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Title race hotting up in Serie A

Milan striker Robino is challenged by Siena’s Luca Rossettini.

Milan striker Robino is challenged by Siena’s Luca Rossettini.

A reinvigorated Juventus have been the best team in Serie A this season, but Milan are in hot pursuit ahead of today’s action in Italy.

With the league playing matches that were postponed at the beginning of the campaign because of strike action by the players, Milan travel to Cagliari this evening just two points behind league leaders Juventus.

Milan beat Siena 2-0 at the weekend to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 10 games, and are primed for a title challenge.

“I don’t believe Juventus has more hunger than us to win the league,” Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We are the defending champions.

“We started the season on the wrong foot with five points from five games but we managed to recover and remain firmly in the race.”

Juventus, who unlike Milan are not playing in Europe this season, have yet to lose a game.

Antonio Conte’s Juve face a stern test tomorrow with Udinese boasting a perfect record at the Friuli stadium.

Conte knows his side will have to show an improved performance with respect to Sunday’s 2-0 triumph over Novara.

“To create 17 goal-scoring chances and convert just two is enough to give the coach a health scare,” Conte joked.

“I hope my players don’t do it on purpose. You cannot allow rivals the possibility of getting back in the game. Now we must prepare for a very difficult game at Udinese.

“We want to end 2011 on a positive note.”

Udinese are level on 31 points with Milan after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Lazio.

Lazio are hosting Chievo looking to keep up the pressure on the top three teams. The Romans are two points adrift of Udinese.

Inter carry a three-match winning streak into their game against bottom-side Lecce at the San Siro.

Claudio Ranieri’s men won 1-0 at Cesena over the weekend to climb into fifth place.

Napoli, who lost 3-1 at home to Roma to drop to sixth and host Genoa tomorrow, have won just one of their last seven league games.

Roma, meanwhile, following arguably their best performance of the campaign in Naples, visit Bologna.

The Eternal City giants are level on 21 points with Napoli.

Parma have not won since November 20 and host Catania tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Siena host Fiorentina in a Tuscan derby knowing that a defeat could see them spend the holidays in the relegation zone.

Giuseppe Sannino’s side are two points clear of 18th-place Cesena, who travel to Bergamo to face Atalanta tomorrow.

Programme
Today: 18.00 Siena vs Fiorentina; 20.45 Cagliari vs Milan.
Tomorrow: 18.00 Udinese vs Juventus. 20.45 Atalanta vs Cesena; Bol-ogna vs Roma; Inter vs Lecce; Lazio vs Chievo; Napoli vs Genoa; Novara vs Palermo; Parma vs Catania.

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