Friday, 14 December 2007

Serie A Week 16: Weekend Preview

Roma travel to Torino on Sunday determined to keep pace with unbeaten leaders Inter.

The Giallorossi go into the encounter inspired by their 1-1 midweek Champions League draw against Manchester United but knowing they must improve if they wish to contend for the Scudetto.

Last weekend's 1-1 draw at Livorno allowed Inter to take a five-point lead at the top of the standings.

"We have to compliment Inter for the great tournament they are playing so far," said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. "But we must persist. Perhaps we should be more practical and determined in certain situations.

"I don't think my players are frustrated, we will fight for the Scudetto until the end."

Roberto Mancini's Inter will be no easy customers for bottom-side Cagliari on Sunday night, with the Nerazzurri having the best attack and defensive line-up in Serie A.

The Sardinian outfit will be relieved that Inter will not have their talisman player Zlatan Ibrahimovic available through suspension.

However, without their top scorer, the Nerazzurri won 1-0 at PSV Eindhoven, courtesy of a Julio Cruz goal.

Lazio host third-place Juventus on Saturday night looking to spark their season into life.

The Biancoceleste waved goodbye to European football on Tuesday after their 3-1 defeat at Real Madrid.

After a dismal group stage in Europe's elite club competition, the Romans, who are 12th in the standings, can finally focus on domestic matters.

In-form Udinese will be hoping Lazio will be successful this weekend as they aim to leapfrog Juve in the standings.

Pasquale Marino's side trail one point behind the Turin giants and will be favourites to clinch three points at Catania.

Fiorentina will be looking to end a run of dismal form when they travel to Genoa to meet Sampdoria.

The Viola have not won a Serie A game since November 3 and, having only managed to collect one point in their last four encounters, the pressure will be on Cesare Prandelli's side.

Sixth-place Atalanta have suffered a huge setback ahead of their home clash against Palermo with their top scorer Cristiano Doni receiving a three-game suspension by the Lega Calcio.

Doni was punished for punching the door of the referee's changing room after last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Juventus.

Elsewhere, Empoli will be desperate to win against out-of-form Genoa to climb out of the drop zone while Siena host Napoli knowing that a slip could see them fall into the relegation spots.

Finally, struggling Reggina travel to Parma looking for their first victory on the road this campaign.

Livorno's home clash with AC Milan was postponed due to the latter's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup Final against Boca Juniors on Sunday morning.

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