Serie a Final Day Wrap

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIMay 19, 2013

SIENA, ITALY - MAY 19: Milan players celebrate a goal scored by Philippe Mexes during the Serie A match between AC Siena and AC Milan at Stadio Artemio Franchi on May 19, 2013 in Siena, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

That's it, it's all over for another season in Italy.

Serie A ended on Sunday with a fine round of fixtures—most of which kicked off simultaneously—that delivered some great entertainment despite a relatively settled table going into the final round.

The main drama surrounded whether Milan could hold off Fiorentina to maintain third place in the league and therefore qualify for the Champions League.

The Viola would have to win and hope that Milan didn't to snatch third with Vincenzo Montella's side holding the vital head-to-head tiebreaker had the Rossoneri have drawn.

Fiorentina made quick work of a poor Pescara side that had no business competing in Serie A this season without the heroes of last season. The Delfini were doomed from the start without Zdenek Zeman, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti, all of whom were key to their promotion last season.

An Adem Ljajic hat trick was enough to inspire the Viola to a comfortable 5-1 victory where Borja Valero sparkled, and the Tuscan outfit showed us why they have been the best team to watch in Italy this season. And it seemed as if they would be rewarded for their thoroughly entertaining style as Siena led for 84 minutes thanks to a Claudio Terzi header from a pinpoint cross from Alessandro Rosina.

The game and Milan's fate turned when referee Mauro Bergonzi awarded an extremely soft penalty for a Felipe's shirt pull on Mario Balotelli. The home side remonstrated with the official, and their manager Giuseppe Iachini was sent to the stands for protesting too vociferously.

Super Mario calmly waited and dispatched the penalty, and it was a matter of seconds before Milan had completed the comeback. Philippe Mexes was beautifully picked out by a looping Riccardo Montolivo pass, and the Frenchman stuck the ball away the second time to send Milan into ecstasy.

Elsewhere, Udinese managed an eighth successive victory at the San Siro to inflict more misery on Inter Milan, with Antonio Di Natale's special striker the highlight in the Zebrette's 5-2 win. Francesco Guidolin has guided the Friulani to fifth place—a wonderful achievement when you consider the heavy losses of Samir Handanovic, Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla last summer.

Andrea Stramaccioni must wait and see whether Massimo Moratti will afford him another season with the Nerazzurri as they plundered to ninth in the table and will now have to suffer the embarrassment of playing in the preliminary stages of the Coppa Italia—a consequence of finishing outside of the top eight.

Parma swept aside Palermo 3-1 in a rather meaningless game in Sicily, but it should be remembered for Massimo Gobbi's stunning volleyed strike for the Crociati, who have ended up with a top-half finish under Roberto Donadoni—a satisfactory season after losing their talisman Sebastian Giovinco to Juventus last summer.

Roma warmed up for the Coppa Italia final next weekend with a superb victory against the league's runner-up, Napoli.

Goals from Marquinho and Mattia Destro sealed victory at the Olimpico, although Edinson Cavani added to his tally for the season that has been enough to claim the capocannoniere award. El Matador has 29 goals, while Di Natale was next with 22 goals.

Despite fielding a strong side, Lazio were defeated by Cagliari thanks to Daniele Dessena's striker and will now enter the Derby della Capitale for the cup in the same boat as the Giallorossi, all or nothing.

So the Scudetto was won by the worthy champions Juventus for a second successive time in a thrilling season that will come to a close in the capital next weekend. Rome will never be the same again.