Previews: Inter keeper tipped to return

ROME - Brief news ahead of this weekend's matches in Serie A: Keeper Julio Cesar is expected to return from a groin strain as leaders Inter Milan seek to close in on the Serie A title in Saturday's clash with second-placed Juventus in Turin.

The Brazilian was back in training with his team mates this week after missing Saturday's 2-2 draw with Palermo, which sent Inter 10 points clear with the help of Juve's 3-2 defeat at Genoa.

However, Colombian defender Nelson Rivas injured knee ligaments in training on Thursday and looks set to be out for the rest of the season.

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet are contesting a place up front alongside Vincenzo Iaquinta, who can be relatively confident of a starting spot thanks to his strong form, Italian media say.

Juve boss Claudio Ranieri said he was unsure whether to give striker Amauri a place on the bench after a month out with a thigh injury, while midfielders Mauro Camoranesi and Claudio Marchisio are suspended.

Marco Marchionni is favourite to take Camoranesi's place on the right wing, but Cristiano Zanetti's hopes of coming in for Marchisio were dashed when he felt a sciatic nerve strain at the end of Friday's training session, the latest of the injury problems that have dogged him this season.

Captain Paolo Maldini should return for third-placed AC Milan's home game against Torino on Sunday after missing last week's 1-0 win at Chievo Verona with a thigh muscle problem. Maldini's presence would boost a back line without the suspended Marek Jankulovski.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has a touchline ban for being sent off for dissent in Verona.

Sixth-placed AS Roma will have to contend with injuries and suspensions when they entertain Lecce on Sunday needing a win for their bid to close an eight-point gap on fourth-placed Genoa and claim a Champions League slot.

Defenders Cicinho and Juan, midfielder Alberto Aquilani and forward Mirko Vucinic have fitness problems while the back line is also without Christian Panucci and Philippe Mexes, who were sent off in Saturday's 4-2 defeat by Lazio.

Coach Luciano Spalletti will be unable to sit in the dugout after he too was given a red card during the derby.

Fifth-placed Fiorentina also have troubles with suspensions ahead of Sunday's visit to Udinese.

Felipe Melo is serving the first part of a five-match ban for fighting with Cagliari's Diego Lopez at the end of last weekend's 2-1 win, while fellow midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is also out after getting a yellow card.


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