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Milan clubs face pursuers in race for Serie A top four places

Milan face Juventus with hopes of securing a Champions League spot. Photo: Isabella Bonotto/AFP

As champions Napoli continue their victory tour at Bologna on Sunday, the remaining important business in Serie A could be wrapped up on the penultimate weekend of the Serie A season.

When Juventus, who started Monday in second place, suffered a double blow in the evening with a 10-point penalty for illicit transfer activity that dropped them to seventh and then a dispiriting 4-1 defeat at Empoli, Lazio inherited second and were guaranteed a top-four finish.

The points deduction also put the two Milan clubs on the brink of securing Champions League places. They can help themselves, and each other, this weekend if they both beat teams that could catch them.

Inter, who won the Coppa Italia on Wednesday and have an eye on the Champions League next final next month, are third and on Saturday host Atalanta who are fifth.

Inter have a five-point edge on Atalanta, with Roma another point back in sixth, so while a victory over Manchester City in Istanbul would qualify them for next season’s competition, they can make sure by locking up a top-four place. A draw on Sunday will be enough.

“We have two league games and then the final in Istanbul for a great end to the season,” said Inter coach Filippo Inzaghi, after his team beat Fiorentina in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday.

AC Milan, who jumped to fourth when Juventus were punished, are two points behind Inter. 

Milan can be caught not only by Atalanta and Roma but by the wounded team they visit on Sunday evening, Juventus.

If Inter do not lose, AC Milan know a victory will be enough even with round to go.

At the bottom, Cremonese and Sampdoria are already down. 

Hellas Verona are in the other relegation spotbut just a point behind Lecce and two behind Spezia. 

All three face mid-table clubs with little to play for. 

If Verona lose to in-form Empoli early on Sunday and Spezia beat visiting Torino on Saturday and Lecce win at Monza later on Sunday, Hellas will be doomed. 

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