Serie A Week 33, Match Reports: Third Place Is The Most Exciting Race

Sure, the scudetto hasn't been decided yet, but how many, apart from Juve and Milan fans, really care? It's a two-horse race and, to many, a battle between evil and evil. Last year's holders against the club that's one the most titles. Yawn. Give me drama!

That drama lies in the race for third place, the final Champions League position awarded to Italy next season (because clearly England, with its teams falling out during the group stages, deserves four slots). For much of the season, it seemed Udinese would have a second chance to qualify for the tournament. But with one win of their last nine matches, the zebrette are already focused on which child prodigy they'll bring in from South America in the summer. It appeared as though Lazio were willing to step in and shoulder the CL burden, but then an injury-pocalpse hit, leaving them unable to beat relegation-battling teams. So will Napoli become the tournament's darlings again next season? Or will Inter pull off a miraculous late-season run?

AC Milan 1-0 Genoa

Perhaps fearful of meeting Genoa ultras in a dark alleyway, Milan took it easy on the visitors, barely threatening Sebastien Frey's goal in the first half. The introduction of Antonio Cassano and Kevin-Prince Boateng finally brought the match to life, and it was Boateng that got the eventual winner, beating Frey from close range. The win keeps the rossoneri within three points of Juve, but unless a club manages to bring down the invincible squad, Milan will have to settle for second.

AS Roma 1-2 Fiorentina

Yes, you're seeing that scoreline correctly. The hapless Viola managed to beat Roma at the Olimpico -- it's only been 20 years since they managed that particular feat. Stevan Jovetic headed the ball past Roma's third-choice keeper, Gianluca Curci, after just two minutes, and Fiorentina continued to test the poor man throughout the match. Francesco Totti managed to equalise with a little toe-poke in the 70th, but the Viola fought back in stoppage time. Adem Ljajic sent in an impressive shot that Curci somehow managed to block, but it fell for Andrea Lazzarri, who neatly put it away.

Oh, and did we mention Pablo Osvaldo got sent off? No? Probably because it just seems inevitable these days.

Atalanta 1-0 Chievo Verona

Were it not for a six point deduction at the beginning of the season, Atalanta would be in eighth place. Let that be a lesson, kids: don't cheat.

Cagliari 3-0 Catania

Catania fell apart in Trieste, where Cagliari pummeled Pietro Terracciano, who was making just his second Serie A appearance. Let this be a lesson to you, Vincezo Montella: don't pull Alejandro Gomez before the 60th minute unless he has blood pouring from a gaping wound. And even then, think about it for a few minutes.

Europe next year, guys. Next year.

Cesena 0-1 Juventus

Surprise! Juventus beat Cesena! Actual surprise: Marco Borriello scored the game-winning goal.

Ciao, Seahorses. It's been a fun two seasons. Best wishes in Serie B.

Lecce 0-2 Napoli

Welcome back, Napoli. We've missed you. And that gorgeous foot of Marek Hamsik.

Novara 2-1 Lazio

Giuseppe Mascara has done more for Napoli in a Novara kit than he ever did for the partenopei. Lazio started off the scoring, but, unfortunately for Modibo Diakite, it landed in Federico Marchetti's net. Whoopsies. Antonio Candreva saved the defender just a minute later, heading the ball into the Novara net, but the damage was done. Mascara executed a perfect free kick with just over ten minutes to go, keeping Novara's hopes of safety alive, and edging Napoli closer to third place.

Palermo 1-2 Parma

Ok, Palermo are just winding us up now, right? If anyone other than Lecce are going down, it's Genoa, so the rosanero don't even need to bother. They can't really be this bad...

Siena 1-1 Bologna

This happened.

Udinese 1-3 Inter Milan

Pack up the suitcases, Udinese. Some of you will be moving on to bigger and better clubs, others might get to go along on scouting missions to far-off locations of the world. One thing's nearly a given -- no Champions League for you next season. That's what happens when you take a lead in the sixth minute and then end up down 3-1 by the half. Inter and Udi are now tied on points, both three back of Lazio.

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