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Allegri identifies Derby d’Italia as ‘big test’ for Juventus

Sunday’s Serie A programme closes out with a blockbuster clash at Giuseppe Meazza as Inter Milan and Juventus go head-to-head in the 180th top-flight edition of the famous Derby d’Italia.

If it wasn’t for Juve’s 15-point deduction in January, Sunday’s game in Lombardy would’ve had all the makings of a top-four six-pointer, yet the circumstances have changed.

Going into this round, the Turin heavyweights lag a whopping ten points behind fourth-placed AC Milan, while Simone Inzaghi’s men sit comfortably in second.

Fresh from setting up an exciting Europa League quarter-final tie against Sporting Lisbon, the record-time Italian champions return to domestic commitments with a mouth-watering trip to Inter.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri anticipates a ‘wonderful match’ at Meazza as his men aim to complete another Serie A double over the Nerazzurri after a 2-0 home win in the reverse fixture.

“It’s going to be a wonderful match, in front of 70,000 fans – the Derby d’Italia is a fascinating game,” he told the club’s website in his pre-match conference ahead of Sunday’s mammoth encounter.

“Inter are yet to lose on their own patch, so it’s a big test for us. They’re physically strong and good in the air. We have to do our best – it’ll definitely be a tough encounter tomorrow.

“We need to try to come out on top in these contests with direct rivals.

“We’ve lost at Milan, Napoli and Roma, but we’ve beat Lazio and Inter at home and drawn with Roma.

“It’ll be tough to close the gap in the table, but we must remember that on the field we’ve picked up 53 points.”

As the second joint-best home side in Serie A this season, Inter will put Juventus’ European credentials to the test, looking to consolidate their position in the top-four race.

However, Allegri’s men head into proceedings amid a purple patch after winning three consecutive outings in all competitions, including a 2-0 Europa League win at Freiburg on Thursday.

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