Fixture list for top four battle in Serie A

Nine points separate second from seventh with nine games to go in Serie A, we take a look at the fixture list in the top four battle.

Milan are second in Serie A, 11 points behind Inter at the top, but are only nine points above Roma at seventh in the League, meaning the race for the top four places in the League is as tight as ever.

Juventus won an important direct clash with Napoli this week and climbed to third in the table, creating a three-point gap to fifth.

Milan have three direct clashed with teams in the top seven the next months and hope to be in a good position when they travel to Lazio on April 26.

They will play Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on May 9, before Stefano Pioli’s men finish the season with a trip to Bergamo to face Atalanta in a potentially decisive game for either sides.

Juventus face Atalanta already on April 18, before hosting both Milan and Inter in the last month of Serie A 2020-21.

Atalanta have some big weeks coming up in order to secure a place in the Champions League the third consecutive year, facing Fiorentina, Juventus and Roma in their next three games.

May seems a bit easier for the Orobici, but they still have a trip to Sassuolo and the mentioned fixture against Milan in the last round of fixtures.

Napoli arguably have the kindest fixture list, but still have to get through home games against Inter and Lazio in April before mostly facing teams in the bottom half of the table during May.

Both Lazio and Roma have seemed to be struggling to keep up with the top four but are still in with a chance, but have to step up during the run-in.

The Biancocelesti might have a game in hand due to the postponed match against Torino, but the rescheduled date has not been set.

Serie A top seven:

1. Inter – 71
2. Milan – 60
3. Juventus – 59
4. Atalanta – 58
5. Napoli – 56
6. Lazio – 52
7. Roma – 51

Milan’s nine remaining fixtures in Serie A 2020-21:

April 10 – Parma (A)
April 18 – Genoa (H)
April 21 – Sassuolo (H)
April 26 – Lazio (A)
May 1 – Benevento (H)
May 9 – Juventus (A)
May 12 – Torino (A)
May 16 – Cagliari (H)
May 23 – Atalanta (A)

Juventus’ nine remaining fixtures in Serie A 2020-21:

April 11 – Genoa (H)
April 18 – Atalanta (A)
April 21 – Parma (H)
April 25 – Fiorentina (A)
May 2 – Udinese (A)
May 9 – Milan (H)
May 12 – Sassuolo (A)
May 19 – Inter (H)
May 23 – Bologna (A)

Atalanta’s nine remaining games in Serie A 2020-21:

April 11 – Fiorentina (A)
April 18 – Juventus (H)
April 22 – Roma (A)
April 25 – Bologna (H)
May 2 – Sassuolo (A)
May 9 – Parma (A)
May 12 – Benevento (H)
May 16 – Genoa (A)
May 23 – Milan (H)

Napoli’s nine remaining games in Serie A 2020-21:

April 11 – Sampdoria (A)
April 18 – Inter (H)
April 22 – Lazio (H)
April 26 – Torino (A)
May 2 – Cagliari (H)
May 9 – Spezia (A)
May 12 – Udinese (H)
May 16 – Fiorentina (A)
May 23 – Hellas Verona (H)

Lazio’s 10 remaining games in Serie A 2020-21:

N/A – Torino (H)*
April 11 – Hellas Verona (A)
April 18 – Benevento (H)
April 22 – Napoli (A)
April 26 – Milan (H)
May 2 – Genoa (H)
May 9 – Fiorentina (A)
May 12 – Parma (H)
May 16 – Roma (A)
May 23 – Sassuolo (A)
*The date for Lazio-Torino to be confirmed

Roma’s nine remaining fixtures in Serie A 2020-21:

April 11 – Bologna (H)
April 18 – Torino (A)
April 22 – Atalanta (H)
April 25 – Cagliari (A)
May 2 – Sampdoria (A)
May 9 – Crotone (H)
May 12 – Inter (A)
May 16 – Lazio (H)
May 23 – Spezia (A)

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Pau Lopez studied Ajax penalties

Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez reveals he studied Dusan Tadic and that enabled him to save the Ajax penalty. ‘He often hits it centrally.’

That proved to be a turning point in the Europa League quarter-final first leg in Amsterdam, as Ajax had been 1-0 up and could’ve doubled their lead.

Instead, they fought back to win 2-1 with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez strikes.

“I knew that Tadic often hits it centrally. I watch the penalties with Marco Savorani when we prepare for the games. I stayed on the spot and I was lucky this time,” Pau Lopez told Sky Sport Italia.

“I think we did well, although the goal we conceded was avoidable. I am happy with the victory, but it’s not over. The second leg will be very tough and there’s a long way to go yet.”

