Leaders Inter seek win record against Torino

January 12, 2007

MILAN, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Serie A leaders Inter Milan can set a new record for consecutive league wins if they beat Torino when Serie A resumes on Saturday.

Roberto Mancini's side equalled AS Roma's record of 11 successive victories with their triumph over Atalanta on the day before the mid-season break.

More importantly though, Inter restart their title challenge with a lead of seven points over closest rivals Roma who are away to Messina on Sunday.

While ninth-placed Torino have not beaten Inter in 13 years they ended the year in good form having lost just one of their last five games.

'We know it will be a difficult game. We will face a Torino side who are well organised on the pitch,' Inter's Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic told the club's Web site.

'They will cause us problems for ninety minutes. But if we play like Inter can, if we are focused, determined and have that decisive aggression, we can win,' added Stankovic.

Brazilian striker Adriano, who scored his first goal of the season in the win over Atalanta on Dec. 23, was also on target in Tuesday's Italian Cup quarter-final, first-leg win over Empoli but is likely to return to the bench at Turin's Olympic stadium.

Argentine Hernan Crespo has recovered fitness in time to partner Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.

As always, Inter have been linked with several players during the opening days of the January transfer window but Mancini has yet to make any additions to his squad.

Roma have signed striker Francesco Tavano from Valencia and sent Vincenzo Montella on loan to English club Fulham.

Tavano gives coach Luciano Spalletti an extra option in attack at Messina but he is likely to stick with his tactic of playing Francesco Totti as a lone forward backed by Brazilian wingers Mancini and Rodrigo Taddei.

AC Milan, down in 12th place after starting the season with an eight-point penalty imposed by the tribunal which investigated match-fixing allegations, are at home to Reggina on Sunday.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti's injury problems have eased during the break but, although combative midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is back from his injury lay off, he is suspended against the Calabrians.

Third-placed Palermo, who trail Inter by 13 points, are at home to seventh-placed Udinese.