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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Title race going down to the wire

The Scudetto race is still open heading into the penultimate round of Serie A games, with AC Milan going into Sunday's derby at Inter Milan trailing league leaders Juventus by a single point.

The Rossoneri took advantage of Juve's 1-1 draw against Lecce on Wednesday by beating Atalanta 2-0.

"We are really fired up for the derby," AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We could not have asked for a better game, as we are highly motivated.

"If we do well and Juve slip up again, then we can overtake them. The Scudetto is still in Juve's hands, but we believe it is still possible."

However, Milan can expect a battle with Inter looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat in midweek at Parma, their first loss under coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

The result left the Nerazzurri in real danger of missing out on Europe as they are sixth, one point behind Lazio, who hold the last Europa League qualifying spot.

Unbeaten Juventus travel to Trieste to face Cagliari.

"If in the last two games we do well, then we will win the title," Juve coach Antonio Conte said.

Napoli must win at Bologna on Sunday in order to hold onto third spot, the last Champions League qualifying place.

The Naples outfit are level on 58 points with Udinese, who host relegation-threatened Genoa.

Lazio are two points behind Napoli and travel to Bergamo needing a win against Atalanta to remain in the race for Europe's elite club competition.

Roma, who dropped out of contention for third place after taking just two points in their last four games, are at home to Catania.

Parma have won five straight heading into Sunday's game at Siena. After a poor start to the year, the Gialloblu have turned their fortunes around.

Meanwhile, Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at Napoli extended Palermo's winless run to six games and dropped them to 16th place, although they are already safe from relegation. They host Chievo on Sunday.

Fiorentina must put a controversial 48 hours behind them as they go in search of a point at fellow relegation candidates Lecce to ensure Serie A safety.

The Viola sacked coach Delio Rossi after he attacked midfielderr Adem Ljajic in the dugout during Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Novara.

Rossi reacted following a verbal disagreement with Ljajic and will be replaced by team manager Vincenzo Guerini.

Fiorentina are in 15th place, six points clear of third-bottom Lecce, who are 18th. Lecce hold a better head-to-head record with Fiorentina.

The city of Novara will host its last Serie A match for the foreseeable future when bottom side Cesena come to town on Sunday.

Novara and Cesena are already doomed to play in the second division next season after their dismal campaigns.




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