Previews: Pirlo plays down Milan title hopes

ROME - Brief news ahead of this weekend's matches in Serie A:

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has played down third-placed AC Milan's chances of closing a three-point gap on leaders Inter Milan to win the Serie A title.

"Now there are six matches to play and we will try to win them," Pirlo told Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. "But three points are not a small number to make up."

Milan will again be without many injured players for Sunday's home game against Catania, including centre-back Alessandro Nesta and Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato.

AS Roma, who are one point behind Inter in second, hope to be at full strength for Sunday's home match against relegation-threatened Atalanta.

There is some doubt about Brazil centre-back Juan's fitness after he pulled up in training with a thigh knock.

Third-bottom Atalanta, who have boosted their survival hopes by winning three of their last four games, visit Roma without suspended duo Tiberio Guarente and Federico Peluso and several injured players.

Inter will be able to call on Samuel Eto'o, Lucio, Maicon and captain Javier Zanetti at Fiorentina on Saturday after they missed last week's 3-0 win over Bologna because of bans.

But 19-year-old full-back Davide Santon looks likely to have a spell on the sidelines after the club said he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday.

Midfielder Thiago Motta and reserve goalkeeper Francesco Toldo are doubts after suffering leg muscle strains training on CSKA Moscow's artificial pitch before Tuesday's 1-0 win that sent Inter through to the Champions League semis.

Juventus, who are three points outside the Champions League qualification zone in seventh after a miserable run, cannot field suspended midfielder Mohamed Sissoko against Cagliari at home on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is tipped to return from six weeks out with a thigh problem and defender Giorgio Chiellini should be back from injury too.

Antonio Candreva is expected to be used in the hole behind the strikers, with playmaker Diego unlikely to be fit.

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