Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Inter primed for Serie A celebration

in Serie A 27 Apr 2008

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Inter Milan could wrap up their third straight title on Sunday if they win at home to lowly Caglairi and stuttering AS Roma lose at home to Torino.

Roma had been closing in on Inter over the last couple of months and piling up the pressure but they ruined their good work last weekend with a dismal 1-1 draw at home to then rock-bottom Livorno.

A day later Inter escaped from Torino with a 1-0 victory that was far from deserved but that opened up a six-point gap at the top with just four matches to play.

If Inter were to win Sunday and Roma lose, the champions would have an unassailable nine-point lead with three matches left, their better head-to-head record in the two matches between the pair coming into play.

Inter's players know they are within touching distance of earning the top prize in domestic football.

“Everything still depends on us,” said Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic. “Now we're playing the first championship final at the San Siro against Cagliari, a team that's doing well, the one which is perhaps in the best form of any team over the last three months.”

At the begining of March Cagliari were dedcucted three points for a legal irregularity which at the time left them bottom, six points adrift and nine points from safety.

They seemed dead and buried but have rallied since and having successfully challenged their points deduction, they have now risen to 15th and are five points above the drop zone. They have won four and drawn two of their last seven matches, a better record than Inter over the same period.

Even so, Stankovic is convinced that Inter can no longer be stopped.

“No-one can get in our way. There are another four matches and after Sunday we'll be able to say a little more about the destination of the scudetto,” he added.

What's been particularly impressive from Inter is that they have managed to stay at the top over the last few matches despite top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic being out injured.

Players such as Julio Cruz, Hernan Crespo, David Suazo and even young Italian Mario Balotelli have slipped seamlessly into the first team to keep the nerazzurri on track.

Roma know their chances have almost disappeared and they will likely finish up as bridesmaids, as they did a year ago.

To do so they will have to hold off the fast-finishing Juventus, although they have a five-point lead over the Old Lady of Turin and that should be enough to guarantee they move straight into the Champions League group stages next season.

The other race involves the quest for fourth spot and the final Champions League qualifying place.

Fiorentina are in pole position and host one of their direct rivals in Sampdoria. Should La Viola win, Samp's chances will be over.

Fiorentina hold a four point lead over Samp and AC Milan, who travel to Livorno, knowing three wins from their final four matches will see them through.

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