Serie A trio triumph ahead of Anglo Italian threesome

The countdown to the biggest ties of the season started in earnest on Saturday evening as Inter, Juventus and AS Roma retreated into the night to prepare for round one of the colossal challenge with il Inglese.

And all three picked up morale-boosting wins, meaning they head into Champions League action in reasonably good health.


Cambiasso strike helps bury Bologna

Starting with Inter and Jose Mourinho -  the Sonny to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Vito in The Godfather - the hot-head, as you would expect, claims that his side are ready-made to send Manchester United out of the competition.

The Portuguese firebrand has been rallying the troops all week, and even let it slip that the first goal at Bologna had come from a training ground move that could unhinge the United defence.

However, for that to come off, much will depend on whether Adriano can get away with another handball, as he did to set up Esteban Cambiasso to score from inside the six-yard box.

Let’s hope that Jose gets his players defending set-pieces, because Bologna’s equaliser was a trademark English set-play – curl the ball in and someone stoops to conquer.

Mourinho will be looking for a sit-down at the San Siro, and if he can come away with a goalless draw then a hit and run - literally, as he did with Porto - is on the cards at Old Trafford.

Similar tactics will be employed for Juve and Roma’s outings to London.


Taddei sees off Siena

Both Claudio Ranieri and Luciano Spalletti have been whinging about injuries, but don’t be surprised to see all the big names present.

And whatever bodies they put out on the pitch, their job will be to come home with a score draw at least.

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