Udinese boosted as Brescia drop
Udinese moved back into fourth spot in Serie A and the final UEFA Champions League qualification place with a 2-1 victory over Lazio. Serie A top scorer Antonio Di Natale was once again the hero as he scored both goals to give a ten-man Udinese side a two-point lead over Lazio and Roma in the race for fourth with two games to play.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin paid tribute to his young guns, in particular the returning Alexis Sanchez. "This is the youngest team ever to be in a fight for a Champions League place," said a jubilant Guidolin.
"Apart from [Giampiero] Pinzi and Di Natale, look at their dates of birth. That's a great satisfaction for everyone. There's still a lot of difficulties left but today we're happy, in the first half we played like the great Udinese teams of the past. Lazio are a great team who made life difficult for us, especially with high balls. Whoever saw Sanchez today has seen quality and we hope to have him on fire for the last two games."
The result also meant that should Juventus beat Chievo on Monday, Udinese will be only three points off fourth place.
Inter secure top-three finish
With AC Milan securing the Scudetto crown on yesterday with a 0-0 draw at Roma, attentions turned to the other matters still to be decided. Inter Milan secured their passage directly into next season's Champions League group stages with a 3-1 victory over Fiorentina.
Goals from Giampaolo Pazzini and Esteban Cambiasso, both set up by Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o, gave Inter a 2-0 lead at half-time. Alberto Gilardino slotted the ball the wrong side of the post when one-on-one with goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but then volleyed home after some neat control on his knee to reduce the deficit.
However, Brazilian starlet Coutinho curled home a late free-kick to make the points safe. The win left Inter ten points clear of Udinese, but Napoli still need another point to secure their place in the group stages after they lost 2-1 at Lecce.
Daniele Corvia had given Lecce the lead from the penalty spot on 49 minutes, but then got himself sent off for a second yellow card. Giuseppe Mascara equalised for Napoli before their striker Edinson Cavani also saw red for a second booking. Javier Chevanton then sent the home fans wild with a stunning winner on the volley two minutes from time.
The victory was enough to move Lecce out of the relegation zone, two points above Sampdoria who lost 2-1 at city rivals Genoa. Having finished fourth last season and qualified for the Champions League, Samp now have two matches to save their season and their Serie A status.
Brescia will join already relegated Bari in Serie B next season after their 2-1 defeat at home to Catania confirmed their drop. Samp's loss meant Catania are safe, as are Parma, who drew 0-0 with Bologna. Bologna and Cesena, who won 2-0 at Cagliari, need two more points to ensure their safety.