New look Salernitana face survival test against Serie A leaders AC Milan

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Milan may be top but in what promises to be a thrilling run in just two points separates the top three.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan took advantage of Inter Milan drawing at fellow title rivals Napoli to move top for the first time in two months last weekend and have had a full week to prepare for their match.

Inter — who are a point off Milan — face Sassuolo off the back of Wednesday’s demoralising 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool, while Napoli, a further point adrift, are at Barcelona in the Europa League on Thursday before playing Cagliari on Monday.

Salernitana’s main worry in terms of countering an attacking threat will come in the shape of Rafael Leao, the 22-year-old Portuguese forward is enjoying a breakthrough campaign and will make his 100th Milan appearance.

He is set to be rewarded with a contract extension until 2026 and a salary bumped up to four million euros ($4.5 million) a season.

Goals in each of his last two games, including the only one against Sampdoria which sent Milan top, have taken his Serie A tally to seven, with four assists.

On Tuesday Salernitana brought in new coach Davide Nicola as they try to extricate themselves from the relegation zone.

It was the latest episode of what has been an eventful first Serie A season in over two decades for the southern club, who had already changed hands to ensure they were not kicked out of the league.

Spurred on by new owner Danilo Iervolino Salernitana brought in 11 players in the January transfer window and then got encouraging draws in consecutive matches with Spezia and Genoa.

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