Friday, 8 June 2007

Serie B Wk 42: Preview

The Cadetti season comes to a complex and compelling climax this Sunday with issues at both ends of the table still hanging in the balance.

Firstly, all eyes will be on the titanic clash at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Genoa (77 points, GD: +24) face Napoli (78 points, GD: +23) in an outright battle for the second automatic promotion place, but there’s a possibility both sides could be celebrating at the end as third place go up without the play-offs if they finish 10 points clear of fourth.

Fourth-placed side Piacenza (67 points, GD: +7) have more than just their own season at stake as they entertain Triestina – the hopes of the entire play-off chasing pack depend on them. They will need at least a draw for the play-offs to take place but a win would guarentee it.

If there are play-offs Genoa or Napoli will be joined by Piacenza, and two of Mantova, Rimini, Brescia and Bologna. The key game in this equation takes place at the Stadio Romeo Neri as Rimini (64 points, GD: +16) play Mantova (64 points, GD: +12). A defeat for either side could mean their play-off spot is taken by either Brescia (64 points, GD: +6), who host Cesena, or Bologna (62 points, GD: +6) who travel to Albinoleffe - both currently outside tho top six.

The struggle to escape Serie C is equally intricate. Crotone and Pescara are already destined to play third tier football next term, but will be joined by two of Arezzo, Verona, Modena, Vicenza, Triestina and Spezia.

Arezzo (42 points, GD: -6) are currently in the final automatic relegation spot and can only get safety via a play-out match. They will need at least a draw when they travel to Treviso but will be hoping that other results go their way. Spezia (43 points, GD: -12), who travel to champions Juventus, and Verona (45 points, GD: -14), who host Bari, will need to pick up resuts or they will be dragged into the final automatic relegation spot.

Modena (46 points, GD: -9), Triestina (47 points, GD: -11) and Vicenza (47 points, GD: -2) are not in danger of direct relegation on Sunday but they could be dragged into the relegation play-out spots if they drop points at home to Frosinone, away to Piacenza and away to Crotone respectively.

There will be a relegation play-out between the 19th and 18th-placed sides if the gap between them is smaller than six points.

[Genoa v Napoli]

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