Serie A: Matchday 37 Review
It was the penultimate round of the Serie A season last weekend, and there was still much to play for. Sure, Juventus had already easily wrapped up the title, plus Napoli were guaranteed second place. There was still the matter of deciding which other teams would be heading into Europe next season though. As well as which team would find themselves in the third and final relegation place. To find out what happened in last weekend’s Serie A fixtures, keep on reading!
Empoli Leapfrog Genoa in Battle for Survival
It was a significant weekend at the bottom end of Serie A, as Empoli managed to leapfrog Genoa and now sit outside the relegation zone. This means that a win next weekend for Empoli will guarantee them a spot in Serie A upcoming season. Genoa, on the other hand, must hope that Empoli drop points to have any chance of staying in the league next season.
Empoli were mightily impressive over the weekend, as they dispatched Torino, who were fighting for a place in Europe, 4-1. The only goal of the first half came from Empoli’s Afriyie Acquah. Torino would then hit back after half-time though, thanks to a goal from Iago Falque. After that though, Empoli ran away with the game, thanks to goals from Brighi, Di Lorenzo and Caputo. Empoli are now in 17th position, while Torino’s hopes of European qualification have taken a significant hit.
Genoa would have been pretty happy with their result, had Empoli not managed to grab all three points. They hosted Cagliari, who are mid-table and are now only playing for pride, in a game that ended 1-1. Leonardo Pavoletti scored for Cagliari in the first half. Genoa weren’t able to hit back until the 89th minute when Domenico Criscito scored from the penalty spot. Giuseppe Pezzella was then sent off in the 93rd minute, meaning he’ll miss Genoa’s massively important next match against Fiorentina.
Inter Milan Stutter in Champions League Pursuit
It was a terrible weekend for Inter Milan, as they fell to a 4-1 defeat away to Napoli. This meant that Inter remained on 66 points and in fourth place. A win next weekend will guarantee Champions League football next season, however anything else and bitter rivals AC Milan could jump past them and claim the final Champions League qualifying spot.
It was always going to be tough at Napoli, as the home team has been impressive for most of the season. Napoli opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Thanks to Piotr Zieliński, before they then added a further three goals without reply in the second half, coming from Mertens and Fabián (2). There was a consolation goal in the 81st minute, as Mauro Icardi converted a penalty. However, Inter fans will be very disappointed with their performance.
Atalanta Fail to Grab Champions League Berth
Atalanta are almost sure of a Champions League spot next season. However they could have guaranteed this with a win over the weekend. The trouble? They were playing Juventus, so the 1-1 they managed was actually a pretty impressive feat. They can afford to lose next weekend. Atalanta’s far superior goal difference should still see them gain a berth in next season’s Champions League.
Atalanta actually led against the Serie A champions for most of the game. They went ahead in the 33rd minute, thanks to a goal from Josip Iličić, and they would hold on to this lead until the 80th minute. Croatian striker Mario Mandžukić would be the man to score the equaliser, sparing Juventus defeat in their final home game of the season. Juventus’ Federico Bernardeschi was sent off in the 92nd minute. Most likely he will miss their final match of the season, which is against Sampdoria.
AC Milan Ensure European Football Next Season
AC Milan’s 2-0 win over Frosinone, who are already relegated, ensured that they will be playing in Europe next season. They now can’t be caught in the race for Europa League places. Plus they still harbour a chance of grabbing 4th spot and a Champions League berth. They will need to better Inter Milan’s result if they’re to leapfrog their rivals on the final day of the season though.
Milan’s win over Frosinone, who have been pretty poor all season, was solid, but not spectacular. Their first goal came courtesy of Polish forward Krzysztof Piątek. He flicked home the ball from close range in the 57th minute. Suso then doubled AC Milan’s lead when he scored a sublime free kick in the 66th minute. AC Milan will now take on SPAL in their closing game of the season. Definitely fans will still be crossing their fingers for Champions League qualification.
Elsewhere in Serie A…
Elsewhere, Lazio and Bologna played out an entertaining 3-3 draw. Lazio can now no longer finish in the European places, but this isn’t a problem, as they’ve already qualified for the Europa League thanks to their Coppa Italia victory. Lazio’s goals on the day came from Correa, Bastos and Milinković-Savić, while Bologna scored via Poli, Destro and Orsolini. The result takes Bologna into 12th, while Lazio remain in 8th position.
There was another entertaining match between Udinese and SPAL, with Udinese eventually coming out on top 3-2. Udinese went into a 3-0 lead, thanks to goals from Samir and Okaka (2), before SPAL made things nervy for Udinese by scoring two second-half goals, courtesy of Petagna and Valoti. The result means that Udinese are now in an excellent position to avoid relegation, while SPAL stay in a respectable 11th place.
Fiorentina’s run of poor form continued over the weekend, as they lost 1-0 to Parma. The result now means that Fiorentina have lost their past six games, which has seen them slip down into 15th place. The only goal of the game came from Gerson in the 80th minute, as he put the ball into the wrong net. The result now means that Parma are safe from relegation, plus they also jump above Fiorentina in the table.
There were then two 0-0 draws last weekend in Serie A, with the first coming in the match between Sassuolo and Roma. The result meant that Roma failed to secure a place in the Europa League next season, although their superior goal difference over Torino means that they are still firm favourites to finish in 6th. Sassuolo are now in 10th and can’t finish any higher at the end of the season.
The other 0-0 came in the match between Chievo and Sampdoria. Sampdoria had some chances on the night, but couldn’t convert them, while Chievo lacked any real attacking intent. The main action in the game came in the 40th minute, when Chievo’s Federico Barba was sent off. Chievo will finish the season at the bottom of the table, while Sampdoria are guaranteed to finish the current campaign in 9th position.