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Juve Does Scudetto Race a Favor

"Everything left to play for," the Corriere dello Sport's Alessandro Vocalelli declared after Juventus beat Inter Milan, 2-1, to cut Inter's lead over AS Roma to four points. Earlier in the day, Roma did its part, scraping past relegation-fighter Empoli by the same score with just 10 men.

But Juventus really Roma the bigger favor, which Coach Claudio Ranieri acknowledged after the match. "Now you can't say we've wronged anybody," the Italian tactician remarked, cheerfully alluding to the fact that Juve had now beaten both Inter and Roma away from home. The Bianconeri might not have wronged anybody, but linesman Nicola Andrea Nicoletti certainly wronged Inter, as Mauro Camoranesi was clearly offside when he received the ball on the first goal. However, Juve's second pure class: Alessandro Del Piero fed a looping, indefensible pass to the onrushing David Trezeguet, who dispatched his volley just inside Julio Cesar's near post. As a side note, Inter's Cesar and Juve's Del Piero were both excellent; most of the Brazilian's best saves came from moves either started or ended by Del Piero, who matched Gaetano Scirea's record of 552 appearances for Juventus on the day.

Will a fine performance against Italy's finest team be enough for to earn Del Piero a recall to the Italian national team? The Guardian's Paolo Baldini doesn't seem to think so. The Italian striker, who's been around since Euro '96, "has shone only intermittently on the international stage," says Baldini, scoring 27 goals in 85 appearances for the national team.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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