Juventus needs to beat AC Milan in its final home match of the season on Sunday to maintain its slim hopes of a top-four finish in Serie A after its recent 10-point deduction sent it tumbling down the table.
Juve were docked points on Monday after a new ruling by an Italian football court in a case centred on their transfer dealings dropped them from second to seventh in the table, outside of the European qualification places.
With two matches remaining, Massimiliano Allegri’s side has 59 points and trails fourth-placed Milan by five in the race for the last Champions League spot.
The announcement of the points deduction came shortly before Juventus’s 4-1 defeat at Empoli on Monday.
Allegri acknowledged that the uncertainty over their situation had taken its toll, as it was the second time this season that the club had been docked points, having successfully appealed against a previous penalty.
“When you step onto the field, you have to win once again because we have to catch up once again. Every time we try to make progress, we are pushed back down,” Allegri said.
“The next few days won’t be easy either, because we went out of the Europa League, then had this news 10 minutes before kickoff (against Empoli), while for three months, we’ve had points taken away and given back.
“It’s not justification, but this is, without doubt, an anomalous season for us, and despite it all, the team earned 69 points.”
Allegri will have Juan Cuadrado and Danilo back from suspension for the game against Milan, but Leonardo Bonucci, Mattia De Sciglio and Paul Pogba remain sidelined due to injuries.
Inter Milan is ending its season on a high, having successfully retained its Coppa Italia title with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Wednesday to clinch a second trophy of the campaign after it won the Italian Super Cup in January.
It has a crucial Champions League final to come against Manchester City on June 10 and a win at home against Atalanta on Saturday would secure a top-four finish for it.
Inter had won five league games in a row before last weekend’s loss to champions Napoli, while fifth-placed Atalanta have lost two of their last three.
AS Roma, in sixth place, faces Fiorentina, which will be looking to rebound after its Coppa Italia final defeat.
Roma has failed to win any of its last six league games, drawing four times.
At the bottom of the table, three teams are fighting to avoid finishing in the final relegation place, with Cremonese and Sampdoria already condemned to Serie B.
Three points separate Verona in 18th from Lecce in 16th, with Spezia sandwiched between them, a point ahead of Verona.
Spezia hosts Torino on Saturday, while Lecce travels to Monza on Sunday.
Hellas Verona, which occupies the last relegation spot, is home against Empoli on Sunday with Milan awaiting it at San Siro in the final round of matches.
Lazio has already secured its return to the Champions League for next season, and can take a big step towards cementing second place when it hosts Cremonese on Sunday.
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