Rigoni hopes for derby boost for Chievo

Chievo captain Luca Rigoni hopes Saturday's derby against Hellas Verona can mark a turning point in their season and spark a successful bid to avoid the drop.

And Rigoni is off...

The Flying Donkeys go into the encounter at the Marc' Antonio Bentegodi Stadium having lost three of their past four matches.

Last weekend's 3-0 defeat to AC Milan dropped Chievo to 16th place, just two points clear of the relegation zone with six games remaining.

"We are charged up and determined to win the derby," Rigoni said. "We have prepared the game in the best possible way and there is a lot of expectation in Verona.

"We really need this win in order to defend our Serie A status and we will give our all to take three points."

Unlike Chievo, Hellas, who gained promotion to the top flight last summer, have enjoyed a successful campaign.

Andrea Mandorlini's side sits ninth in the standings, 16 points clear of Chievo and can already plan for another season in Serie A.

"Hellas have enjoyed a great campaign," Rigoni said. "They are already safe and we expect a difficult game.

"We will have to keep a close eye on Luca Toni, who is Hellas' biggest weapon.

"Toni has had a great season and we hope we can limit him just as we did earlier this season."

Toni struck twice in last weekend's 3-0 triumph over Genoa that allowed Hellas to halt a four-match losing streak.

The veteran forward is Hellas' top scorer with 15 goals so far.

"I hope I can continue to score," Toni said. "I didn't expect to have such an impact.

"(Former club) Fiorentina had offered me an executive role at the club last summer but I knew that I could still give a contribution on the pitch. "

The last time both sides met back in November, Chievo won 1-0 with a stoppage-time goal from Dejan Lazarevic to end Hellas' perfect record at home.

Chievo coach Eugenio Corini will be without defender Nicolas Frey, who serves his first of a three-match ban this weekend.

Hellas, acting as visitors, will be without defenders Alejandro Gonzalez and Michelangelo Albertazzi, with the former out injured and the latter suspended.



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