Roma set on chasing Inter Milan despite setback

March 21st, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by admin  

Milan, March 21 (DPA) Roma’s 3-2 defeat in a high-voltage city derby against Lazio has not been enough to blunt their pursuit of football’s Serie A front-runners Inter Milan. With nine games left, defending champions Inter lead on 68 points after a 1-1 draw at Genoa. They play a classic match with guests Juventus Saturday, while Roma are at home to lowly Empoli.

“Beside Inter’s draw, the main thing is that the team always plays to win,” Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said.

“We will keep fighting because we have already shown that we can achieve impossible things. For me, the title race is still open. We will try to diminish our deficit.

“But we also have the Champions League and the Italian Cup. We must always play with our mentality, without losing morale,” he added.

Inter, also still vying for the Italian Cup, struggled in Genoa, largely due to the first-half dismissal of the young Portuguese Pele - the team’s 10th red card this season.

“Of course, it could have been a worse day,” midfield mainstay Esteban Cambiasso said. “In the end we managed to draw. Considering the other (Roma’s) result, I think it went well.”

Third-placed Juventus trail with a wide deficit and seem to have lost their early season grit. In midweek they were far from shining in a scoreless draw at Empoli.

Good football is expected in Florence, where Fiorentina, who lost 2-0 at Napoli, look to bounce back against in-form Lazio.

Struggling giants AC Milan lost 2-1 at home to Sampdoria, remaining five points from Fiorentina in the race for the fourth available Champions League berth.

Torino welcome the Devils looking to steer clear of troubles after a 1-0 home defeat to Udinese, who take on beleaguered Livorno.

Napoli are safe at mid-table as they welcome Reggina, lying second-last next to Empoli, while Palermo take on Genoa, Atalanta welcome lowly Catania in Bergamo and Siena face off with Parma.

Sampdoria host Sardinia side Cagliari, who notched three wins from their last four outings, but remain last also due to a three-point penalty they appealed.

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