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July 2 2022 8:15 PM ˚
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AC Milan, Inter Milan to battle for the Serie A title

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AC Milan’s French defender Theo Hernandez (top) celebrates with AC Milan’s Portuguese forward Rafael Leao a goal during the Italian Serie A football match. (Photo: AFP)
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AMMAN — We have not seen a similar title race in years. At least in Italy, that is.

This year’s champion in Italy will be crowned on the final matchday, as the giants of the city of Milan battle it out in their final, season-defining fixtures.اضافة اعلان

AC Milan, the leaders, travel to the region of Reggio Emilia to take on the entertainers Sassuolo, while Inter Milan, who trail Milan by two points, will play host to Sampdoria at their home stadium Giuseppe Meazza in Milan.

The equation is simple. Milan need a draw, just one point, to clinch the title, which would be their first since 2011.

Inter need to win against Sampdoria, and hope that Milan slip up and lose in Reggio Emilia.

Inter’s boss Simone Inzaghi is not losing faith.

“It’s happened before,” Inzaghi told Italian channel DAZN. “I won with Lazio when we were two points behind and Juventus lost to Perugia, so it can happen again.”

The Piacenza-born Inzaghi was referring to that last round in May of 2000, when his team, Lazio, took advantage of Juventus’ loss to Perugia on that infamous rainy day in Umbria, which gave the title to Inzaghi and Lazio.

But this time, standing in the way of a second consecutive Nerazzurri title is not Juventus, but their city rivals, Milan.

Milan did not begin the campaign as one of the favorites to win the scudetto. Their roster and playing squad is not exactly filled with A-listers or superstars who fans tune in to on a weekly basis to be entertained. They are more like pieces of an IKEA closet assembled from a thrift store on the cheap in order to get by for the time being.

But when they are all put together, they gel and mesh and combine to produce a fine piece of an elegant household furniture.

The strikers of the team are on the brink of retirement. Olivier Giroud is 35 years old. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the giant Swede, is 40. As for the other members of the team, they are young and inexperienced, and never faced such a grueling high-octane title race.

This team was never expected to compete for, let alone reach, the final round, needing only a point to win the whole thing.

But as much as we should acknowledge the incredible high feat this Rossoneri side is about to accomplish, we should not forget the person who guides this ship and captains its crew, Stefano Pioli.

This Italian from the gastronomic city of Parma certainly has a taste in choosing the right players to guide this team to glory. His faith in youngsters — Rafael Leao, Sandro Tonali, Fikayo Tomori, and Pierre Kalulu, to name but a few – and his father-like figure have steered his team away from controversy even when, during a few stages of the season, it looked like his team were on the brink of losing it.

It is incredible to think that Milan, before the pandemic struck the world, were seriously thinking of removing Pioli from his post and appoint Ralf Rangnick in his place.

But that didn’t materialize.

What is about to happen is that on Sunday, all Milanisti around the world will be cheering for Pioli, for their young guns and their old strikers to finish the job and bring the scudetto trophy home.

Pioli will then be truly “on fire”.


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