Serie A Preview: Siena v Milan
By Football News
Milan can secure their place in next season's UEFA Champions League if they take victory in their final game at relegated Siena.
Massimiliano Allegri's men sit third in the Serie A table, two points ahead of Fiorentina, who play Pescara in their final outing, and know that a slip-up could be catastrophic in their quest to ensure a spot in Europe's top club competition.
Milan head into this one in good form having lost just one of their last six outings in the league, scoring four goals in two of their last four matches.
However, they will have to try to seal a top-three berth without midfielder Sulley Muntari after he was suspended following an altercation with the referee in the 0-0 draw with Roma, the Ghanaian joining the injured pair of Bojan Krkic and Nigel de Jong on the sidelines.
Stephen El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli will undoubtedly be the focus of the Milan attack. The forward pair have scored 27 goals in the league this term and should be confident of adding to that tally against a team that possesses the second-worst defensive record in the division.
Siena's relegation to Serie B was confirmed following their defeat 2-1 defeat to Napoli last Sunday and after a streak of five straight defeats in which they have scored just one goal, morale among Giuseppe Iachini's charges is expected to be low.
They will be missing defender Carlos Matheu and veteran midfielder Simone Vergassola through injury, but do possess a goal threat in Swiss striker Innocent Emeghara, who has found the net seven times in what has been a largely barren season for Iachini's men.
Still the hosts know that they are capable of running Milan close, Allegri's men's 2-1 win back in January was tighter than the San Siro outfit would have liked and, although they are likely to be preparing for life in Serie B already, Siena will be looking to give their home fans something to cheer about at the end of a disappointing campaign.
Milan are rightly the heavy favourites, though, and with the prolific pairing of Balotelli and El Shaarawy both expected to start, the visitors should have more than enough to seal UEFA Champions League qualification.