Serie A: In-form Roma host Inter in first title clash

September 18, 2006

Serie A leaders Roma will hope to maintain their fine start to the season on Wednesday night when they take on Internazionale.

A 3-1 win in Siena on Sunday catapulted Roma above their midweek opponents, who were unable to beat Sampdoria at home on Saturday evening.

Giallorossi coach Luciano Spalletti is playing down his side's chances of winning the league, however, and playing up those of their next opponents.

'We are not perfect, we still have some faults,' he admitted after their second straight league win on Sunday.

'Inter and AC Milan have that little bit more in respect to us.'

Roma and Inter have already met this season in the Italian Supercup, which the defending Serie A champions won 4-3.

In that game, Roma raced into a 3-0 lead, only to throw away the first piece of silverware of the season.

On Wednesday, at the Stadio Olimpico, they have the chance to gain revenge and put five points between the two clubs.

AC Milan started the season eight points adrift of Roma due to their part in the match-fixing scandal but while they still remain at the same distance from the league leaders, they can finally move up the league table on Wednesday.

Ascoli are their opponents at the San Siro and a win for the Rossoneri could take them as high as 11th and, more importantly, into positive points figures.

Palermo joined Roma on top of the pile with a perfect start to the season when they defeated Lazio on Sunday.

After beating West Ham United in the UEFA Cup in London on Thursday, Francesco Guidolin's side confirmed their status as outside candidates for glory this season.

On Wednesday, they host Sicilian rivals Catania and Guidolin feels his side could well have a thing or two to say about the destiny of the Serie A crown.

'Whoever wants to play the role of outsider has got to have the will to surprise and have a strong team spirit,' he said.

'It is still early to say, but I am convinced that Palermo could put all of these characteristics into play.'

Their opponents Catania have made an unbeaten start to life back in the top flight and, in the first of several Sicilian derbies this season, they will be keen to cause an upset.

Atalanta and Empoli are also unbeaten after two games of the season, but something may give when they meet in Bergamo on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sampdoria's impressive 1-1 draw in Milan may have been good for morale, but the fact remains they have not won a game in 15 attempts.

For that run to end, they must defeat a rejuvenated Udinese, who chalked up their first win of the season over Torino on Sunday.

Cagliari are the only side, apart from those penalised with points deductions, to still be on zero points after two games.

After losing to Catania on the opening day of the season, they fell to Reggina on Saturday, leaving them desperate for their first points of the season when Livorno come to Sardinia on Wednesday.

Reggina's win cuts their 15-point penalty to 12 and they could even start to move up the table with a further win against Messina on Wednesday.

Lazio's defeat to Palermo leaves them just one point above the Reggio Calabrians on minus 11 points with a tricky trip to Chievo scheduled for Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina need to start picking up points soon as relegation, even after only two games, is looking a serious threat.

The Viola have as yet done nothing to reduce their 19-point penalty and are now 17 points away from safety ahead of the visit of Parma in midweek.

Finally, Torino host Siena at the Olympic Stadium in Turin.