Friday, 2 May 2008

Serie A Week 36: Weekend Preview

Inter President Massimo Moratti hopes a third straight Serie A title will convince Roberto Mancini to remain as coach for another season.

The Nerazzurri can clinch the Scudetto when they meet city rivals AC Milan at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon.

That game also has huge implications for the Rossoneri, who are battling to achieve a top-four finish in order to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.

Inter's early exit from Europe's elite club competition was immediately followed by a declaration from Mancini that he will leave after this season, although he later backtracked and announced he would remain at the club.

Moratti has repeatedly claimed Mancini will continue to lead Inter, but constant media speculation continues to suggest otherwise.

"For the club and for myself, Mancini's position is certain," said Moratti. "But it depends on what he wants to do and on his decisions. For me he is a winner and the rumours surrounding coaching changes are just created because there always has to be something said about Inter.

"Sunday's game is important for us but I know it is also important for Milan."

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti knows his side must keep fighting to the end, even though the title race could be taken out of their hands at the weekend.

The Giallorossi are six points behind Inter with three games remaining and even victory at Genoa may not be enough to keep the Romans in the title hunt.

An Inter victory will seal the title for the Nerazzurri as they have a better head-to-head record this season.

"We simply have to continue to win and that is all we can do. We know it's very difficult but we just have to do the best we can," Spalletti said.

One team hoping Roma will slip up are third-place Juventus, who still harbour hopes of finishing second as they travel to Tuscany to meet Siena.

Udinese need Roma to win so the Friuli outfit can regain sixth position in the standings. The Bianconeri go into this weekend's clash at Empoli just two points behind Sampdoria, who hold the last UEFA Cup qualifying spot.

Fourth-placed Fiorentina, who cruelly missed out on the UEFA Cup Final after they were beaten on penalties by Glasgow Rangers on Thursday, will be under pressure to win at Cagliari.

The Viola, who currently hold the last Champions League qualifying spot, are just two points clear of Milan. A defeat could see the Rossoneri leapfrog them in the table.

Struggling Lazio entertain Palermo, looking to bounce back from last weekend's humiliating 5-2 defeat at Juventus.

Reggina make the journey to Catania, aiming for their first away win of the campaign in the hope of climbing out of the relegation zone. The Amaranto are level on 33 points with Empoli, who lie fourth from bottom.

Elsewhere, Torino will look to extend their one-point lead over the drop zone when they take on Napoli.

Relegation-threatened Parma take on eighth-placed Genoa, while Livorno, who are three points adrift at the bottom of the table, travel to Bergamo to meet Atalanta.

Source: Sporting Life

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