Italy Roundup: Ex-Man City stars decide Milan derby; Relegation a mess
While the very top of the table’s been a bit of a yawn -- in fitting fashion Juventus clinched the league while waiting to play on Monday -- the relegation fight and scrap for fourth remains interesting.
Juve, Roma and Napoli will finish 1, 2, 3 barring a brutal collapse from Napoli and a red-hot finish from Fiorentina. After that, though, there’s plenty to be settled. Five teams remain in play to be relegated, while a hand full can still settle into a Europa League spot.
But we begin with the Milan derby, where AC Milan made the best of a mess of a season by trumping visiting Inter 1-0 in a dirty affair. A pair of former Manchester City players keyed the win, with Nigel de Jong heading home Mario Balotelli’s pass in the 65th minute.
The three points mean AC Milan can still find the Europa League, while Inter is extremely unlikely to catch Fiorentina for fourth, with Viola four points ahead with a match in hand to be played on Tuesday. Inter looked lifeless for much of the game.
Catania pushed Livorno into the basement with a 4-1 thumping of Roma. Argentine playmaker Mariano Izco scored a brace within eight minutes to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. The goals were just his second and third of the season, and boosted Catania -- still winless at home -- to within three points of safety.
Bologna picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Genoa to temporarily stay ahead of the drop but will have wanted more with Sassuolo yet to play this week. Chievo stayed in danger with a 1-0 home loss to Torino, while Livorno played a thrilling 5-3 match with Udinese... but thrilling means little in a loss.
Down in Serie B, if you’re wondering, only Palermo has clinched promotion.
- Catania 4-1 Roma – Francesco Totti’s 37th minute goal was the only moment of fun for the visitors.
- Chievo 0-1 Torino — Only a 54th minute Gennaro Sardo own-goal broke up the malaise in Verona.
- Genoa 0-0 Bologna — If you find matches with only three combined shots on goal pretty exciting, this one was for you.
- Udinese 5-3 Livorno – It was 5-2 at halftime, with Paulinho striking twice for Livorno and a brace for Antonio Di Natale leading three Udinese goal scorers. Only Djamel Mesbah scored in the second half as Livorno slipped to 20th.
- Parma 2-0 Sampdoria – Cassano scored early (8') and Schelotto scored late (90') as Parma stayed alive for Europe.
- Juventus vs. Atalanta – Monday
- Lazio vs. Verona — Monday
- Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo -- Tuesday
- Napoli vs. Cagliari -- Tuesday