MILAN May 5 The Asti Spumante is on ice
and the commemorative t-shirts have been printed, all that
remains is for AC Milan to pick up a point at AS Roma on
Saturday to seal a long-awaited scudetto.
A draw would give the Rossoneri a nine-point lead over
second-placed Inter Milan, who could only match their rivals'
tally with wins in the three remaining games starting with a
home match against Fiorentina on Sunday.
As goal difference does not count in Serie A and the
head-to-head record of the two teams is used, Milan can be
crowned champions for the first time since 2004 given they beat
Inter in both fixtures this term.
"You talk about the scudetto only when it is sewn on to the
shirt," an unusually coy club owner Silvio Berlusconi told
Italian television before reverting to his confident self.
"If we succeed, it will be the 27th trophy won under my
ownership. After me, the club president who has won the most
trophies was the great Bernabeu at Real Madrid and the Spaniards
named the stadium of their capital after him..."
Winning the title after such a long wait for a European
giant will make the triumph extra special for Massimiliano
Allegri's side while the fact they are set to end Inter's
five-year stranglehold on the scudetto makes it sweeter for
Inter are also bossed by last season's Milan coach Leonardo,
adding another twist to Italy's championship race.
But taking a point at Roma will not be easy for Milan given
the capital side are just a point behind city rivals Lazio in
the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot which
their new American owners badly crave.
Interim boss Vincenzo Montella is also trying to convince
the board to keep him on with more impressive performances like
last weekend's last-gasp 3-2 win at Bari where captain Francesco
Totti surpassed Roberto Baggio's tally of 205 Serie A goals to
stand fifth on the all-time scoring list.
Counting against Roma are the red cards for violent conduct
which influential midfielders Daniele De Rossi and Simone
Perrotta picked up against Bari and means they will miss the
rest of the campaign.
Another positive for Milan is the return of striker Zlatan
Ibrahimovic from his three-game ban to possibly celebrate the
scudetto while playing in the capital means Italian prime
minister Berlusconi may be able to nip along to game while
taking a break from government business.
If Milan do win or draw, the championship presentation is
not expected to be held at Rome's Stadio Olimpico but instead
they will wait for the San Siro home game against coach
Allegri's former side Cagliari on May 14.
At the other end, second-bottom Brescia need to beat Catania
at home on Sunday to make sure they survive for another weekend
while Sampdoria's city derby with Genoa could be crucial to
their hopes of avoiding the drop.
(Writing by Mark Meadows; Edited by Patrick Johnston; To
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