Serie A: Matchday 38 Review
Last weekend saw the final round of fixtures in the 2018-19 Serie A season. It was a big day at both ends of the table, with teams looking to secure Champions League berths, as well as others looking to avoid being relegated. It was certainly an exciting day of action, so why not see what happened by looking through our recap of matchday 38 in Serie A?
Atalanta and Inter Secure Champions League Football
The biggest story of the weekend was that Atalanta qualified for Champions League football for the first time in their history. They were joined in the competition by Inter, who also ensured their place in Europe’s biggest club competition on the same day. Both sides took three points from their games, however one of them left qualification for the Champions League until the final ten minutes of their match.
Atalanta hosted Sassuolo on the final day, knowing that it would take something massive to stop them getting into the Champions League next season. In the end, the result was pretty comfortable for them, although they did go a goal down in the 19th minute, when Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi scored. Atalanta then hit back in the 35th minute through Duván Zapata, before Papu and Mario Pašalić scored for the home team in the second half. Sassuolo would have two players sent off in the match, with both Berardi and Magnanelli getting their marching orders.
Inter grabbed their place in the Champions League with a narrow win against Empoli. Keita opened the scoring for Inter, before Hamed Junior Traorè grabbed an equaliser. A draw would not be enough for Inter, but they sealed the win in the 81st minute, when Radja Nainggolan scored. Two players then saw red in injury time – Perucchini for Empoli and Keita for Inter. The result sent Inter into Europe, as well as relegated Empoli, who finish the season in 18th place.
Genoa Save Themselves from Relegation
It wasn’t the most interesting match of the day, however Genoa’s 0-0 draw with Fiorentina, combined with Empoli’s loss against Inter, ensured that the Genoese side would remain in Serie A for another season. In the end, they only just survived though, as they finished level on points with Empoli. Their better head-to-head record saw them grab the safety of 17th place though. Fiorentina finished the season in 16th, after one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
To say the match was cagey would be an understatement, and neither side created many chances to score throughout the entire game. Fiorentina fans would eventually turn on their team, jeering them as they left the field. This came after their team failed to win in their final 14 games of the season. Genoa fans won’t care about the result though, as they’ll simply be happy to retain their place in Serie A.
Shock Loss for Champions Juventus
It wasn’t the best ending to the season for Juventus, who fell to a shock 2-0 loss to Sampdoria. This meant that the champions failed to win their last five games of the Serie A season. Juventus still easily finish as champions though, beating second placed Napoli by 11 points. Sampdoria finish the season in 9th.
Both goals came near the end of the match. Grégoire Defrel opened the scoring for Sampdoria in the 84th minute, before Gianluca Caprini made sure of the three points by scoring in the 91st minute. While it was a disappointing result for Juventus, their fans will already be looking towards next year, when they’ll have to defend their title without boss Massimiliano Allegri, who has now left the club.
Napoli Fall to Defeat at Bologna
It wasn’t just Juventus who finished their season poorly, as Napoli also fell to defeat over the weekend. They’d already clinched 2nd place, however fans won’t have been happy to see their side lose 3-2 to Bologna, whose win saw them finish the season in a more than respectable 10th place. Napoli finish the campaign with 79 points – 10 more than 3rd placed Atalanta.
Bologna went 2-0 up in the first half, thanks to goals from Federico Santander and Blerim Džemaili. Napoli would fight back in the second half though, scoring first through Faouzi Ghoulam and then thanks to Dries Mertens. Bologna would steal all three points in the 88th minute though, when Santander grabbed his second goal of the game.
Elsewhere in Serie A…
Elsewhere in Serie A, AC Milan finished their season with a 3-2 victory over SPAL. Inter’s victory meant that three points wasn’t enough for Champions League qualification though, so AC Milan will play in the Europa League next season. Milan’s goals came from Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Franck Kessié (2), while SPAL’s goals came courtesy of Francesco Vicari and Mohamed Salim Fares. Milan finish the season in 5th, while SPAL end their campaign in 13th position.
Roma also grabbed a victory in their final game of the season, as they defeated Parma 2-1. The result ensured that they finished in 6th place, meaning they’ll be playing Europa League football next season. Roma went ahead in the 35th minute, when Riccardo Gagliolo put the ball into his own net. Parma thought they’d secured a draw when Gervinho equalised in the 86th minute, however there was still time for Diego Perotti to grab the winner in the 89th minute.
Torino hosted Lazio over the weekend, and fans will have been happy with their team’s performance. They ended up beating the Coppa Italia champions 3-1, thanks to goals from Iago Falque, Saša Lukić and Lorenzo De Silvestri. Parma’s only goal came courtesy of Ciro Immobile. Torino finish the season in 7th, while Lazio end up in 8th place.
Cagliari still had a slight chance of being relegated before last weekend, however they ended up safe, despite losing 2-1 to Udinese. Cagliari scored the only goal of the first half, when Leonardo Pavoletti found the back of the net in the 17th minute. Udinese scored twice in the second half though, through Emil Hallfreðsson and Sebastien De Maio. The result means Udinese finish in 12th, while Cagliari finish in 15th place.
Finally, the bottom two teams took each other on last weekend. Frosinone and Chievo both already knew that they’d be playing their football in Serie B next season, and their 0-0 draw underlined why they won’t be playing in the top flight in the 2019-20 season. Frosinone finish the season in 19th place, while Chievo end in 20th.