The San Marinese season is entering its final play-off phase, with Floriano Sperindio's SP Tre Fiori determined to defend the title they won last season, though the coach knows his side have not been at their best of late.
Tre Fiori have won just one of their last seven games but still ended top of Group B ahead of SP Libertas and SP Tre Penne, who will all go on to take on the top three sides in Group A – S.S. Pennarossa, SP La Fiorita and S.S. Cosmos – in the end-of-season play-offs. The champions' coach Floriano Sperindio told UEFA.com: "We need to find the right intensity again. We qualified for the play-offs so early and went off the boil in the last part of the regular season."
Group A winners Pennarossa have not reached the play-offs for a while, and club president Massimo Barbieri conceded that they had already accomplished their main mission for the season. "We didn't think about winning our group at all," he told UEFA.com as he sung coach Mario Ortensi's praises. "This is his first season in San Marino, but he brought the team into the race for the title. We are very happy with his work."
The play-offs work on a double-elimination format, with teams bowing out once they have lost two games; first up, the second and third-ranked teams in the two groups meet, with Andrea Del Bianco's La Fiorita up against Tre Penne and Cosmos facing surprise contenders Libertas. Their coach Michele Ceccoli said: "We can use our underdog status to our advantage. We have enough experience to deal with the pressure of the play-offs."
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