Friday, 15 May 2009

Serie A - Week 36: Weekend Preview

Inter President Massimo Moratti expects his players to clinch the Scudetto this weekend.

The Nerazzurri go into Sunday night's game against Siena knowing that a win will see them claim a fourth straight Serie A title.

"I expect a serious, important performance by my players against Siena," Moratti said.

Jose Mourinho's side have collected just one win in their last five games and were held to a 2-2 draw by Chievo last week.

Fortunately for Inter, AC Milan's 1-1 draw against Juventus allowed them to maintain a seven-point advantage over the Rossoneri with just three games remaining.

Inter could end up being declared champions before their match even starts. That would happen if Milan are defeated at Udinese 24 hours earlier.

"I don't expect anything from Milan," said Moratti. "My only interest is for my team to win.

"They have the possibility to do that without needing to rely on the result of others."

The Rossoneri are focused on tightening their grip on second place. Carlo Ancelotti's side are four points clear of Juve but face a mighty task against an Udinese side who have won five consecutive games and are chasing a UEFA Europa League spot.

Third-place Juve entertain Atalanta on Sunday desperate to return to winning ways after failing to do so in their last six games. Claudio Ranieri's men, who will be without their fans at the Stadio Olimpico, will have additional pressure to beat Atalanta because a defeat could see Fiorentina move level with them.

The Viola, who hold Italy's fourth and final UEFA Champions League position, will take on beaten Coppa Italia finalists Sampdoria.

Genoa are just three points adrift of Cesare Prandelli's Fiorentina, so they will be pulling for their city rivals Samp to win. The Grifoni host Chievo desperate to cut their three-point gap to fourth spot.

Roma, who waved goodbye to any hopes of playing in the Champions League after last weekend's 2-2 draw with Cagliari, host Catania in Saturday's early game.

The Giallorossi have collected just two points in their last three games and cannot afford any further setbacks if they want to play in European competition at all next season.

Luciano Spalletti's side are sitting in sixth spot but are just two points ahead of Palermo, and three and four points clear of Udinese and Cagliari respectively.

Regardless of Roma's involvement, there will be at least one Roman team in the inaugural Europa League next campaign.

Lazio beat Sampdoria on penalties on Wednesday to win the Coppa Italia for a fifth time in their history and earn a spot in UEFA's secondary competition.

The Biancoceleste will now be looking to put things right in Serie A when they travel to Palermo on the back of three consecutive league defeats.

Bologna host Lecce in a match that is a true relegation dogfight for both clubs. The Rossoblu are one-point behind Torino who hold the final spot of safety in Serie A, while Lecce sit in penultimate position, two points from safety.

Toro, who were held to a 1-1 home draw by relegation rivals Bologna last week, travel to mid-table Napoli needing a win to move clear of the bottom three.

Things are not looking good for rock-bottom Reggina who could lose their Serie A status on Sunday afternoon. The Calabrians, lost 5-0 loss at Sampdoria last weekend to leave the Amaranto four points from safety, meet Cagliari needing to win to have any chance of staying up.

A home defeat against the islanders, coupled with a win for Torino, will see Reggina's seven-year stay in the top-flight come to an end.

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