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AC Milan and Fiorentina clash in quest Champions League birth

Associated Press
May 07, 2013 at 12:10pm IST

Milan: Although the title has already been secured by Juventus, there is still much to play for at both ends of the Serie A table, with AC Milan and Fiorentina fighting for the final Champions League spot.

Milan is in pole position to finish third and earn a place in the Champions League qualifiers, as it is four points ahead of Fiorentina with three rounds remaining. Milan visits already-relegated Pescara on Wednesday.

Mario Balotelli came to Milan's rescue again on Sunday, with his ninth goal in 10 games helping it to beat Torino 1-0.

Milan and Fiorentina clash in quest for Champions League birth

Milan is in pole position to finish third and earn a place in the Champions League qualifiers.

"With four points advantage over Fiorentina I'm a bit calmer now," Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said. "Now we have a game advantage over Fiorentina, we have to win just one of three to secure third spot. I think third spot was the absolute most we could do after our awful start.

"I think the game against Pescara will be fundamental, it would be a great thing to win there and keep up this gap on Fiorentina and Roma."

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri had two spells at Pescara as a player, and even scored against Fabio Capello's Milan team.

Meanwhile, newly-crowned champion Juventus travels to Atalanta and second-place Napoli visits Bologna, which lost 6-0 to Lazio on Sunday.

Fiorentina goes to struggling Siena in the Tuscan derby, knowing it has to shrug off the disappointment of Saturday's late defeat to Roma.

Siena is desperate for the points to avoid relegation.

"Losing always hurts, but we're already looking to the future," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. "Now we have to think about Wednesday, we have a very important game.

"Looking at how things are, it will be difficult to get into the Champions League, but we will try and get three wins and then we'll see."

Siena has faced an uphill struggle from the start after it began the season with a six-point penalty for its part in a match-fixing scandal.

It is five points off safety and knows defeat could condemn it to Serie B.

"We will honor our season right until the end, looking to get as many points as possible, as we've always said," Siena coach Giuseppe Iachini said. "Without a doubt the penalty affected us, forcing us always to chase. Now we want to turn the page and think about doing our best against Fiorentina."

Palermo is also fighting to avoid the drop and sits just two points ahead of Siena. It hosts Europa League-chasing Udinese.

Genoa occupies the last position of safety after two wins on the trot. It travels to Torino, which has been dragged back into the relegation dogfight and is only a point above its opponent.

Udinese sits a point behind Roma in the battle for a Europa League spot. Roma hosts Chievo Verona on Tuesday.

Lazio travels to Inter Milan with both sides harboring faint hopes of sneaking into the Europa League. Inter is again likely to be without a striker as all of its attackers are injured along with several other players.

Other fixtures include Cagliari vs. Parma and Sampdoria vs. Catania.

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