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Milan looking to push on from Real win

sports Updated: Oct 23, 2009 16:33 IST

AFP
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AC Milan look to build on their stunning Champions League win at Real Madrid with Sunday's trip to little Chievo representing a perfect opportunity to continue their recent renaissance.

A week ago coach Leonardo expressed his hope that his team's next two games against AS Roma and Real could act as a springboard to a return to something nearer their expected form.

They beat their Italian rivals 2-1 in Serie A and then stunned the only team to have won more European titles than them, 3-2 in Madrid.

But Leonardo will not be getting carried away.

Roma totally outplayed Milan in the first half at the San Siro a week ago and should have led by more than 1-0 at the break and it took a highly controversial penalty to change the flow of the game.

At the Bernabeu, Milan were on the back foot for the majority of the game but were helped out by two uncharacteristic howlers by Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Add to that the fact that Milan have often been a team for the big occasion and those two wins weren't such a big shock.

Milan's problem has often concerned more mundane matters, a category into which this weekend's trip to Verona falls.

The seven-time European champions have already lost to Udinese and FC Zurich while failing to beat Atalanta, Livorno and Bari.

And their scoring problems haven't entirely been solved by the five goals in their last two games given that they had a huge helping hand in three of them.

"Every match is an examination, every Sunday. But now we are going into the next match after two good performances," said centre-back Alessandro Nesta.

"We're going to Verona but we have to be careful because we've not done well against the little teams."

The problem for Milan will be making the mental adjustment from competing in front of more than 80,000 in the Bernabeu in the Champions League to having to roll up their sleeves in front of less than half that in Verona.

"Sunday's match will certainly be a different sort of reality with respect to the Bernabeu," said Andrea Pirlo.

"But likewise there's three points on offer and we have to go into it with the same desire and motivation."

Meanwhile, the top two in Serie A play on Saturday in home matches against teams near the bottom of the table.

Inter Milan host Sicilians Catania while Sampdoria -- two points behind Inter in second -- are at home to Bologna, who changed coaches in midweek, with Franco Colomba replacing Giuseppe Papadopulo.

Third-placed Juventus are away to lowly Siena, who sit second bottom, but have not won in four Serie A games, although their 1-0 home success over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday was their first win in a month in any competition.

Rock-bottom Livorno, who also changed coaches this week with Serse Cosmi replacing Gennaro Ruotolo, travel to Roma.