella told Italy: "I am ready."

Conte now faces a difficult decision in picking his starting line-up for the top-of-the-table clash.

Along with Quagliarella, he also has Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri and Marco Borriello at his disposal in attack.


Pirlo keen for Ibrahimovic clash

20 February 2012 14:31

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo said he is hoping that AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play in their Serie A clash on Saturday.

The Sweden international Ibrahimovic received a red card in his side's scoreless draw against Napoli earlier this month, and was consequently handed a three-game suspension.

However, Ibrahimovic opted to appeal his ban, with a final decision to be made this Thursday, and his former Milan team-mate Pirlo wants the striker to feature for the opposition.

"We hope that Ibra will be there on Saturday," Pirlo told La Stampa.

Ibrahimovic has already missed two matches due to his suspension and will be available for Saturday's encounter at San Siro if his ban is reduced by one game.

The 30-year-old Swede has been a key figure at Milan this season, netting 15 Serie A goals.


Juve clash will be decisive, says Allegri

19 February 2012 20:03

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri believes next weekend's Serie A match against Juventus could prove to be decisive in the title race.

Milan beat Cesena 3-1 on Sunday to leapfrog Juventus on the league table and Allegri is confident his side will put in a strong performance in the encounter at San Siro on Saturday.

"We are happy to be top of the table again, even if we have played one more game than Juventus," Allegri said.

"Next weekend's encounter could be decisive and I expect it to be a fascinating match."

"We have an entire week to prepare for the big game and I am confident that we will put in a great performance. If (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic is available, he will play. If not, we will find another solution."

Despite a late lapse in concentration which allowed Cesena to score, Allegri said overall he was pleased with his side's performance on Sunday.

"The boys put in a great performance right until the third goal. We then allowed them too much space for a while. The most important thing is that we won though."

Milan have collected 50 points from 24 matches and hold a one-point lead over Juventus.

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +48 84
2 38 +41 80
3 38 +17 64
4 38 +9 62
5 38 +20 61
6 38 +3 58
7 38 +6 56
8 38 +1 56
9 38 -2 51
10 38 -10 49
11 38 -5 48
12 38 -2 46
13 38 -6 46
14 38 +0 44
15 38 -9 43
16 38 -10 43
17 38 -19 42
18 38 -16 36
19 38 -30 32
20 38 -36 22
18+ GambleAware