Friday, 25 April 2008

Serie A Week 35: Weekend Preview

Inter will go for a third consecutive Scudetto when they take on Cagliari at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon.

The Nerazzurri are six points clear of nearest challengers Roma and, thanks to their better head-to-head record this season, will be crowned champions if they win and the Giallorossi lose to Torino.

Inter will again be without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic against a side who have pulled five points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a fine run of form.

Ibrahimovic is back in his native Sweden as he attempts to recover from a knee injury and would miss out should the weekend's games spark title celebrations.

Heading into Sunday's home game against Toro, Roma's injured captain Francesco Totti concedes his team's title hopes have all but disappeared.

The denouement of the Serie A season is being played out amid increasing speculation the Giallorossi could soon be sold.

Any investment would please Totti, who is desperately disappointed at the way things have turned out this season.

"It's very difficult," said Totti, who is sidelined after a knee operation. "The Scudetto is 99% lost. We have four games left to play and a six-point deficit.

"We have to be realistic in life, we made a mistake against Livorno and everything ended there.

"Roma must think of strengthening the squad to be more competitive next season."

Luciano Spalletti's men will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's 1-1 draw against Livorno, but will have half an eye on the San Siro.

A slip by Roma could also benefit third-placed Juventus, who are looking to leapfrog the Giallorossi in the standings in the coming weeks and assure themselves a place in the Champions League.

In-form Juve entertain Lazio this weekend looking to reduce their five-point gap with Roma.

Fiorentina take on Sampdoria at the Stadio Artemio Franchi knowing that anything but a win could see fifth-placed AC Milan revive their Champions League qualifying ambitions.

The Rossoneri, who are four points behind the Viola, travel to Leghorn to meet 18th-place Livorno.

Samp are level on points with Milan and a victory at home would see Walter Mazzarri's side continue their fight of snatching fourth spot.

Udinese will be eager to return to winning ways and back in UEFA Cup contention when they play hosts to Catania. The Friuli outfit have only managed to collect one point in their last three encounters.

Parma meet bottom side Reggina desperate to clinch their first win on the road this campaign and knowing that a defeat would see them drop to the relegation zone.

Empoli will have an added motivation to beat Genoa away from home as they look to climb out of the bottom three this weekend.

Elsewhere, a red-hot Napoli take on Siena looking to clinch their third consecutive triumph and Palermo will have to do without the their top scorer, Amauri, for the clash against Atalanta. The Brazilian forward, who looks certain to depart at the end of the season with Juve the likely destination, serves a one-match ban.

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