Juventus on verge of title as Roma looks to gatecrash party
MILAN – Agence France-Presse
All-conquering Juventus claimed a fourth consecutive Italian Cup with a 4-0 win over AC Milan in Rome midweek, and needs just a point to add the Scudetto to complete the double for the fourth year in a row.
“The Scudetto’s not ours yet, but we’re on the right track. We’re close,” warned goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon who reached the milestone of 300 clean sheets for Juventus in 655 appearances on May 9.
Roma, in third place, needs just a point to ensure top European football next season as it holds a four-point advantage on fifth-place Inter Milan in the race for the top four with two games to play.
“Playing for a draw isn’t in my make-up,” said Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco. “You go out onto the pitch to win.
“The game could always end in a draw, but I don’t like talking about permutations.
“I can assure you that I will try to convince my players that we need all three points.”
However, if fifth-placed Inter Milan loses on May 12 at home to Sassuolo then the top four will be confirmed for Roma. Lazio, in fourth two points behind Roma, travels to Crotone, which is hovering two points above the drop zone.
Second-placed Napoli travels to Sampdoria with its ambitions now a club points record for the season after practically handing Juventus the title last week with a 2-2 draw against Torino.
Below the leading group, three teams are involved in a battle for the final Europa League spot.
AC Milan, in sixth, had been hoping for a Cup win which would have guaranteed it a place in the Europa League group phase.
Instead Gennaro Gattuso’s side faces a direct clash at European rivals Atalanta as it recovers from its blunders which handed Juventus the Cup.