Serie A: Roma secure second place

Roma defeated fierce rivals Lazio 2-1 in the Derby della Capitale to wrap up second position.

 

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe

 

Roma gained automatic qualification into the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League with a late 2-1 victory against crosstown rivals Lazio.

 

Lazio needed just one point to secure their place in the top three, but the Derby della Capitale loss means their final round match-up against Napoli will decide who claims the remaining UEFA Champions League spot.

 

However, it was Lazio who began the match in the ascendancy, putting their foes under immense pressure in the opening stages.

 

Antonio Candreva had the first chance of the match in the third minute after cutting in from the left, but his effort was parried away by Morgan De Sanctis.

 

Two minutes later, Candreva turned provider, putting the ball on a plate for veteran striker Miroslav Klose, but the German nodded his diving header wide with the goal at his mercy.

 

After their nervy start, Roma settled into the match, making the remainder of the first half a cagey affair with very few goalscoring chances.

 

Lazio full back Dušan Basta had the first chance of the second period, firing a half volley just wide of De Sanctis’ goal in the 48th minute.

 

Roma’s first major opportunity came in the 69th minute when a corner fell to Víctor Ibarbo in the centre of the penalty area, but the Colombian failed to hit the target with his strike.

 

Roma were not as wasteful four minutes later though, with Ibarbo cutting the ball back to Juan Iturbe, who got in front of his marker to poke home from six yards out.

 

But just seven minutes later, Lazio got themselves back on level terms after Felipe Anderson dinked a ball to Klose at the back post, who then headed the ball back across goal, where Filip Djordjevic was on hand to nod past De Sanctis.

 

However, just as Lazio looked destined to snatch a point which would have secured their place in the UEFA Champions League, the drama continued to roll on.

 

In the 85th minute, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa rose above the pack, heading a Miralem Pjanić free kick into the bottom corner to break Lazio hearts.

 

Roma held on to clinch the all important three points, securing their second consecutive runner-up finish in the Serie A standings.

 

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League and cup champions Juventus continued their winning ways despite resting most of their regular starters, defeating fourth-placed Napoli 3-1.

 

Roberto Pereyra opened the scoring after 13 minutes, before David López followed up Lorenzo Insigne‘s saved penalty in the 50th minute to equalise.

 

Juventus regained the lead with 13 minutes remaining through young midfielder Stefano Sturaro, who turned sharply on the edge of the penalty area, then watched his deflected effort hit the back of the net.

 

Simone Pepe sealed the win in injury time from the penalty spot, following Miguel Britos‘ send off for a head-butt on Álvaro Morata.

 

Fiorentina wrapped up their spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League by winning 3-2 away from home against Palermo.

 

Josip Iličić, Alberto Gilardino and Marcos Alonso scored for the visitors, while Mato Jajalo and Luca Rigoni got on the scoresheet for Palermo.

 

Sixth-placed Genoa ended Inter Milan’s UEFA Europa League ambitions, beating the Nerazzurri 3-2, thanks to a last-minute winner from Juraj Kucka.

 

Samuel Eto’o‘s injury time equaliser was not enough to keep Sampdoria’s UEFA Europa League hopes alive, settling for a 1-1 draw away against Empoli.

 

Stephan El Shaarawy displayed the form that A.C. Milan has been missing all season, scoring a brace in his side’s comfortable 3-0 win over Torino.

 

Luca Toni scored a double in Hellas Verona’s 2-2 draw away against last-placed Parma to leapfrog Carlos Tevez and Mauro Icardi in the top scorers chart, taking his tally to 21 goals.

 

In other results, Sassuolo defeated Udinese 1-0 away, Cagliari beat fellow relegated side Cesena by the same scoreline, while Chievo Verona and Atalanta played out a 1-1 draw.

 

Written by Marco Balsamo

 

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