The target set at the start of the season of a finish in the top four is drawing closer, and it could be sealed with a victory against Cagliari on Sunday.
MilanLive have examined the possible combinations that could allow Milan to qualify for the Champions League with a game to spare. The games that matter are Genoa-Atalanta on Saturday 15 May, followed at 18:00 CEST by Juventus-Inter and in the evening by the Lazio-Roma derby. On Sunday 16 at 12:30 is Fiorentina-Napoli, while Milan-Cagliari is at 20:45.
Milan will qualify for the Champions League as early as next weekend if…
➤ Milan win and Atalanta win: In this case, even if Juventus were to beat Inter, Milan and Atalanta would retain a three-point gap over the Bianconeri. This would mean avoiding the hypothesis of three teams finishing on the same points and a subsequent mini-league that would see Milan come off worse in all likelihood.
Milan could also lose in Bergamo and be joined by Juve on equal points if they win against Bologna, but the Rossoneri go through on head-to-head with the teams having won a game each but the Rossoneri having a 4-3 aggregate lead.
➤ If Juventus lose to Inter: Milan could qualify early without playing if Juve lose their next game. Even a possible defeat for Atalanta in Genoa would not matter because it would already be impossible for the three teams to finish on equal points. This would also rely on Lazio dropping any points in their last three games, with Roma still to play.
➤ If Napoli draw or lose and Milan win: In this case, even an eventual victory for Juve against Inter would be irrelevant because the Rossoneri would move 4 or 5 points ahead of Napoli one round from the end.
There is a possibility, however, that a victory against Cagliari might not be enough for Pioli’s men. If Milan were to win, Juve and Napoli were to win but Atalanta were to lose, the standings would read: Milan 78; Napoli 76; Juventus and Atalanta 75.
In this case, if Napoli beat Verona and Juventus win in Bologna, Atalanta-Milan would become a real play-off with the Rossoneri forced at least to draw in order to qualify. With a defeat in Bergamo, Milan, Juve and Atalanta could conclude the season on 78 points and the detached classification would condemn the Rossoneri in the calculation of the direct clashes limited to the three teams.