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Oct 23, 2006

Palermo go into Sicily derby on a high

MILAN, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Surprise Serie A leaders Palermo, fresh from their victory over AC Milan, take on Messina in a Sicilian derby on Wednesday with coach Francesco Guidolin refusing to consider his team title contenders.

Five wins from their opening seven games have catapulted Palermo to 15 points, level with defending champions Inter Milan at the top of the table.

'This is a real achievement but I don't want to hear any talk about the 'scudetto',' said Guidolin after goals from Australian Mark Bresciano and Brazilian Amauri at the San Siro handed Milan their first defeat of the campaign.

A full house is expected at Palermo's 'Favorita' stadium on Wednesday for the game with mid-table Messina. Palermo won their other local derby, against Catania, 5-3 last month.

The result left Milan, who began the season with a minus 8 point penalty imposed by a sports tribunal investigating match-fixing allegations, in the bottom half of the table on four points, 11 behind city rivals Inter who they face in the Milan derby on Saturday.

Before that game Milan face a tricky trip to Chievo who have been boosted by the return of coach Luigi Del Neri. Chievo earned a 1-1 draw away to Roma on Sunday.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti conceded that the main problem his side has is in the goals department where Milan have struggled since the sale of Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea.

Ancelotti's side have managed just six goals in seven games this season -- 10 less than Palermo.

'We have to resolve the problems in attack because the league table is starting to get tough for us. We are creating a lot of chances but we aren't able to put them away even though we are dominating games,' said Ancelotti.

Inter, who gave up sole command of the top spot after being held to a goalless draw at Udinese, are at home to Livorno on Wednesday.

Roma, meanwhile, will expect to get back to winning ways at home to winless Ascoli.

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