Serie A, week 30: The race for Europe continues

Claudio Villa

With the scudetto race all but over, and the relegation spots practically decided, the excitement in Serie A centers around who will grab the European positions. Round 30 could prove significant in the race for Europe.

Amidst the recent madness of international friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, it's almost difficult to remember what calcio looks and feels like. What's going on in the table scuffle for the European positions? Has anyone been relegated yet? Who's healthy and who's not?

Read on, and we'll give you a brief review of what's going on in Serie A. Then stay tuned for more in-depth looks in previews and recaps of each individual match. And remember, it's Easter weekend, so no Sunday matches in Italy this round.

Saturday, March 30

all matches at 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET unless otherwise noted

Atalanta - Sampdoria

The hosts have slipped down to 16th, but they're still eight points clear of the drop. Still, a win over Samp -- six slots above but holding only two points more -- would really ease Atalanta's worries about possible relegation. But the odds don't look good: Atalanta haven't beaten any side not in the drop zone since December.

Cagliari - Fiorentina

Cagliari are one of five teams in Serie A with 35 points, so grabbing three would go a long way toward easing residual worries about relegation. Unfortunately they're set to host the Viola, who've won their last three straight and know that a win could put them even with Milan, in third place.

Genoa - Siena

Relegation is still a very real worry for both sides, with Siena in the drop zone and Genoa just one point above. The robur have been doing slightly better in recent weeks, but really, the result is anyone's guess. Most likely they'll each get a point and nothing will change.

Inter Milan - Juventus

Everyone set for the Derby d'Italia? Anyone need reminding of what happened in the reverse fixture? No? Cool. It won't happen again so let's just move on.

Lazio - Catania

Lazio didn't have a Europa League match last week, so it's possible they just might win this time around. They've slipped down to seventh in the table, so if they want European football next season, it might be best to focus on the tournament rather than league play. Meanwhile, if results go their way, Catania could actually manage to slip into those European positions.

AS Roma - Palermo

Of course, Catania's European dreams will likely be blocked by an easy win for Roma. Palermo have more or less accepted their regulation fate, having not won a match since November 24 and slipped all the way into last. Not even Roma should be able to throw this one away.

Parma - Pescara

Like Palermo, the Dolphins have pretty much accepted that they're sunk. So this should be an easy three points for the hosts.

Udinese - Bologna

Have Udinese come to terms with the fact that this season, they won't have the chance to miss out on playing Champions League football by selling their best players before qualifying play begins? Most likely, as the competition this year means they're almost certain to miss out even on Europa. Three points here really means very little for either side.

Chievo Verona - AC Milan (6:30 p.m. local, 1:30 p.m. ET)

If any side can hold off the high-flying rossoneri, it just might be Chievo. The Flying Donkeys managed a win over Napoli two weeks ago and very nearly held Fiorentina to a draw. The hosts don't just play defensive football on the road, so it's quite likely they'll simply sit back and play for the point. However, as their 15th-placed position shows, such a strategy doesn't often work.

Torino - Napoli (9 p.m. local, 4 p.m. ET)

The weekend ends with Napoli trying to maintain their tenuous grip on second place. A loss in Turin, combined with a win for Milan, could see the partenopei fall down to third, disastrous for a side originally thought to be able to challenge for the scudetto.

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