Week 26 in Serie A came and went with only one change to the Italian table: Lecce and Parma switched positions, with Lecce now in 15th and Parma, 16th. AC Milan, Napoli, Inter Milan and Lazio all took the maximum of the spoils, keeping those clubs first through fourth, respectively. At the bottom, Bari remain winless through eight, picking up just one point in those matches to give them fifteen total. Cesena and Brescia each drew this weekend, but one point apiece was not enough to lift them from the relegation spots.
Bologna 1-0 Palermo
Palermo, still stinging from last week's 4-2 defeat against Fiorentina, tried to play it cool and conservative, with that strategy blowing up in their pink faces. Delio Rossi went with a trendy three man backline, which turned out to be five men for almost the entire match, and elected to use Abel Hernandez rather than Fabrizio Miccoli. Whoopsie. After Santiago García saw a second yellow with more than thirty minutes left to play, Bologna still needed until the 90th minute to score, with the visitors giving new meaning to "parking the bus." Still, Daniele Paponi headed in the winner and put a dent in Palermo's Champions League hopes.
Inter Milan 1-0 Cagliari
See a theme in Saturday's scores? This goal, however, was much more controversial than the one at Bologna. Houssine Kharja's initial shot was pushed away by Cagliari keeper Michael Agazzi, but his second attempt took a deflection off Andrea Ranocchia and bounced into the net. Not only was Ranocchia offside, but both he and Thiago Motta were interfering with play. No matter, the flag stayed down, the seventh minute goal stood, and despite the Rossoblu giving it a good run against a tired Inter, the scudetto holders kept themselves in the running for this year's title.
Lecce 2-0 Juventus
No, that scoreline is not a joke. Despite Juventus looking much stronger in their last two outings, despite Lecce missing four regulars due to suspension, the Old Lady just didn't have it in her. Or, to be precise, Gigi Buffon forgot to put his thinking cap on, rushing out to stop David Di Michele from going clear on goal but instead handling the ball outside the area. Big no no, and Gigi saw a straight red after just twelve minutes. Giuseppe Vives was sent off for the home side with twenty minutes left to play, but Djamel Mesbah and Andrea Bertolacci had already scored for Lecce, and Juventus just couldn't catch up.
Fiorentina 0-0 Sampdoria
Fiordoria combined to each take one point, meaning I should've put some money on this match.
Udinese 0-0 Brescia
Udinese scoreless at the Stadio Friuli: That's what happens when Alexis Sanchez is suspended. Enough with the yellows already.
Lazio 1-0 Bari
Really, Lazio? The fourth place team was only able to manage one goal against bottom Bari, despite a host of chances. But considering Fernando Muslera sprained an ankle during the warm up and Lazio had to pull in back up keeper Tommaso Berni, it could have been much worse. Week 26 in Serie A -- not a good week for Uruguayans.
Parma 2-2 Cesena
Parma came from behind twice in this relegation battle, but in the end were forced to divide the spoils with Cesena and accept 16th place. Amauri's looking much better at new club Parma, however, threatening the Seahorses several times. After Sunday's performance against Lecce, it's possible to wonder if Juventus will regret being so relieved to see him go.
Chievo Verona 1-2 Milan
If you think about it, a Flying Donkey's pretty useless, but it's possible one of those creatures would have been better at defending against Pato then the actual Chievo defenders. To be fair to the home side, the first goal was scored in suspicious circumstances, with Robinho using his upper arm to control a ball from Zlatan Ibrahimović. The referee turned a blind eye and the goal stood. Chievo pulled one back in the 63rd minute when Gelson Fernandes headed in the equalizer, but substitute Pato grabbed the winner for Milan. Pato dribbled the ball through two defenders before sliding the ball through yet another, squeezing it just inside the near post.
Genoa 4-3 Roma
If you're not a Roma fan, go find these highlights right now. If you are a Roma fan, you should probably stop reading and go find a nice glass of wine, or possibly whisky. For Roma, who were up 3-0 into the 51st minute, managed to lose that lead and all their points. When Rodrigo Palacio scored in the 52nd, most thought it would be a consolation goal. Then Alberto Paloschi scored. Then Palacio scored again, bringing Genoa level, and then it was Paloschi again, giving Genoa the win in the 85th minute. That's three straight league defeats for Roma, as well as a Champions League loss at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, making it not at all surprising that coach Claudio Ranieri resigned after the match.
Napoli 1-0 Catania
Sorry, neutral observers hoping to see some red-hot Napoli action, this match failed to showcase their talents. Catania put forth a great demonstration of catenaccio for the first 25 minutes, until Juan Zuñiga broke through to score his first in Napoli blue. After that, a bunch of stomping, snarling, shirt pulling (but thankfully no spitting) occurred. Catania brought on extra attacking players, Napoli relinquished possession again and again, and fans of the partenopei experienced the longest four minutes of stoppage time in existence. Oh, and Edinson Cavani missed a penalty. A weird day for Napoli, but they keep second all the same.