Saturday, 31 May 2008

[Serie B] Week 42 Preview

It is the final day of the season and the promotion train is making its penultimate stop before the play-offs.

First stop, Bologna. The Rossoblu are a point ahead of Lecce and host sixth-placed Pisa at the Renato Dall’Ara. Daniele Arrigoni’s side have the best home record in the League, while their opponents have won as many on their travels as champions Chievo.

It would be finely balanced if Pisa were not so comfortable in the play-offs, neither threatening to drop out of the top six or snatch automatic promotion. They have, however, won their last two and will be looking to take some form into the post-season campaign.

Bologna have the football gods on their side though. Dino Fava, the Felsinei’s inept target man, finally found the net last Sunday after 40 games without a goal. That strike gave Bologna a vital win away to Mantova that keeps Lecce at an arm’s length.

Lecce are the only side that can wrest automatic promotion away from the Felsinei. They, in a twist of fate, face Mantova at Via del Mare and will be hoping the Virgilani turn over like they did against Bologna.

Giuseppe Papadopulo’s men lost 1-0 to Mantova in December. Stefano Fiore got the winner that day, but the Giallorossi should be more worried about Denis Godeas who leads the Capocannoniere charts with 26 goals.

Elsewhere, there is nothing except pride to play for after Avellino, Ravenna and Spezia joined Cesena in Serie C. Fifth placed Brescia travel to the former without a win in three and need a victory to boost morale going into the play-offs.

Albinoleffe committed promotion suicide on Monday when the tiny Bergamaschi club sacked miracle maker Elio Gustinetti. The 53-year-old thought taking a provincial club, formed in 1998, without a stadium, to fourth place, a step away from Serie A, gave him enough capital to criticise Albinoleffe’s President.

He was wrong and Armando Madonna, the club’s youth coach, will take charge of the side against Frosinone and into the play-offs.

Promoted Chievo make the long trip down to Pugliese pretenders Bari. Antonio Conte’s Galletti are touted as contenders for next year’s Cadetto crown and will look at this match as preparation for their assault.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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