AC Milan faces Roma in final match of 2010

Published Dec. 16, 2010 12:11 p.m. EST

Already guaranteed of finishing 2010 at the top of the Serie A standings, injury-ravaged AC Milan faces a tough challenge at home against Roma on Saturday.

Milan leads the league with 36 points, six more than Juventus, Napoli and Lazio.

However, Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso and defender Gianluca Zambrotta joined Thiago Silva, Filippo Inzaghi, Alexandre Pato and Mathieu Flamini on the injury list.

Milan coach Massimo Allegri is confident, though, that other players will use the opportunity to make their mark.


Ghana midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng has scored two goals in the last two games since breaking into the team, while Sierra Leone midfielder Rodney Strasser has also played a role despite only being 20 years old.

"Boateng has had time to fit into the team and is doing well, like the rest of them," Allegri said. "Strasser has been a pleasant surprise and showed character. His development will be far quicker than other players of his age because he is part of good squad."

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri has injury problems of his own. He is likely to have to turn to third-choice goalkeeper Doni because of injuries to Julio Sergio and Bogdan Lobont.

Striker Mirko Vucinic is expected to miss the game, while Marco Borriello, who is on loan from Milan, will have to wear a protective mask after injuring his face against Bari.

"The victory would allow us to close the gap and make the championship interesting," Ranieri said. "It is an important match for us because after our poor start we are starting to improve and we are in a confident mood.

"A win would tell everyone that Roma can close the gap."

Juventus will play at Chievo Verona without suspended midfield anchor Felipe Melo. Even so, the Turin club is confident it can extend its unbeaten run of 12 games.

"For sure, we are having an excellent season and reaching second place, level with Lazio and Napoli, is an important step forward," defender Giorgio Chiellini said. "For the moment, Milan is way out in front, but we are happy with what we are doing."

Napoli, meanwhile, is at home to Lecce and will be in a confident mood after reaching the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Edinson Cavani scored in injury time for Napoli to beat Steaua Bucharest 1-0, the ninth goal in Serie A for the Uruguay striker.

"We proved that with heart you can achieve anything," Cavani said. "Going through to the knockout rounds was a very important objective."

Lazio hosts Udinese having slipped to fourth place. Also this weekend, it is: Cesena vs. Cagliari; Bari vs. Palermo; Catania vs. Brescia; Parma vs. Bologna and Sampdoria vs. Genoa.