Good Samaritan Sneijder will show no mercy

MILAN - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Serie A matches.

Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder has been hailed by a scooter rider for helping her after an accident in Milan city centre.

"He didn't have to but he stayed with me to wait for the ambulance. He showed his sportsmanship off the field too," Elisabetta Savazzi told www.gazzetta.it.

The Dutchman will show no mercy on Saturday though when the champions and Serie A leaders visit beleaguered rivals AS Roma.

Inter are without injured Argentines Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel as well as defender Marco Materazzi for the standout game, back on after the Serie A players' strike was suspended, so Ivan Cordoba is likely to come into central defence.

Roma, runners-up last term but in terrible form so far this season, said in a statement that Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi would be in the squad after missing Wednesday's 2-1 defeat at Brescia through injury.

Defender John Arne Riise returns after several weeks out with a head knock while Nicolas Burdisso is back from suspension.

Fellow centre-half Philippe Mexes is banned for three games and goalkeeper Julio Sergio is out for around a month with ankle ligament damage, according to media reports, meaning Bogdan Lobont or forgotten former No. 1 Doni will step in.

Claudio Ranieri's Roma, still linked with ex-Italy boss Marcello Lippi in the media despite denials, were furious with the refereeing of Carmine Russo on Wednesday and the official has been given a weekend off for the fifth round of matches, Serie A said in a statement.

Napoli's highly-rated Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik has extended his contract until 2015, the club said in a statement, giving Walter Mazzarri's side a boost for Sunday's game at Cesena after their inconsistent start to the campaign.

Faltering AC Milan host Genoa on Saturday with in-form Kevin Prince Boateng available despite being owned by the visitors.

The Ghana midfielder was bought by Genoa from Portsmouth and bizarrely loaned to Milan on the same day, the fourth player transfer between the clubs in the August window.

English side Portsmouth have said they are unhappy that Genoa have not paid their first instalment of the fee.

Juventus entertain Cagliari on Sunday with coach Luigi Del Neri pulling his grey hair out after Thursday's 3-1 defeat by Palermo following a 4-0 weekend win over Udinese.

"We've taken a step backwards," he told reporters. "We have defects which we have not yet managed to correct."

This weekend's matches were due to be called off because of a players' strike in a dispute over a collective contract and other matters.

Negotiations led to the walkout being postponed pending more talks but the players' union has won the battle to have matches on the national holiday of Jan.6 moved.

Serie A bosses have said the January 6 matches will now take place on January 19 rather than December 22 as first announced.

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