Friday, 18 April 2008

Serie A Week 34: Weekend Preview

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti admits his side's title hopes depend entirely on leaders Inter.

The capital club entertain rock-bottom Livorno at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday and will be confident of a third consecutive win.

The Giallorossi picked up all three points at Udinese in the last round with an impressive 3-1 victory but remain four points behind Inter.

"The championship is still open with regards to what Inter manage to do," he said.

"They play some teams in the next few games that could prove difficult. However, we must aim to make no mistakes and hope Inter concedes something."

Livorno will also be desperate for the point as a second consecutive defeat - a 2-1 loss to fellow relegation battlers Cagliari - left them at the foot of the Serie A table and two points from safety.

Giancarlo Camolese took over the reigns in October and the Amaranto were on a decent run of form in the weeks before Christmas, but since then have slowly dropped down the table.

Victory would see Roma narrow the gap to just one point ahead of Inter's trip to Torino on Sunday night.

The Nerrazzurri are looking for a third consecutive win but will be wary of the new-coach factor.

Gianni De Biasi returned to the Torino helm on Wednesday after Walter Novellino was sacked following their 3-0 defeat at Genoa last weekend.

Torino's players will be desperate to avoid their third defeat on the trot and impress their new boss.

Saturday's other game sees Fiorentina take on mid-table Palermo as they look to consolidate their bid for Champions League football next season.

La Viola are in fourth place and four points above AC Milan who welcome lowly Reggina to the San Siro on Sunday afternoon.

Sampdoria, level on points with the Rossoneri, are also in the hunt for the last Champions League berth and face a tricky match against European-chasing rivals Udinese, who lie just a point behind them in the standings.

Juventus all but secured their place in Europe's premier competition as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Parma in a rescheduled match on Wednesday and will be even more closer if they triumph at mid-table Atalanta.

Cagliari could be sucked back into the relegation zone if they lose at home to second bottom Empoli. They picked up three vital points in their relegation six-pointer against Livorno last time out to move two points away from danger and know they need to do the same on Sunday.

Elsewhere, fellow strugglers Catania and Parma will be looking to move further away from the drop as they host mid-table Lazio and Napoli respectively. Siena welcome Genoa in the remaining Serie A fixture.

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