MILAN (Reuters) - Udinese and Lazio are fighting until the final minute of the Serie A season to try to grab the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot against two teams who will be in a jolly mood on Sunday.
Udinese host an AC Milan side (1845 GMT) still basking in the glory of their first title since 2004 and, although their scudetto was already assured last weekend, they still thumped Cagliari 4-1.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin, whose team lead Lazio by two points heading into the final day, is well aware Milan will not be taking the game lightly — especially with Andrea Pirlo wanting to go out on a high in his final Rossoneri appearance.
“Sunday we will be ready to scale our toughest obstacle, we meet a Milan team that is the best side of all, the strongest,” he told reporters.
“Of course we are in good form and we are trying our best to attack the Italian champions but nothing has been achieved yet.”
Lazio, relegation candidates last term and best placed for fourth for much of the season before Udinese’s late burst, travel to Lecce on Sunday and will find themselves in the middle of a survival party.
The southerners secured their position in the top flight last weekend after a 2-0 win at already relegated derby rivals Bari helped send Sampdoria down instead.
Lazio must hope celebrating Lecce do not have their mind fully on the game.
‘We deserve fourth spot because we have always been among the top four, then we have dropped back in the last three games and now I hope the team does everything to beat lecce, as long as Milan can defeat Udinese,” Lazio owner Claudio Lotito said.
“Maybe we have missed a bit of experience in managing certain moments.”
With the three relegation berths (Bari, Brescia, Sampdoria) and the three automatic Champions League qualifiers (Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli) decided, the only other issues other than fourth spot to be sorted out are the Europa League places.
The team who misses out on fourth will head into Europe’s second tier competition along with Palermo, who qualify because they meet Inter in the Italian Cup final on May 29.
That leaves sixth spot as the last Europa League place up for grabs and AS Roma are the big favourites to land it.
The Romans, who host devastated Samp on Sunday with interim coach Vincenzo Montella set for probably his final game in charge, are three points ahead of Juventus but have a worse head-to-head record in case they finish level on points.
Juve, who media reports say will sack coach Luigi Del Neri after the game whatever the result, host Napoli.