Serie A 2012/13: Round 29 – Clubs strive for Europe
Catania have won five of their last seven home fixtures, whilst Udinese have only once won away from home in 2013. Catania are without Ciro Capuano and Nicolas Spolli. Whilst leading scorer Gonzalo Bergessio is a doubt. Udinese are missing a raft of players, including: Mehdi Benatia, Andrea Lazzari and Giampaolo Pinzi. Both teams will look to attack.
Juventus travel to Bologna, facing a home side buoyed by a terrific 1-0 win over Internazionale last weekend. Alberto Gilardino scored a stupendous volley against Inter and will hope to repeat his heroics against Juventus. The Bianconeri on the other hand, are soaring at the top of Serie A and excelling in Europe. Their strike force has come into form at the right time and coach, Antonio Conte, has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.
Siena defeated Palermo 2-1 in round 28, in a massive relegation decider. Now they must claim victory at home to Cagliari to climb the table. Siena haven’t struggled for goals this season, with Innocent Emeghara currently in fine form. But they must improve a defensive record that has seen them fail to keep a clean sheet in their last three games. Cagliari’s fans will relish the chance to forget about the crisis surrounding the Is Arenas. Marco Sau will pose a threat upfront, whilst Federico Casarini will hope to impress in midfield.
AC Milan welcome Palermo to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday afternoon. The Rossoneri suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona midweek and will look to bounce back. Mario Balotelli will start and Mario Yepes is likely to partner Philippe Mexes at centre-back. Coach, Giuseppe Sannino, will take charge of his first match since being reappointed at Palermo. The Italian is all too aware of his side’s perilous situation and must attack Milan. Fabrizio Miccoli could partner Mauro Boselli upfront again.
Fiorentina moved up to fourth in the Serie A table last weekend; only three points behind third placed AC Milan. A victory over Genoa could help strengthen their grip on European qualification. Genoa need a win to help avoid relegation. Alberto Aquilani will return to the midfield, whilst Michele Camporese is ruled out for the remainder of the season. Genoa haven’t won at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in almost four decades and are without Matuzalem and Thomas Manfredi; both injured.
Sampdoria host Internazionale at the Comunale Luigi Ferraris on Sunday evening. Sampdoria haven’t lost at home since a 1-0 defeat to Lazio last December; striker Mauro Icardi has been central to their form, scoring nine goals in 22 league games. Whilst Andrea Poli as shone in midfield. Inter meanwhile, seem to lurch from one match to the next. They suffered a humiliating 1-0 loss to Bologna in round 28 and have only one away win to their name in 2013. Andrea Ranocchia should start, despite undergoing surgery on a broken nose earlier this week. Antonio Cassano should link with Rodrigo Palacio in attack.
Lazio travel to face Torino, a fixture between two sides struggling for form. Lazio spurned several chances in their defeat to Fiorentina last week and Miroslav Klose’s prolonged absence is noticeable. Hernanes is suspended for this clash, but Antonio Candreva’s return is a significant bonus. Torino’s form has been erratic and they’ve only won once in their last five games. Coach Giampiero Ventura will insist on an improved defensive display, having shipped four goals against Parma in round 28.
Bottom placed Pescara are looking to defeat Chievo Verona to restore some pride. Pescara’s woeful form has seen them fail to win since a 2-0 win away to Fiorentina in January. Chievo dealt Napoli a bloody nose last weekend, winning 2-0. Pescara are missing a string of players through injury; including Marco Capuano and Francesco Modesto amongst others. Francesco Acerbi is a serious doubt for Chievo, having picked up a knock. But they will hope Cyril Théréau can fire them to victory.
In form Roma play Parma at the Stadio Olimpico in another late kick-off this Sunday. The Giallorossi have improved remarkably since coach, Aurelio Andreazzoli replaced Zdenek Zeman at the helm. They are unbeaten in four games and have climbed up to seventh in the table. Francesco Totti will lead their attack, hoping to edge closer to the all-time Serie A scorer record. Parma finally won in round 28, crushing Torino 4-1; their first win in nine games. Roberto Donadoni has no fresh injury concerns and will look to Italian striker, Amauri, to threaten Roma’s defence.
Finally, Napoli host Atalanta at the Stadio San Paolo. The Neapolitans have fallen into a slump in recent weeks and their Scudetto challenge is all but over. The players went for team bonding session midweek, enjoying a large meal and a Napoli emblazoned cake, to help boost spirits. Edinson Cavani will hope for a change in his fortunes, having failed to find the back of the net since January. Atalanta defeated Pescara 2-1 in round 28, a result which all but ensures their survival. German Denis and Davide Biondini were stand out performers and will hope for a repeat against Napoli.