Saturday, 23 August 2008

Roma and Inter search for early honours

Jose Mourinho will look to kick off his tenure as Inter coach with a trophy as the Nerazzurri meet Roma in the Supercoppa Italia on Sunday night.

Supercoppa ItaliaHaving dominated Serie A for the last two seasons, the clubs are meeting in their third successive Super Cup – Inter came from 3-0 down to win the 2006 curtain-raiser 4-3 while Roma triumphed 1-0 last year – and while Mourinho's presence is a major source of international interest, it is the form of Francesco Totti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic which is of more concern in Italy.

Roma captain Totti is expected to make his first competitive appearance since injuring his knee in April.

"He has made giant steps towards a full recovery," said Giallorossi coach Luciano Spalletti. "We are all very happy with his return even if we have to be patient to see him at his very best."

Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar knows what a fit Totti can do, saying: "He has always scored goals against me in every way – long-range shots, lobs, free-kicks ... "

Inter's Ibrahimovic will also hope to get on the scoresheet at the San Siro as the Mourinho era begins in earnest, having shaken off the long-term knee problem which hampered him at Euro 2008.

"I have played a few games without any particular problems," said the Sweden forward, adding: "We all like to work under Mourinho. Training every day with the ball and doing something different every day is as good as it gets for players."

Inter signed Cristian Chivu from Roma in 2007 and this summer Brazilian winger Amantino Mancini followed the same path.

However, the capital club are sure the signing of Julio Baptista from Real Madrid will give them the edge this time around.

"With Baptista we can finally win the Scudetto," said Brazilian defender Juan.

Sunday's match may show whether that belief is justified.

Source: UEFA

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