Chievo secured their Serie A status for another season with the point they required against fellow strugglers Bologna at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
The Flying Donkeys kicked off proceedings knowing a win or draw would be enough to ensure them safety from the drop. Meanwhile the Rossoblu – only promoted last season – lay in an even more precarious position than their hosts going into the match, aware a defeat coupled with victory for Torino over Genoa would witness them making a swift departure from Serie A.
Bologna came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when Marco Di Vaio’s header flew wide before watching his strike partner Daniel Pablo Osvaldo fail to trouble Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino with a long-range shot.
Luciano flashed a shot wide with Chievo’s first real opportunity of the game and following some racist barracking of their former player from a small section of the Rossoblu tifosi, match referee Stefano Farina – under new Italian racism laws – brought proceedings to a halt until the jeers subsided.
Upon the game’s resumption, Michele Marcolini posed Francesco Antonioli major cause for concern, when his left-footed strike from range flew towards the bottom left hand corner, only for the Bologna custodian to brilliantly turn the shot wide.
Luciano again came close to finding the game’s vital opening goal just after the half-time interval, but unfortunately the Brazilian directed his shot straight at Antonioli. And with just over an hour of the match played, Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier, latching on to a brilliant through ball from Luciano, also failed to connect properly with the ball to give Antonioli more cause for relief.
Di Vaio dragged a late chance wide for the visitors but the game petered out to finish goalless ensuring Chievo’s safety and giving Bologna a great opportunity to secure their own safety next weekend at home to Catania following Torino’s 3-2 defeat to Genoa.
A last minute header from top scorer Diego Milito wrapped up the win for Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico to leave Torino standing on the brink of relegation. Milito had given il Grifone the lead with a first-half penalty but Ivan Franceschini equalised for the hosts five minutes before the break. Ruben Olivera restored the visitors’ advantage shortly after the break only for Rolando Bianchi to neatly chip home and square up the match again within two minutes.
However, Milito’s late show denied the Granata a valuable draw, and any hopes they may hold of retaining their status as a Serie A team will now depend upon their result with Roma in the Italian capital and Bologna’s decidedly easier task against Catania in the Stadio Renata Dell’Ara.
At the other end of the table, Roma ruined Paolo Maldini’s emotional send off at the San Siro with a late 3-2 win over Milan. John Arne Riise gave the Giallorossi a first half lead with a trademark free-kick and Luciano Spalletti’s men held their advantage until the 75th minute when Massimo Ambrosini side-footed home an equaliser.
French youngster Jeremy Menez restored i Lupi’s lead with just 10 minutes remaining, only for Ambrosini to level the scores again within a minute. But another fantastic free-kick, this time from Francesco Totti wrapped up a hard-fought win for Roma before Ambrosini’s frustration boiled over to see him red-carded before the game’s conclusion.
Juventus took advantage of Milan’s slip-up with a long-overdue win over Siena to leapfrog the Rossoneri into second place in the league table. Alessandro Del Piero, restored by interim Coach Ciro Ferrara to the starting lineup after being frozen out by Claudio Ranieri, gave la Vecchia Signora the lead with a first-half penalty. Juventus doubled their lead before half-time through Claudio Marchisio and another for Del Piero on the stroke of full-time wrapped up a comfortable first win in eight games to move the Bianconeri into the automatic Champions League qualifying position of second.
Champions Inter succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away in Sardinia to Cagliari with Robert Acquafresca – the striker owned by the Nerazzurri – netting a second half winner at the Stadio Sant’Elia. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had headed Jose Mourinho’s men ahead early in the match only for Andrea Cossu to draw the hosts level, and Acquafresca’s second-half goal wrapped up a first win in six matches for the Rossoblu.
Elsewhere, Catania brought a run of four successive defeats to an end with a 3-1 win over Napoli at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. The Azzurri had taken a first half lead through Mariano Bogliacino but a goal from Takayuki Morimoto and two late strikes from Giuseppe Mascara and Vito Falconieri gave the Sicilian outfit a spectacular late win.
Fiorentina strengthened their grip on the fourth Champions League qualifying spot with a point away at Lecce, sending their hosts back to Serie B in the process. Martin Jorgensen did the damage with an injury-time equaliser to send the Giallorossi down after Simone Tiribocchi had fired Lecce into the lead.
Udinese and Sampdoria shared a four-goal feast at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris despite the Blucerchiati falling behind early on. Gaetano D’Agostino fired the Bianconeri ahead from the spot, but Sampdoria fought back to take a 2-1 lead through a Mauricio Isla own goal and an Antonio Cassano penalty. However, Udinese, who were seeking to extend their record of six successive wins, grabbed a share of the spoils when Antonio Floro Flores grabbed an equaliser with 30 minutes left on the clock.
Atalanta and Palermo also shared a 2-2 draw in the season’s final game at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. David Succi fired the Rosanero ahead but two goals from on-loan Dea striker Gianvito Plasmati put the hosts ahead. The visitors were not to be denied though and a Fabrizio Miccoli goal 15 minutes from time ensured a point apiece.
Week 37 Results
AC Milan 2-3 Roma – Riise 36, Menez 80, Totti 85; Ambrosini 75, 81
Atalanta 2-2 Palermo – Plasmati 50, 67; Succi 32, Miccoli 75
Cagliari 2-1 Inter – Cossu 11, Acquafresca 71; Ibrahimovic 8
Catania 3-1 Napoli – Morimoto 41, Mascara (pen) 88, Falconieri 90; Bogliacino 27
Chievo 0-0 Bologna
Lecce 1-1 Fiorentina – Tribocchi 50, Jorgensen 90
Sampdoria 2-2 Udinese – Isla (og) 32, Cassano 44; D’Agostino (pen) 13, Floro Flores 60
Siena 0-3 Juventus – Del Piero (pen) 35, 89, Marchisio 37
Torino 2-3 Genoa – Franceschini 40, Bianchi 50; Milito (pen) 33, 89 Ruben Olivera 48