Serie A wary after violence, Ronaldo poised

November 22, 2007

MILAN, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Italian domestic action returns this weekend for the first time since soccer violence again rocked the country.

The shooting dead of a Lazio fan by a police officer two weeks ago prompted street riots, the postponement of two Serie A matches and the abandonment of Atalanta against AC Milan when fans tried to smash up a stadium fence.

The abandonment after seven minutes robbed Milan substitute Ronaldo the chance of making his first appearance of the season following a leg injury.

On Sunday the inconsistent European champions visit Cagliari, who reappointed former boss Nedo Sonetti last week.

"Now I am waiting to be in the squad again because I feel in the right condition to play," Ronaldo told his club.

Recent violence means many top-flight matches will be played without away supporters, while restrictions are also in place for the resumption of Serie B and C games after last weekend's matches were postponed as a mark of respect for the dead fan.

There were no Serie A matches last weekend in any case because of Italy's Euro 2008 qualifiers.

The Azzurri's progress to next year's finals after a 2-1 win in Scotland on Saturday has given the Italian game a much-needed boost but the qualifiers have also led to several injury headaches for Serie A bosses.

Champions and leaders Inter Milan host Atalanta at 1930 GMT on Saturday with doubts over defender Cristian Chivu, who missed Romania's qualifier with Albania on Wednesday with a leg injury.

Inter centre back Marco Materazzi could be pushing for a recall though after a two-month layoff with a thigh strain.

AS Roma striker Francesco Totti is a doubt with an ankle knock for the trip to Genoa earlier in the day at 1700 GMT.

Fiorentina, in second, could be without injured Romanian striker Adrian Mutu for the game at struggling Reggina on Sunday at 1400GMT.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini is suspended when his side host Palermo in the late game at 1930 GMT.