Serie A - Team news: Eto'o faces competition

Reuters - Fri, 05 Mar 16:05:00 2010

Samuel Eto'o faces stiff competition from Italy under-21 forward Mario Balotelli for a starting place when leaders Internazionale face Genoa at home on Sunday.

Inter Samuel Eto'o AP/LaPresse - 0

The Cameroon striker's form struggles mean he is no longer guaranteed a start. Balotelli's impressive recent showings, meanwhile, have sparked a media campaign for Marcello Lippi to call him up to Italy's senior team for the World Cup.

Eto'o is still favourite over Balotelli to partner Diego Milito in attack this weekend, although Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport put the probability at just 55-45 per cent in his favour.

Inter defenders Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba and midfielder Sulley Muntari are available after bans.

Esteban Cambiasso is suspended and coach Jose Mourinho will serve the second part of a three-match touchline ban for a controversial handcuffs gesture he made in a draw with Sampdoria two weeks ago.

Second-placed Milan, who trail Inter by four points, will be without suspended midfielder Gennaro Gattuso and injured Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato at third-placed Roma on Saturday.

David Beckham could be used in Milan's attacking trident to cover for Pato, who has a thigh strain, as former Roma winger Mancini is not fit either.

Pato may be back for Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg at Manchester United, when Milan need to reverse a 3-2 deficit.

Midfielder Clarence Seedorf is out this weekend with a knock but full back Gianluca Zambrotta is tipped to at least make the bench after a calf injury.

Roma forward Luca Toni has confirmed he is fit to play after being laid off since January with a calf problem and resume his bid to win back his Italy place before the World Cup.

"I'm (training) with the squad, so I can say that I'm OK and I've recovered," said Toni, who joined Roma in the transfer window after falling out of favour at Bayern Munich.

"There are two and a half months to get back to form and I hope to be at the World Cup."

Italy striker Vincenzo Iaquinta is expected to return to Juventus's squad for Saturday's visit to Fiorentina after finally recovering from knee surgery in October.

But the Turin side, outside the Champions League qualification places in fifth after losing 2-0 to fourth-placed Palermo last week, still have a long injury list that includes goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and forward Amauri.

Faltering Fiorentina should have striker Alberto Gilardino back from a knee knock.

Reuters

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