Serie A badgeMatchday 37, week ending 11th of May 2008.

So it’s the penultimate round of the season and we’re headed for a dramatic final week where it will go right down to the wire.

Inter wasted yet another opportunity to make the Scudetto theirs and Roma still have the chance to steal it from their grasp, repeating the 2002 season that saw Inter hand over a Scudetto to Juventus on the last day. Milan look to be out of the running for a spot in the CL next season, giving back forth place to Fiorentina. The bottom three remain as they were and it’s now official that Livorno will be in Serie B next season. Allan Oliveira reports.

Roma vs Atalanta (2-1)
After 23 minutes, Panucci scored for the second time in as many weeks, heading in a free kick from close range. The home side were forced to make a couple of substitutions as Perrotta then Mexes could not continue through injury. A De Rossi free kick extended the lead on 67 minutes although Bellini slid in to pull one back just minutes before time. The win puts Roma just one point away from Inter while Atalanta remain 11th.

Fiorentina vs Parma (3-1)
The Viola have taken back forth spot from Milan following this win and the latter’s loss to Napoli. They only need to hold on for another round to secure Champion’s League action next season however their opponents have been left in serious trouble, still in the relegation area.

The visitors had a dream start with a goal after 11 minutes, Budan nodding in a deflected Coly cross. Although before the break the home side equalised in style when Montolivo dribbled past everyone including the keeper and cut back for Santana to finish with the simplest of tap ins. Parma were hanging on in the second half but eventually conceded again. On 77 minutes Semioli met Jorgensen’s cross with a well-timed header to put Fiorentina in front. Soon after Parma were reduced to ten players as Rossi was sent off and five minutes from time Osvaldo put the match beyond doubt with a sumptuous volley.

Genoa vs Lazio (0-2)
Lazio did well to shake the woes of their below average season and the mid-week loss to Inter in the Coppa Italia semi. The visitors wrapped up the match within the first half. First Pandev powered a shot into the far corner from inside the area on 31 minutes and then in stoppage time Rocchi had a simple tap in after Behrami set him up. Even bringing on the joint league top scorer, Borriello did not help Genoa who drop a spot to ninth while Lazio now sit on equal points with Siena.

Inter vs Siena (2-2)
The league-leaders stumbled again and sit only one point above Roma with one round left while Siena maintain 12th position.

The home side started well and had several chances within the opening minutes. Materazzi rattled the crossbar and from the resulting corner kick, Vieira headed in the first goal. On the half-hour mark Maccarone levelled the score as he slid in a ball at the near post from a very tight angle. Super Mario (Balotelli) was on hand to restore the lead in stoppage time as he nodded in Vieira’s flicked on header. But with 20 minutes left to go, Kharja beat Julio Cesar to equalise again. Soon after Meterazzi was awarded a penalty for a shirt-pull but he had his shot blocked by Manninger. The wasted chances from this match could come back to haunt Inter and now it’s all about next week!

Juventus vs Catania (1-1)
Catania were still just above the relegation zone and knew they needed to take as many points as possible in these final rounds while Juve have secured third place no matter what so it’s more about the Capocannoniere race with either Del Piero or Trezeguet capable of finishing as the league top scorer. The visitors had to wait until the start of the second half but they struck first as somehow Martinez scrambled a corner kick into the goal. They only had to hold on for all three points but in the last minute Del Piero reacted quicker than the Catania backline and threw himself at a Chiellini cross to equalise and split the points.

Livorno vs Torino (0-1)
Torino’s win guaranteed a stay in Serie A next season however at the same time it guaranteed Livorno’s relegation. The only goal of this match came on 41 minutes as Livorno were punished for their defensive blunders and Rosina tapped in a Di Michele assist from close range, unmarked. Tavano found the net in the second half but had it disallowed for offside and apart from some crowd trouble as projectiles were hurled, there was little left in this match as Livorno accepted their demise.

Napoli vs AC Milan (3-1)
Milan took fourth spot last week but they faced a giant-killer that had already collected the scalps of Juve and Inter at home earlier in the season. The visitors were immediately under pressure and they conceded after 35 minutes as Hamsik took the ball from one end of the field to the other and finished his solo run superbly from the edge of the area. Shortly after the hour mark, Nesta slid Lavezzi from behind and made a mess of it, as the referee awarded a penalty for the mistimed tackle. Domizzi made no mistake from the spot to double the advantage. Then in stoppage time Garics volleyed in a Mannini cross to make it three. Seedorf found a consolation goal shortly after from a free kick but Milan seem like they’ll be without the Champion’s League next season now sitting in fifth. Napoli move up a spot to eighth.

Palermo vs Sampdoria (0-2)
Palermo could not rival the in form Sampdoria who jump over Udinese into sixth and the last UEFA cup spot following this win while the home side remain in 12th. Just after the hour mark Cassano found the net with a perfectly placed free-kick into the top corner. Fifteen minutes later, Maggio doubled the lead with a well-placed header and that wrapped up the action for this match.

Reggina vs Empoli (2-0)
In another relegation battle, Reggina secured their place in the top flight while Empoli are almost certainly joining Livorno in Serie B next season. It wasn’t until 68 minutes that the first goal came but it was quite a goal. Barreto rifled a bullet into the top corner from well outside the area. Just over ten minutes later Amoruso took Marzoratti out of the equation as he cut onto his left and struck the ball past Bassi.

Udinese vs Cagliari (0-2)
Once again there were no first half goals in this match but Acquafresca started the second half perfectly as he smashed in a goal at the near post just minutes after the restart. Then soon after on 55 minutes Cossu finished well from ten yards in another good counter attack. Cagliari can be proud of the way they’ve turned their season around from propping up the table to moving close to the mid table and if they can maintain these performances next season they will do well. They sit in 14th while their hosts have lost the last UEFA spot to Sampdoria although both teams have tough final games in the form of Milan and Juve respectively.

The standings
1st Inter 82pts 37 played
2nd Roma 81pts 37 played
3rd Juventus 71pts 37 played
4th Fiorentina 63pts 37 played
5th AC Milan 61pts 37 played
6th Sampdoria 59pts 37 played

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