Serie A Weekend Wrap

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIMay 5, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - MAY 05:  Players of Juventus FC celebrate at the end of the Serie A match between Juventus and US Citta di Palermo at Juventus Arena on May 5, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It's been a pivotal weekend in Serie A that will be remembered when it's all said and done for a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost, Juventus are the champions. Congratulations are in order for the Old Lady, who have been easily the best side in calcio this season.

It was never in doubt, but further plaudits should go to Juve for doing their business in the proper manner, at home to Palermo, a side battling for their lives.

The Rosanero might have felt they were in with a chance of pinching a point should Juve have played in a relaxed fashion awaiting a party to celebrate their title (a point would also have been enough for Juve to seal the scudetto and also provide a massive boost to their Sicilian opponents in their bid to avoid relegation).

Siena, Genoa and even Torino will be grateful for Juventus ensuring that Palermo did not receive tainted points in their bid to beat the drop.

Siena failed to capitalise, going down to Catania, while Torino were sucked into the relegation battle thanks to a late Mario Balotelli strike.

Genoa were the big winners at the bottom of the table, emphatically beating Pescara at the Marassi to lift themselves out of the relegation zone and provide themselves with huge belief that they can beat the drop in the nick of time.

A blossoming partnership between Antonio Floro Flores and Marco Borriello is giving the Grifone a real bite in attack, something that never really prospered between Borriello and Ciro Immobile, who has been hit-and-miss throughout the season after great expectations due to being Serie B's capcannoniere last season.

Fiorentina choked at home to Roma on Saturday, blowing a chance to lift themselves into the top three in their bid for Champions League football with the Rossoneri not playing until Sunday.

The Viola played some intricate stuff but were punished for their wastefulness in the dying moments when Pablo Osvaldo struck to earn a fine win for the Giallorossi.

Milan thus entered Sunday's game with Torino without much pressure, knowing they would maintain their place in the top three and a one-point cushion over Fiorentina no matter what result they mustered against the Granata.

In a turgid affair, Torino wasted several glorious opportunities, especially one conjured up by the brilliant Alessio Cerci, whose flick sent Paulo Barreto one on one with Christian Abbiati, but the Brazilian could not convert.

With five minutes left, Balotelli popped up at the back post to volley into an empty net and earn a victory that all but secures Champions League football for the Rossoneri once more next season.

Elsewhere, Antonio Di Natale's double helped Udinese to a fifth consecutive victory, 3-1 at home to Sampdoria, which ensures the Zebrette are hot on the heels of Roma, who occupy the last remaining Europa League spot. Should Roma win the Coppa Italia, Francesco Guidolin's side would then become the beneficiaries of an extra European place being awarded in the league to sixth place.

Roma's opponents in that final, Lazio, thrashed Bologna 6-0 with Miroslav Klose claiming a famous five, his first three came in an pulsating 17-minute spell that left Stefano Pioli's men shell shocked.

Serie A recommences on Tuesday, with a midweek round of fixtures to be fitted in. Focus will be on the bottom of the table where Torino and Genoa battle for a precious three points. Palermo will host the league's form side, Udinese, in another crucial game to determine who will be relegated to Serie B.

While the questions at the top of the league are almost fully answered, the intriguing battle at the bottom will keep us entertained right down to the wire, but this is Juve's weekend, and whether it is their 29th or 31st title is a debate for another day, for now, the Bianconeri should be congratulated for a brilliant season and a second successive league triumph.


Late game Sunday update


Edinson Cavani's hat trick was enough to hand Napoli a comfortable victory at home against a depleted Inter.

The Nerazzurri have been without Diego Milito, Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio through injury, relying on former Lazio backup Tommaso Rocchi. Amazingly the 35-year-old was the latest Inter crock and Andrea Stramaccioni had to use Ricky Alvarez as a forward.

The Argentine put in a decent shift, but the stark contrast between himself and Napoli's centre-forward was the main difference between the sides, El Matador was lethal in front of goal, capitalising on slow reactions from the comical centre-back pairing of Juan Jesus and Andrea Ranocchia.

Cavani, who reached 100 goals for the Partenopei with his second will undoubtedly be one of Europe's most wanted men in the summer transfer window, has almost secured Napoli the runner-up spot in Serie A.

With Napoli now seven points clear of Milan in third with only three matches left, attentions turn to the futures of Cavani and Walter Mazzarri and where the club go from here. Which clubs would be willing to pay the estimated £70 million fee for Cavani this summer?


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