Juventus inspired by Italian Cup win over AC Milan

ANDREW DAMPF AP Sports Writer Published:

ROME (AP) -- Juventus received an inspirational boost by eliminating AC Milan from the Italian Cup. Now the aim is to erase a four-point deficit against the same squad in Serie A.

Juventus hosts struggling Inter Milan on Sunday in a match known as Italy's Derby, a day after Milan has to contend with a Roma team coming off two consecutive victories.

"No objective should be spared. We've got everything we need to win and we're going to battle down to the last bead of sweat to do so," said Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus' 37-year-old captain, who made a rare start in his final season with the Turin club and scored against Milan on Tuesday.

Juventus remains unbeaten with 14 wins and 14 draws in the league and also holds the tiebreaker over Milan, with a win and a draw head-to-head.

"We've got to win match by match to stay within striking distance," said Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who has been a large source of Juve's success after transferring from Milan in the offseason.

Inter, meanwhile, is in crisis after following up its elimination from the Champions League by Marseille with a 0-0 draw at home with Atalanta.

There have been calls to fire coach Claudio Ranieri, but Inter President Massimo Moratti appears intent to keep him -- at least until the end of the season.

"There are still many matches remaining in the league and we shouldn't lie down," Moratti said. "All we need is one victory and everything will be calm again."

Inter is even with Catania in seventh place, 19 points behind Milan, and is at risk of missing out on Europe for next season.

Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder is slated to miss another match with a right thigh muscle injury, although Dejan Stankovic and Cristian Chivu are preparing to return.

Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng is also ready to return from injury, although likely won't start against Roma, while Brazil striker Robinho probably won't return until next week's opening leg against Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.

"The Italian Cup is gone and for now our focus is on a very difficult match with Roma," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. "We've got to try and maintain the four-point advantage."

Still, it might be difficult for Milan to focus with the difficult match against European champion Barcelona looming.

Over the last few weeks, Roma has joined a four-way battle for third place for the final Champions League berth. Lazio is currently third, with a one-point advantage over Napoli and Udinese, with Roma four points back.

Napoli beat Siena 2-0 Wednesday to set up an Italian Cup final with Juventus, as the southern club chases its first title in more than 20 years -- since Diego Maradona led the team to the 1990 Italian Super Cup title.

Napoli now hosts Catania, another southern club that is finding success.

Coached by former Roma forward Vincenzo Montella, Catania's squad is filled with 14 Argentines, although it was Italian defender Nicola Legrottaglie who scored a late goal in a 1-0 win over Lazio last weekend.

Lazio hosts Cagliari on Sunday, while Udinese visits Palermo on Saturday still fuming over giving up a two-goal lead to Napoli last week.

Also Sunday, it's: Atalanta vs. Bologna; Cesena vs. Parma; Chievo Verona vs. Siena; Genoa vs. Fiorentina; and Novara vs. Lecce.