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A place in the group stage of the Champions League will be on the line in Monday's Rome derby


ROME — There will be much more than city bragging rights on the line when Roma meets Lazio in the Rome derby on Monday.

With only two rounds remaining in Serie A, the game will likely determine which squad gains direct entry to the lucrative Champions League.

Roma enters in second, one point ahead of Lazio, and also has an easier match the next week at home against Palermo. Lazio finishes at Napoli, which is four points behind Roma and also still in the running for second.

"We have two results out of three available to us but derbies are not just played, they have to be won," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said.

The third-place finisher enters the final playoff round for the group stage of the Champions League.

Juventus already clinched its fourth straight title and added the Italian Cup to its trophy case with a 2-1 win over Lazio in extra time Wednesday. Now, the Bianconeri host Napoli on Saturday and will likely rest several key players as they seek a treble against Barcelona in the Champions League final on June 6.

Also left to be determined is which squads qualify for the Europa League. The fourth- and fifth-place finishers qualify directly for the group phase while the sixth-place team enters the third playoff round on July 30 and Aug. 8.

Currently, it's Napoli in fourth with 63 points, Fiorentina next with 58, Genoa with 56, Sampdoria with 54, Inter Milan with 52 and Torino with 51.

Cagliari, Cesena and Parma have already been mathematically relegated.

Also this weekend, it's: Genoa vs. Inter Milan; Empoli vs. Sampdoria; Cesena vs. Cagliari; Chievo Verona vs. Atalanta; Palermo vs. Fiorentina; Parma vs. Hellas Verona; Udinese vs. Sassuolo; and AC Milan vs. Torino.

Here are a few things to know about this weekend's matches:


Lazio is looking at the positives from the Italian Cup final.

PHOTO: Lazio players pass in front of the cup that will be awarded to Juventus after losing the Italian Cup soccer final match between Lazio and Juventus at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Juventus won 2 - 1. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Lazio players pass in front of the cup that will be awarded to Juventus after losing the Italian Cup soccer final match between Lazio and Juventus at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Juventus won 2 - 1. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The Roman club nearly went ahead when Filip Djordjevic produced a long shot that ricocheted off both posts in the 94th minute and produced an otherwise solid performance until Alessandro Matri's winning goal three minutes later.

"On Monday we have a match that will decide our future and we know we have the ability to win it, we showed that tonight," Lazio coach Stefano Pioli said. "Was this match the turning point for us? No, that will be Monday's game.

"For all that we've shown this year I think Lazio deserves to play in the Champions League but we need to show that," Pioli added. "We need to do well Monday and then again at Napoli."


Roma has won three of its last four matches and will have had more rest than Lazio.

The Giallorossi haven't played since beating Udinese 2-1 on Sunday.

Roma was upset that the derby was moved from Sunday to Monday to give Lazio more rest after the Italian Cup final.

"But we can play Sunday, Monday or Tuesday," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "It doesn't change anything for us. We're going to play to win, even though a draw would be just as good for us."


Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Juve's Italian Cup victory was that it came with the help of some key reserves.

With Alvaro Morata suspended and Fernando Llorente substituted, fourth-choice forward Alessandro Matri scored the winning goal in extra time.

With captain Gianluigi Buffon looking on from the bench, Marco Storari played 120 minutes in goal — a reward for having played in the other Italian Cup matches this season.

"It's a characteristic of this squad to always be ready, even if you're only going to play five or 10 minutes," Matri said. "It's a deserved reward for all the work done during the year."

Napoli enters with speculation swirling over the future of coach Rafa Benitez, with reports of interest from Real Madrid and the English Premier League.

Andrew Dampf can be followed at

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