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Fonseca blasts ‘lies’ around Roma

Paulo Fonseca praised Roma for their reaction in the comeback win away to Ajax, but also slammed the media for ‘incredible lies’ about team bust-ups.

The Europa League quarter-final started badly with two errors gifting Davy Klaassen the opening goal, then Roger Ibanez brought down Dusan Tadic for a penalty, which Pau Lopez saved.

That proved the turning point, as the Giallorossi went on to win 2-1 with a Lorenzo Pellegrini free kick and Roger Ibanez half-volley.

“It was an important victory, especially after all the injury problems that we’ve had,” Fonseca told Sky Sport Italia, having also lost Leonardo Spinazzola tonight.

“Ajax are a great team, as we saw tonight, but the lads put in a wonderful performance. Qualification is still open, but winning here was very important.

“I think the team realised this is a tough moment and gave their all, especially after Spinazzola’s injury, as he had been playing so well.

“We were always aware that we could score goals here, the team felt confident even during difficult moments. It’s a big victory.

“It was a match of great intensity and tension, but we did what we prepared.”

Roma again gifted goals by playing out from the back with some costly errors.

“It’s true, the disappointing thing is that we often make it difficult for ourselves. We had controlled Ajax’s attacks and they are one of the best teams in Europe going forward. The important thing was we never let our heads drop, we kept going and reacted.”

Fonseca was asked why Roma seem to do better in the Europa League than in Serie A.

“I don’t like alibis or excuses, but we mustn’t forget that Roma have been in the top four almost the whole season. There was a moment when we lost important players like Veretout, Mkhitaryan or Smalling. It wasn’t easy.”

However, the coach did lose his temper when asked about this week’s reports of another bust-up between the squad and their tactician.

“I have to do my work, I cannot control criticism. What disappoints me is when there are lies and there have been a lot of them.

“I am not Italian, so I don’t understand why Roma, who are the only team representing Italy in Europe this week, should be surrounded by all these incredible lies. At this moment, we all ought to be encouraging and helping the Italian team.

“This week there was all sorts of chaos created with this incredible lie, the idea that the players confronted me and we had some meeting before training. It’s all a lie, it’s not right.

“I cannot control any of that, I can only control my work and that is what I’m doing.”

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Calafiori: ‘I understand ball boy’

Riccardo Calafiori reveals what he thought when an Ajax ball-boy threw the ball at his face. ‘I won’t say I respect him, but I do understand…’

The incident occurred in stoppages in Amsterdam during the Europa League quarter-final, with the Giallorossi winning 2-1.

Calafiori had left behind the first ball thrown, so the second was hurled directly at his face from point-blank range.

“I thought many things at that moment…” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Fortunately, I managed to stay calm. I will say that seeing your opponent waste time in a situation like that would’ve irritated me too.

“I won’t say I respect him, but I do understand…”

Roma fought back from a goal down and saw Pau Lopez parry the Dusan Tadic penalty for a 2-1 victory, through Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez.

Calafiori came on after 28 minutes, when Leonardo Spinazzola picked up a muscular injury.

“It wasn’t easy to come on in this situation, but my teammates helped and it went better in the second half. Seeing the penalty saved gave us an extra boost, and we proved that we are a strong team. You could tell in the locker room that we wanted to win at all costs and we did it.

“This is a united team and we want to go all the way in this competition.”

Calafiori’s career so far has been affected by numerous serious injuries.

“I wasn’t expecting to be out for three months with the same problem. This is football, my main objective now is to just be healthy and available.”

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Mancini: ‘Roma don’t question Fonseca’

Gianluca Mancini insists Roma players didn’t question Paulo Fonseca’s choices but reckons the Giallorossi ‘must improve.’

The Giallorossi face Ajax away in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals tomorrow.

“We knew from the very beginning this would be a complicated season. We play every three days. We need to be good at recovering physically and mentally. I feel well, I am 25, and I am doing the best job in the world,” Mancini said at a press conference.

There have been rumours some Roma players questioned Fonseca’s choices after their draw at Sassuolo, but Roma denied it.

“I’ve heard these rumours too, but these things have been said to create trouble for us,” Mancini insisted.

“We don’t question the coach’s choices. When we play once a week, we go at a higher pace, but playing every three days, we train with the games.

“We know we can do better. We know we can improve, especially defensively,” the former Atalanta added.

“We speak about that with the coach. We analyse our mistakes. We have the tenth defence in Serie A, and we are unhappy about that.

“We have important players and we are aware of it. We’ll try to improve starting from tomorrow.”

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