Kick-Off: Sunday, May 31 15:00 CET. Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence.
The last match of the league is also the most important one for Milan and Fiorentina. Both sides need to win if they want to finish in the top four of Serie A. This is the match to decide: Which team is going to the Champions League next season for sure as the third and the fourth place will have to go through a preliminary at the end of the summer.
These preliminary are bad and good; good because you already warm up to the season and bad because you train too much and may be very tired during they season. There is no rule, which set that the team that goes through the preliminary will be in the qualifiers, though it does seem unlikely that they would not. Still, strange stuff happened in the past.
For Fiorentina, who are currently in fourth place, the task could not be more straightforward. Due to Milan’s 1-0 home victory earlier this season and superior goal differential, they must defeat the Rossoneri by two goals to finish the campaign when they are in third place.
Fiorentina are full of motivation to win this match, all you need to do is take a look on the main striker which is not anybody else but former Milan’s Alberto Gilardino who spent three years of his life in Milan, he was working hard but the supporters of Milan have not appreciate him as how as he deserved. His leaving was not such a surprise and he blooming in the purple uniform was expected. Gilardino will try to revenge for what they have done to him, Milan should worry about him.
The Romanian striker Adrian Mutu is suffering from injury, now Gilardino need to take guarantee and lead Fiorentina to the winning. As I said he need to score double and he can do it. The Viola don’t need this win as much as Milan do for get a Champions League spot, for that the Rossoneri will play with the best player they can afford.
A win in the match to Milan in not total necessary, a draw can make the work too as they will secure the third place with it. Less than that could be awful to the club and to the fan. Following the 1-1 against Juventus on May 10, the Rossoneri Scudetto dreams been fall apart. Since then Milan have not won even one game as last week a fascinating game at home against Roma left me with wide open mouth when I saw 3-2 to the visitors. And two weeks ago the 2-1 loss away to Udinese.
Milan have to win this game while they took only one points in the last three, which makes it even harder. Maybe they do not have to win because a spot in Champions next season is already theirs for 99% but they need to win for someone, someone who is very special.
This match is the final in two levels: first, this is the last match of Serie A season 2008/2009. Secondly, this is the last much in a great career of one great defender; this is the last match of Paolo Maldini. After Paolo taste bad San Siro last week in his last home fixture, now it is the final away fixture of him, forever and he would like to end his career with sweet taste in his month.
The captain is a real idol and carried the team ever since he became to the captain. Some Milan’s says there is only one captain in the history and the others not counts, in a surprising way, this man is not Maldini as in the end of the match against Roma, few people handed up their sign which: Franco Baresi is the only captain or something like that.
He has represented the club of Milano with honor and esteem since day one, all the way back in 1985. He obtain everything and saw everything. All his life were with Milan but it got to end someday, and too bad it is after the match of Sunday. Maldini earn many titles with Milan and became to one of the greatest defenders in the history of football. ‘Paoloinho’ has been the one constant in the squad, winning five European cups with three different managers.
Injuries and Suspensions
The Viola are without Emiliano Bonazzoli, Mario Santana and Adrian Mutu through injury. Also Felipe Melo and Dario Dainelli are suspended for this final match. Stevan Jovetic, Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Per Kroldrup risk being suspended for the first match of next season if they get cautioned in this match, but this is the last match of the season so…
In Milan’s side Kakha Kaladze, Marco Borriello and Christian Abbiati are out for the season but this is not important anymore. Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta have returned to training, but they will not play in this match. David Beckham hurt his ankle during training this week, is unfit, and has not recovered in time to be able to play. Defender Daniele Bonera is still suffering from a long-term injury. Massimo Ambrosini, who scored two goals last weekend, is suspended for this match after being sent off. Gianluca Zambrotta faces a suspension should he be cautioned.
Players to Mark
Fiorentina: Alberto Gilardino is very dangerous to the Rossoneri as he want to a closer and beat up his former team with purple uniform. He has extra motivation since Muto cannot play while his team needs to win by two goals against Milan to promise fourth place and into the Champions League preliminary round. Riccardo Montolivo may not played the best season, but he did been called up to Italy team and that could be the thing to give him what he miss.
Milan: Paolo Maldini is just the best defender in Serie A, I think. He plays his last fixture in his wonderful career and he wants to prove that also player in his age can be great. Fiorentina will mark Kaka strongly and the goals must come from the two strikers Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato who could not have find the net in the last matches. Andrea Pirlo had not the best season or match [against Roma] but when all the focus goes to Kaka he can find some space to lead the team.
Fiorentina: 25/04: Fiorentina 4-1 Roma. 03/05: Fiorentina 1-0 Torino. 10/05: Catania 0-2 Fiorentina. 17/05: Fiorentina 1-0 Sampdoria. 24/05: Lecce 1-1 Fiorentina.
Milan: 26/04: Milan 3-0 Palermo. 03/05: Catania 0-2 Milan. 10/05: Milan 1-1 Juventus. 16/05: Udinese 2-1 Milan. 24/05: Milan 2-3 Roma.
WWWWD against WWDLL
Fiorentina have nothing to loss, the fourth spot is already theirs and they are coming in full power ahead this game, won four matches from five while Milan lost the last two. Milan need a winning to promise the second place and the Champions League for sure, have a lot to loss but now, this match is about pride. Milan would do everything for let Maldini to end his career with sweet taste in his mouth.
I say 2-1 to Milan only because Maldini.
By Meytar Zeevi, Rossoneri Blog