AC Milan have a chance to seal Serie A title

Updated: 28 April 2011 17:19 IST

AC Milan can end five years of Inter Milan dominance in Serie A and clinch its 18th Italian league title this weekend.


AC Milan can end five years of Inter Milan dominance in Serie A and clinch its 18th Italian league title this weekend.

Depending on how Inter fares at Cesena on Saturday, Milan can seal the trophy with three matches to spare against Bologna at the San Siro on Sunday.

"The most important thing now is to stay focused," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We can see the finish line, but we haven't reached it yet."

Milan holds an eight-point lead over Inter, with Napoli one point further back in third.

Milan is still without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will serve the final game of a three-match ban for insulting a linesman, and fellow striker Alexandre Pato will probably only make it onto the substitutes' bench as he returns from a right thigh injury.

Fortunately for Silvio Berlusconi's club, Robinho and Antonio Cassano have found their form at the right moment and once again appear ready to lead the attack.

A pass from Cassano set up a goal for Robinho in last weekend's 1-0 win over Brescia - Milan's fourth consecutive victory.

"Playing with Cassano isn't difficult, he's got an unbelievable amount of skill and we already played together at Real Madrid," Robinho said.

Bologna still has something to play for, sitting just five points clear of the relegation zone and hoping to secure another season in the top flight.

"The toughest thing now will be playing against Bologna, which seemed saved and now isn't anymore, because I think the quota to avoid relegation has been raised," Allegri said.

If Inter doesn't beat Cesena, Milan can clinch the title with a victory. If Inter loses to Cesena and Napoli doesn't beat Genoa on Saturday, Milan could also clinch with just a draw.

Put more simply, as long as Milan holds a nine-point lead after this weekend's matches it will be crowned champion, since it holds the tiebreaker over both Inter and Napoli.

Put another way, Milan needs just four points in its remaining four matches to clinch, no matter what its rivals do.

Milan also has problems in midfield, though, with Mark van Bommel suspended and Gennaro Gattuso likely out with a strain. However, Massimo Ambrosini and Andrea Pirlo have both returned from lengthy injury layoffs - as Milan's injuries have seemingly been perfectly distributed this season.

"It's great for a manager to work with a group like this. If we win the title it's really going to be because of everyone's input," said Allegri, who is completing his first season in charge after establishing his resume with Cagliari.

Even with the title perhaps just a few days away, Milan is also looking to the future.

Agents for the promising Brazil playmaker Ganso were seen entering Milan's headquarters for discussions with club vice president Adriano Galliani on Wednesday, as were representatives for Schalke forward Jefferson Farfan.

"I hope he can play with us soon," Robinho said last weekend of Ganso.

Galliani has also apparently worked out a deal to keep midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, whose rights are jointly owned by Genoa, plus the upcoming transfer of center back Philippe Mexes from Roma.

Milan has been busy in the market all season long, highlighted by the additions of Ibrahimovic and Robinho in August, and the arrival of Cassano from Sampdoria in January.

Inter, meanwhile, has made very few moves, and only has one legitimate title shot - the Italian Cup - remaining this season after last year's historic treble.

Inter's main goal in the league at this point is holding off Napoli for second place.

"We're going to try to defend our position the best we can, then see where we end up," said Inter president Massimo Moratti, who will eventually have to decide whether to keep manager Leonardo for another season, with the Brazilian not having entirely impressed since replacing Rafa Benitez during the winter break.

In Monday's lone match, fourth-placed Lazio faces Juventus needing a win to hold off Udinese in the race for the final Champions League berth. Udinese is at Fiorentina on Sunday, while sixth-placed Roma, which also still has a shot at fourth, visits already relegated Bari.

Also Sunday, it's: Catania vs. Cagliari; Chievo Verona vs. Lecce; Parma vs. Palermo; and Sampdoria vs. Brescia.

Topics : Football Inter Milan AC Milan
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