Milan host Juve

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ROME, October 29- AC Milan face a test of their title credentials when they host traditional rivals Juventus at the San Siro on Saturday night.Massimiliano Allegri’s side sit second in Serie A, two points behind leaders Lazio and the same distance ahead of reigning champions Inter Milan.

And following Monday’s night’s impressive 2-1 success away to Napoli, there is a real feeling in the red and black half of Milan that they have what it takes to go all the way in the championship race for the first time since 2004.

But in order to do so, they need to prove they can put back-to-back victories together against teams that have the potential to build their own scudetto challenge.

Juventus began the season harbouring their own hopes of winning the title but coach Luigi Delneri was quickly forced to reassess their goals after they were beaten 1-0 at Bari on the opening day of the season and then humbled 3-1 at home by Palermo.

They currently sit five points behind Milan and defeat would leave them already out of touch with one of the main players in the title race.

Juve produced the goods on their last test against a top side when they held Inter to a 0-0 draw, also at the San Siro.

But they have been wildly inconsistent this season and last weekend’s goalless stalemate at Bologna was indicative of their inability to perform consistently.

However, this game will have added spice as it is between arguably the two most successful clubs in Italy.

Juventus have won the most titles with 27 scudetto crowns whilst Milan have the best record of any Italian team in Europe, having lifted the Champions League seven times — more than Inter and Juve put together.

Both sides will be hamstrung by important absences on Saturday, though, with Juve having to do without Serbia winger Milos Krasic after he was banned for two games for winning a penalty against Bologna with a clear dive.

But Milan have been weakened by defensive injuries with full-backs Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini both doubtful.

Centre-back Thiago Silva also looks set to miss out again as well as his Brazilian compatriot Ronaldinho.

One Brazilian who will play is Robinho, who scored in the victory in Naples, and the former Real Madrid and Manchester City forward has no doubts about how important this game is.

"I’ve been told it’s the most important game," he said. "Our mentality is that of a team that wants to win everything. It will be a tough game but we’re working hard to play well."

Robinho has had to get used to a different role recently, with Allegri playing him behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato against Napoli.

"The maximum is playing up front, that’s where I’m used to playing for Brazil," Robinho added.

"If the boss wants me in the three-quarter position, that’s OK, I’m available and it also allows me to start with the ball at my feet.

"We’ve got a great attack at Milan, we’ve got the quality to do well."

In other games, leaders Lazio face arguably their toughest game of the season so far as they travel to Sicily to tackle Palermo, who are looking to bounce back from their worst performance of the campaign last weekend in their defeat at Udinese.

Romania forward Adrian Mutu is also due to make his comeback from a 10-month doping suspension as lowly Fiorentina travel to Catania.

Inter play away to Genoa on Friday night.

Fixtures

Friday (1845GMT):

Genoa v Inter Milan

Saturday:

Roma v Lecce (1600GMT), AC Milan v Juventus (1845GMT)

Sunday (1300GMT unless otherwise stated):

Palermo v Lazio (1030GMT), Bari v Udinese, Brescia v Napoli, Cagliari v Bologna, Cesena v Sampdoria, Parma v Chievo, Catania v Fiorentina (1845GMT)

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