Ahead of the Derby d’Italia in Serie A this evening, it has been noted that Inter and Juventus have not been so far from the top of the table together in 18 years.

As reported in today’s newspaper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, sixth place Inter, and Juventus, languishing in eighth, have rarely found themselves so far off the pace in the battle for the Scudetto together.

With the Nerazzurri 11 points off leaders Napoli, and Juventus a further two points behind, the two clubs are the furthest off the summit since they met in April 2004.

Marcello Lippi’s Juventus side trailed eventual champions AC Milan by nine points when they arrived at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but fell to a 3-2 defeat to Alberto Zaccheroni’s Inter team.

The Nerazzurri had been a mammoth 23 points behind Milan at kick-off and would ultimately scrape into fourth place by the end of the campaign.

It is also reported that neither side can afford to lose the match this evening, as defeat would all but end any hopes of mounting a comeback to catch Napoli.