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Match Preview: Genoa vs. Inter Milan - The end is near

Just two points separate Inter from Sampdoria and the Europa League, and the Nerazzurri will try to earn three crucial points against Genoa on Saturday to keep their European hopes alive.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Match Facts:

Date: Saturday, May 23, 2015

Time: 2:45pm ET/ 20:45 CET

Venue: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris; Genova, Italy

Even though Genoa won't get the chance to play in the Europa League next season (because they were denied their UEFA license), and Inter are battling with their city rivals of Sampdoria to reserve a place in the same European competition, the Rossoblu will fight tooth and nail to earn the three points this Saturday, because that's who they are: a hard-working team composed of average/good players who are ready to give everything they have for a win.

The home leg, won 3-1 by the Nerazzurri, gave us false hope of a more entertaining second round. Indeed, it was one of the few ups in a season with too many downs. In fact, that win was followed by a scoreless draw against Empoli and a disappointing last-second loss versus Torino (that one still hurts).

I'm not convinced yet that playing the Europa League next season would be a good thing for us, but at the same time I want the team to play at their best every game because that is what they are supposed to do – and what they are paid for. With Genoa out of the competition, Sampdoria is our only obstacle in achieving what could make our season a little less painful.

Even if Inter has won 4 of the last 5 away meetings against Genoa (conceding only 1 goal in the process), nothing should be took for granted with this team. The dumb loss against Juventus last week should have taught us something about that. The Derby d'Italia is always an important match for Inter and the players are under more pressure than any other match in the Serie A, but what happened was inexcusable. Only a focused and forceful performance against Genoa could make us forget the things we saw last week.

Vidic, who scored in the home leg, may miss this match due to lower back pains that prevented him to train this week. And Mancini will probably give Nagatomo a chance as left-back, while Juan Jesus - likely to everyone's chagrin - will regain his old center-back role. The Japanese warrior was subbed in last week against Juve and played 20 convincing minutes, providing energy and that pinch of unpredictability that has always characterized him. The Croatian duo Kovacic-Brozovic along with Medel will have control of the midfield while Hernanes, after missing the Derby d'Italia, will play behind the strikers. All this will send the disappointing Shaqiri back to the bench.

Starting XIs:

Genoa: Perin, Roncaglia, Burdisso, De Maio, Rincon, Tino Costa, Kucka, Edenilson, Bertolacci, Pavoletti, Iago Falque

Inter: Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Nagatomo; Brozovic, Medel, Kovacic; Hernanes; Palacio, Icardi;