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Inter aim to extend record-setting run

Inter Milan will aim to extend their record-breaking series of Serie A wins when they host Fiorentina on Sunday.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2007 17:27 IST

Inter Milan will aim to extend their record-breaking series of Serie A wins when they host Fiorentina on Sunday.

Last weekend's 3-1 victory over Torino took Inter past the old mark of 11 wins in a row, set by AS Roma last season, and they will be confident of making it 13 on the trot in the familiar surroundings of the San Siro where they are unbeaten in the league this season.

Roberto Mancini's side are clearly in a different class from the rest of the division, and at the halfway stage of the season hold a nine-point lead over second-placed Roma.

Their step also has an extra swagger since the long-awaited return to form of striker Adriano, who hardly scored in 2006, but finished the year with a Serie A goal against Atalanta and started 2007 by hitting the target again against Torino.

"When Adriano's playing like this, we are almost unbeatable. He is one of the greatest strikers in the world," said Inter defender Douglas Maicon.

Mancini is again expected to start Adriano up front alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday, but made it clear he expected his players to keep focused and not get complacent.

"For the moment we've got nothing to celebrate. If my players wanted to celebrate the record (for consecutive wins), I'd rather they did it at the same time they celebrate winning the title," said Mancini.

Fiorentina are unbeaten in their last nine matches and forced Inter to hang on for a 3-2 win when they two sides met at the start of the season.

But without their leading scorer Adrian Mutu, suspended after picking up a late yellow card in last week's 0-0 draw with Sampdoria, it is difficult to see them upsetting Inter.

AS Roma continue their lonely pursuit of the league leaders at Livorno, where they will be eager to avoid a repeat of last week when they had to settle for a draw after giving away a stoppage-time penalty against Messina.

Third-placed Palermo, who lie a further four points off the pace, face a potentially tricky away trip to face Reggina.

In Rome, Lazio host AC Milan in what is being billed as a showdown for the fourth and final Champions League berth.

Lazio occupy fourth place, level on points with Catania, but Milan have shaken off their poor early-season form and have won their last three league games to rise to ninth, three points behind Lazio.

Milan's attack is finally producing goals. Italy international Alberto Gilardino in particular has been superb recently, scoring five goals in the last four games.

First Published: Jan 18, 2007 17:27 IST