Lazio vs Bologna preview - Ballardini set for Bologna farewell

Posted Saturday, May 17, 2014 by PA

Sunday's match at Lazio will be Davide Ballardini's last in charge of Bologna.

The 50-year-old's contract ends this summer and he will not be offered an extension.

Ballardini, who replaced sacked Stefano Pioli at the helm in January, was unable to steer Bologna to safety.

The Rossoblu outfit fell to a 2-1 defeat against Catania last weekend to drop into the second tier for the first time in six years.

"I certainly didn't expect the season to end like this," Ballardini said.

"It has been a gradual decline to the relegation zone.

"We still had our chances to defend our Serie A status heading into the game against Catania but we made too many mistakes. My players are mortified."

Last weekend's defeat was Bologna's third in four league games, and with just five wins collected all season the Rossoblu have done little to defend their top-flight status.

Bologna have the worst scoring record in the competition having netted just 28 times in 37 games.

"It has been a negative year for our strikers," Ballardini said.

"In the end, it has been a combination of factors that have resulted in the team being relegated."

Bologna could salvage a little pride by climbing above Catania to finish 18th.

They are level on 29 points with Catania, who host Atalanta on Sunday.

Lazio are looking to end the campaign with a win at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.

The Biancoceleste's hopes of playing in Europe next season ended with a 4-1 defeat at Inter Milan last time out.

The result left the Romans in 10th place, three points adrift of sixth-place Torino, who hold the last European qualifying spot with one game remaining.

"Our European dream is over," Lazio coach Edy Reja said. "But it was always going to be tough to finish in the top six for us.

"It is vital to end the season well in order to be able to start a new campaign with the right mentality."

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