Friday, 18 May 2007

Serie A Wk 37: Numbers game at the bottom

With two rounds of fixtures remaining, any one of eight teams could join already-relegated Ascoli and Messina in Serie B next season.

Livorno take on Torino in a relegation six-pointer at the Stadio Armando Picchi. Both clubs are on 39 points, three clear of the relegation zone and a victory for either side on Sunday afternoon would almost guarantee their place in the top flight next season while the other will go into the final day looking still to safeguard their own Serie A future.

Chievo currently occupy the dreaded third and final relegation slot on 36 points, but they will be confident to get out as they play a home fixture against Ascoli, although the bottom side were buoyed by a 3-2 win over Palermo last weekend.

Reggina, currently just above the relegation zone ahead of Chievo only on goal difference, face a trip to sixth-placed Empoli, who will be guaranteed a place in the UEFA Cup if they pick up a victory at the Stadio Castellani.

Siena, one point above the drop zone, travel to Palermo - now under Francesco Guidolin who was reappointed coach earlier in the week - hoping for a win to allay their own relegation fears and damage the UEFA Cup hopes of the Rosanero.

Cagliari, who are level on points with Siena, will be aiming to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat at Fiorentina when they take on Coppa Italia winners Roma at the Stadio Sant'Elia.

Parma moved two points clear of the relegation zone last week and will look to follow up their 4-1 win over Messina with another positive result against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. Fellow strugglers Catania, who are level on points with Claudio Ranieri's men, travel to Genoa to take on Sampdoria.

In the race for Europe, fifth-placed Fiorentina will secure a place in the UEFA Cup if they manage to claim maximum points away to already-relegated Messina. Atalanta will be hoping to take advantage of any slip-ups made by the Viola, Empoli or Palermo to snatch a UEFA Cup spot when they take on champions Inter in Bergamo.

In the only game having nothing on the outcome of the result, AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is likely to rest several key players against Udinese on Saturday. The game was moved to a day earlier to give Milan an extra day before they travel to Athens for the Champions League final with Liverpool next Wednesday.

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