Inter and Roma ready to open Serie A gap

December 3, 2007

MILAN, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Leaders Inter Milan and second-placed AS Roma can break away from the pack on Wednesday if they win their games in hand at home to Lazio and Cagliari respectively.

The two matches were postponed following the shooting of a Lazio fan by a policeman at a service station on November 11.

Champions Inter, undefeated in the league this term, top Serie A on 31 points with Roma three behind and Juventus third on 26 points having played a game more.

Inter were ruthless in their 2-0 win at fifth-placed Fiorentina on Sunday but lost midfielder Olivier Dacourt to a knee injury and he is now a big doubt for the match against struggling Lazio.

The Rome club, who unlike Inter and Roma are in danger of not reaching the Champions league last 16, drew 1-1 at lowly Siena on Sunday with 43-year-old goalkeeper Marco Ballotta dropping the ball for Siena's equaliser.

A 2-1 win over high-flying Udinese, who were reduced to nine men in the second half, propelled Roma into second after Juve's 0-0 draw at AC Milan on Saturday.

Roma striker Francesco Totti, an unused substitute against Udinese, looks likely to feature against Cagliari following more than a month out with a foot problem.

Cagliari drew 0-0 with Livorno on Sunday to remain third from bottom.

On Thursday, Juventus visit Empoli in the first leg of the Italian Cup last 16 with other fixtures in the round spread across December.

Forward Alessandro Del Piero, benched for their last two outings, may be handed a start in the lesser competition with his importance to Juve continuing to ebb away.

The second legs are due to take place on Jan. 16.