Inter - Chievo @ Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Serie A Week 25 - 14/3/04 (15.00)
Interís campaign goes from bad to worse, but can they end a run of four consecutive defeats against Chievo?
Alberto Zaccheroni is now under real pressure to deliver the goods or face replacement on the Nerazzurri bench. There are even reports that Hector Cuper could be drafted back in just five months after he was sacked for less disastrous results than these.
The tactician faces a real nightmare after the 4-1 demolition at Roma, as Cristiano Zanetti, Thomas Helveg, Francisco Farinos and Ivan Cordoba will all be suspended for this match. To make matters worse, Francesco Coco, Matias Almeyda, Carlos Gamarra, Emre, Marco Materazzi and Dejan Stankovic are still sidelined.
Alvaro Recoba returns from his one-match ban, but if recent decisions are anything to go by he will not be guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven. Kily Gonzalez was given the nod last Sunday and should again partner Christian Vieri and Adriano. The emergency situation could force Zac back into using a 4-4-2 system with Giovanni Pasquale and Javier Zanetti picking up the fullback positions. Vieri will be one to watch, as he has always netted against Chievo with five goals in four meetings.
The odds suggest that Inter should end this extraordinary run of results, especially as Chievo are also struggling in 2004, but their history at the San Siro is enough to get those Donkeys Flying high with optimism. Gigi Del Neriís first ever trip here was a 2-1 victory in 2001, followed by a very close defeat by the same scoreline a year later.
They have lost some of their giant-killing mystique this season, but it should be noted that Chievoís form away from home is their greatest asset with 17 of their total 30 points picked up on their travels. The 4-4-2 system has a solid midfield, including Nerazzurri transfer target and Italian international Simone Perrotta, while Andrea Barzagli is a real danger in the air on set-pieces. Goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani remains sidelined with an injury, so Giorgio Frezzolini should again stand between the posts.
Inter (probable): Toldo; J Zanetti, Adani, Cannavaro, Pasquale; van der Meyde, Lamouchi, Okan, Kily Gonzalez; Vieri, Adriano
Chievo (probable): Frezzolini; Moro, Barzagli, DíAnna, Lanna; Semioli, Perrotta, Baronio, Santana; Pellissier, Amauri