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Title run-in: Inter in the ascendancy

Published: Sunday 7 April 2002
Internazionale FC lead Serie A but AC Chievo Verona could have the final say as others challenge.
Published: Sunday 7 April 2002

Title run-in: Inter in the ascendancy

Internazionale FC lead Serie A but AC Chievo Verona could have the final say as others challenge.

The race for the Serie A title has long since developed into a three-horse race as Internazionale FC, AS Roma and Juventus FC vie for glory, but AC Chievo Verona could yet have the final say.

Chievo hold key to glory
Serie A's newly-promoted surprise package were surprise title challengers at the start of the season, and though a sequence of disappointing result has dissipated their outlandish dreams of grandeur, Chievo may yet decide whether the title ends up in Milan, Rome or Turin. Luigi del Negri's side take on both of the top two sides in the closing weeks of the season, and with Juventus six-points adrift of top spot, they could yet provide the impetus for a remarkable late offensive by Juventus.

Inter in pole position
As it stands, Inter lead the way with 62 points from their 29 games and coach Héctor Cúper could well scoop the championship in his first season in charge if his side can negotiate their way through their final five games without any disasters. The fixture calendar has been kind to the San Siro club, and if they are at their best in the coming weeks they should be more than capable of steering their way to success.

Date with destiny
Starting with a winnable looking home game against Atalanta BC on Sunday 7 April, Inter's final five games continue with a home tie with unpredictable Brescia Calcio before their date with destiny at Chievo's Marc'Antonio Bentegodi stadium. Victory in Verona would leave Inter in a comfortable position, as their following game sees them play at home against Piacenza FC. If their previous four games have gone to plan, their final-day trip to S.S. Lazio could be little more than an opportunity to display their silverware.

Capello faces pressure
Of course, second-placed Roma will have a thing or two to say about that. After the disappointment of bowing out of the UEFA Champions League before the quarter-finals, Roma coach Fabio Capello will be keen to salvage something from his side's season. With five Serie A titles to his name, the veteran coach knows all there is to know about pressure, and with three away games in Roma's final push for glory, he will need to be at his best.

Merciless double-header
Three points adrift of Inter, Roma need Cúper's side to drop points to have any hope of repeating their title triumph of last year, and more importantly, they must be in form for what looks a very tricky run-in. First they travel to doomed AC Venezia before taking on Parma AC at the Olimpico stadium. If they have wrapped up two wins in those games, they may be ready for a merciless double-header which sees them take on Milan AC at the San Siro before hosting kingmakers Chievo. If they manage to stay at least within three points of the leaders, then the final day of the Italian season could see a sensational climax with Capello's side travelling to Torino Calcio while Inter face Roma's city rivals Lazio.

Juventus lie in wait
That, of course, is assuming that Juventus do not have a say in the final destination of the title. If Chievo manage to halt their decline into mid-table and beat Inter and Roma, Marcello Lippi's side could yet make a late pounce for the scudetto. Six points away from top spot, Juventus need the league leaders to lose twice in their last five games to have a hope of pulling off their unlikely coup, and more importantly, they need to win all five of their games. Starting with this weekend's trip to AC Perugia, Juventus go on to play Milan at the Delle Alpi stadium next weekend, and follow that with a visit to Piacenza and a home tie against Brescia Calcio before a last-day trip to Udinese Calcio and possibly a chance at glory.

Last updated: 16/11/12 10.13CET

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