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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Struggling Parma sack Cuper before final game

MILAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Parma sacked coach Hector Cuper on Monday ahead of next weekend's final game of the season at home to his former club Inter Milan.

The Serie A side said in a statement on their website that youth team coach Andrea Manzo was to take charge of Sunday's big match, where Inter can retain the title with a win and send third-from-bottom Parma down.

Argentine Cuper, who led Valencia to two Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001, only took over in March but Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Fiorentina was the latest in a string of poor displays.

Their 18 years in the top flight will come to an end on Sunday unless they can beat a stuttering Inter and Roma, fighting Roberto Mancini's men for the title, win at Catania.

Cuper was Inter boss six years ago when they blew the chance of winning the scudetto on the final day. Mancini's side are threatening to do the same this season and Inter fans will be glad that Cuper will not be there to remind them of 2002.

Parma won the UEFA Cup in 1995 and 1999 but were hit by financial problems a few years ago and narrowly escaped relegation last season under Claudio Ranieri, now at Juventus.