The Milan rivalry is hotting up after Inter Milan’s defeat by Napoli left them in a fight with AC Milan and two other sides for the remaining two top-four places.
The two clubs in Italy’s second city sit fourth and fifth in the table with one game remaining, and third-placed Atalanta looking likely to stop one of them from reaching next season’s Champions League.
Inter could have sealed their Champions League spot on Sunday, but were soundly beaten 4-1 at confirmed runners-up Napoli, with only a late penalty from Mauro Icardi – who earlier in the weekend rubbished rumours he will leave the club with whom he has grown an increasingly fractious relationship.
Both Milan sides could qualify if they win on the final day and Atalanta drop points at home to 10th-placed Sassuolo, while Roma in sixth could still mathematically sneak fourth to leave Milan without a club in the Champions League altogether.
Atalanta are enjoying another superb season as they look to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history, after missing out despite finishing fourth in 2016/17, and kept their fate in their own hands with a 1-1 draw at champions Juventus.
Even that result had an element of bittersweet for Gian Piero Gasperini’s men however, as the visitors took a first-half lead through Josip Ilicic, but Mario Mandzukic slid in from an almost impossible angle to equalise off the far post with 10 minutes to go and spare Massimiliano Allegri defeat in his final home game at the helm.
That result leaves Atalanta ahead of Inter on goal difference (with the pair level on head-to-head) and a point clear of fifth-placed AC Milan, who wrapped up a third victory in a row by beating Frosinone 2-1, but a final-day victory over Sassuolo will see Atalanta through.
Of the other sides in the fight for Champions League qualification going into the final day, Inter will host Empoli – with the visitors needing a result to ensure they avoid relegation – and Milan travel to 11th-placed SPAL.
Roma, who drew 0-0 at Sassuolo on Saturday and host Parma next weekend, will need both Inter and AC Milan to lose on the final day while also hoping they can make up a six-goal deficit on the former if they are to sneak ahead of them into fourth.
Gattuso bites back at sacking rumours
AC Milan head coach Gennaro Gattuso addressed rumours about his future after their win over Frosinone, confirming he hoped to remain at the San Siro but leaving the ball in the club’s court over whether to keep him at the helm.
He said: “In my view, there has been a lot of chatter and I’ve been considered on the way out since pre-season. The table talks, look over the last six years at how many points Milan earned and look where we are now.
Source: Read Full Article