Luca Toni counting on help from Fiorentina

Luca Toni has been barraging his former teammates at Fiorentina
with text messages all week. The AS Roma forward is hoping his
former team can beat Inter Milan on Saturday, which would give his
current club the Serie A lead if Roma beats Atalanta a day later.

Inter holds a one-point lead over Roma with six games
remaining. AC Milan, which is only three points back, hosts
Catania.

Toni scored 47 goals for Fiorentina over two seasons before
departing for Bayern Munich in May 2007, then left the German club
on a loan deal to Roma in January and scored the winner when Roma
beat Inter 2-1 two weeks ago.

Fiorentina has had a troublesome season marked by injuries
and a doping suspension for Adrian Mutu and lies in eighth place,
six points out of the final Champions League berth.

Fiorentina will also face Inter in the second leg of the
Italian Cup semifinals on Tuesday, and the Tuscan side is hoping
that Inter is tired after qualifying for the last four of the
Champions League with a midweek win over CSKA Moscow.

“Inter is the best Italian team, and they’ve also showed that
in the Champions League,” Fiorentina playmaker Stevan Jovetic said.
“But we’ll have our fans behind us and that should motivate us.”

Inter needed a late penalty to beat Fiorentina 1-0 at the San
Siro in November, although the team has transformed itself since
then, reeling off five consecutive wins in Europe and maintaining a
slim lead in Serie A.

Roma has improved even more drastically, going 22 matches
without a loss after a tumultuous start to the season that resulted
in Claudio Ranieri taking over for Luciano Spalletti after just two
games.

Roma captain Francesco Totti has returned to the lineup after
a series of injuries, joining a potent attack with Toni and Mirko
Vucinic.

“It’s going to be a game of nerves right down to the end,”
Ranieri said. “Only Inter can lose the championship. We’ve got to
play every game as if it’s our last and hope they slip up at some
point.”

Milan faces a Catania side coming off a 2-0 win over Palermo
in a Sicilian derby.

Milan forward Marco Borriello has returned from an ankle
problem, although now Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has a similar injury and
Filippo Inzaghi has a bruised foot.

Despite injuries to Alessandro Nesta, Kakha Kaladze, Daniele
Bonera and Oguchi Onyewu, Milan has managed to piece together a
solid defense led by Thiago Silva, who trails only midfield
standout Andrea Pirlo for minutes played on the Rossoneri squad.

Thiago Silva is currently pairing in central defense with
Giuseppe Favalli, who stepped in when Nesta was lost to knee
surgery.

“Nesta’s a great player. He helped me a lot and now I miss
him a little. But Favalli has had some great games. He’s 38 years
old and he seems like a kid,” Thiago Silva said. “I came to Milan
to win and I still think we can win the title. We’ve got six games
left and we’ve got to remain focused.”

Struggling Juventus could get a boost if goalkeeper Gianlugi
Buffon returns from a thigh injury against Cagliari, amid
speculation that the Turin side could sell the Italy starter to
Manchester City after the season to begin the club’s overhaul.

Also this weekend, Sampdoria meets Genoa in a derby and
Palermo hosts Chievo Verona as it seeks to hold onto fourth place.

Also, it’s: Napoli vs. Parma; Bologna vs. Lazio; Livorno vs.
Udinese; and Siena vs. Bari.