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Thursday May 9 2013
The final curtain

There are still two games left this season, but, as Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up Week 36, there is not a lot to play for.

If Serie A was a school they would be bringing out the board games. All the real lessons are over and more than one mind has already drifted to the summer holidays. A midweek round of matches just about confirmed the final grades for all its students.

Juventus were already champions and their victory in Bergamo - courtesy of Alessandro Matri - suited both sides. Results elsewhere meant any fears Atalanta might have had of relegation were banished. The match, however, was not the love-in you might imagine as crowd trouble held up proceedings for several minutes in scenes which everyone could have lived without.

The Bianconeri, having celebrated 31 Scudetti when the record books show 29, seem intent on pursuing their own personal agenda. Their stated aim is to beat the club’s championship-winning points haul record of 91 set by Fabio Capello’s team of 2005-06. That title, of course, was one of those taken off them by the Calciopoli verdicts. You just know they are never going to let that one lie. And Inter fans, for their part, will continue to point out that Antonio Conte’s side cannot match the 97-point tally their team managed in 2006-07.

One of the few concrete verdicts from Wednesday night was Napoli’s confirmation as Champions League group stage qualifiers with a win over those beach-towel carriers from Bologna. Having shipped six to Lazio, at least Stefano Pioli’s men held out until the second half before succumbing to Edinson Cavani and company. But the San Paolo side were never going to miss out on the chance to secure second place against a defence with more space in it than an episode of Star Trek.

It is job almost done in third place, too, as Milan downed the sunken Dolphins of Pescara who have already dived into Serie B. A penalty, as if they needed it, opened the 90-minute torture of home goalkeeper Mattia Perin. That it only finished 4-0 probably had more to do with kindness than any real reflection of the gap - in quality and motivation - between the two sides.

Fiorentina at least did their bit to keep some notional pressure on the Rossoneri for that last Champions League spot. They edged out Siena thanks to another strike from their defensive bomber Gonzalo Rodriguez. Their lack of the ability to kill an opponent off could have cost the Viola dear once more. As it is, they have a Europa League spot almost in the bag while their Tuscan opponents were all but consigned to the second division.

Roma’s shock home smash and grab defeat to Chievo left the door open to rampant Udinese to rise further up the table and they took it at poor Palermo’s expense. That is six wins in a row for the Friuli boys and, as Francesco Guidolin points out, his players have finally got to know one another. They could be bound for Europe again - no doubt with a whole new bunch of signings - while Fabrizio Miccoli’s tears at full time underlined that the Rosanero are on the brink of demotion.

Also on the rise were Lazio with a 3-1 win against a calamitous Inter side which cannot wait for this campaign to end. When Samir Handanovic starts making mistakes, you know things are going badly. And a Ricky Alvarez penalty which went skyward seemed to sum up the Nerazzurri’s season. It was the kind of blunder which will have him scrambling around YouTube trying to delete every piece of footage being posted. Ogenyi Onazi, on the other hand, will be watching his super strike for the Biancocelesti over and over and over.

Elsewhere, Parma won the battle for best mid-table team with Cagliari while Sampdoria managed to get the point they needed against Catania to ensure they are in the top flight next season. The job was also just about done for Torino and Genoa after they played out an Italian-style draw. A share of the spoils was favourite with the bookmakers before kick-off and the match action did little to change that impression, even if the demanding Granata support jeered their players for not pushing harder for the win. They might yet live to regret that course of action but, in truth, it looks like the traditional end of season pragmatism of Serie A will be rewarded once more.

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Have your say...
@Dario

What is your point exactly? Do you have any facts, perhaps you know something that none else knows in regards to the history of Serie A?
What is it that you may think you know about either Juve or Inter that could actually make you so certain that either club is actually more or less corrupt than maybe the club you support?
As a Juve supporter, what i have seen on the field of play and read in the papers for over 28 years i can say that Juve is not corrupt! But then again so can any Inter fan or Milan fan or Napoli fan. Which one of us who support our clubs can say that they honestly know everything that is going on at their club? Im sure there is dirt on any Serie A club through out the history that we can dig up and analyze. I just hope that these childish arguments over who is corrupt and who is not finally stop because if Calciopoli proved anything it is that the Italian courts are either the most useless waste of time or the most corrupt entity in Italy. And without being either directly or indirectly involved in the Calciopoli proceedings you have very little valuable input in any arguments when it comes to both Inter or Juve.
on the 12th May, 2013 at 4:54pm
still waiting for some juve and inter fans to say their clubs are not corrupt!! All they argue about is who is less corrupt!
on the 12th May, 2013 at 9:14am
i can never ever trust juve ever again they never win on field
on the 11th May, 2013 at 8:42pm
inter are a small team? hahahaha thats the funniest thing i have heard in while. they have more champions league trophies than dodggy juve as for them only in corrupt italy will they win so much
on the 11th May, 2013 at 8:39pm
Inter will probably benefit from not being in the Europa league next season. They need some major investment, what has happened to them is inevitable when you sell off your best players and don't buy suitable replacements.
on the 11th May, 2013 at 12:29pm
Juve are cheets proven. Inter are not officialy. Do you not think its strange that for years we had some catastrophic collapses with no real explanation until calciopali. Juve were behind the dodgy desisions against inter. Then when its cleaned ip and we win the triple against The best Spanish and Getman sides dont forget you say that Inter aren't the best... Well i say if you think that your an idiot and you don't love Italian football so start watching something else.
on the 10th May, 2013 at 4:53pm
Vito Doria, this could be wishful thinking on my part, but Udinese could surprise us & have a good run in Europe next season. They have a larger squad now, & it will bolstered even further by the return of their players out on loan. In Muriel & Vydra they have finally got decent back-up for Di Natali, & in Zielinski they have a great talent. Aside from perhaps Benatia, there doesn't seem to be as many stories linking their players with summer moves, as usual. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
on the 10th May, 2013 at 11:54am
BTW @Ademola, what happened to that club after they won the treble, taking a vertical dive? look at the current table, -33. #MindTheGap

@ac_scrimizzi, this has been said million times, Juve only guilty of unsporting behavior while Inter were guilty of sporting fraud, the only thing that stopped Inter from being relegated to Lega Pro is the statute of limitations, ask Palazzi.

@All Interisti, never been in B huh? check up Prima Divisione 1921/22, Inter should have been relegated back then.
on the 10th May, 2013 at 11:43am
So funny reading all these comments from juve and inter fans...both arguing about which team is more corrupt. Guess what guy... both teams are as bad as each other and lets not forget Milan too who also had points deducted for some dodgy dealings but then look at who their President is!
on the 10th May, 2013 at 11:26am
@Adamola,
You mean the treble that you won with the players and power you were gifted in a court room? If the sham of calciopoli didnt happen Inter wouldnt have won anything... 2006-2010 are all paper titles wrongfully gifted

Inter Milan are a small team, its no coincidence that the last genuine scudetto they won was in 1989 and now the big teams have recovered from calciopoli they are sat in 8th with no direction back to the top. They havent ever made themselves a big club in 14 years
on the 10th May, 2013 at 8:12am
@zaza

I agree with you but either Roma or Lazio will qualify for the Europa League through the Coppa Italia Final. Sadly we will probably see Udinese lost to Swiss or Slovenian minnows next season.
on the 10th May, 2013 at 8:11am
Why should we ?? Because you cheated and 2 scudetti were rightfully taken from you, so shut up about it!
on the 10th May, 2013 at 3:38am
Well said Ademola!! Forza Grande Inter 2010 greatest Italian club in history proven by an unbeatable 5 trophies in 1 year!! We hold all records, highest points 97, most consrcutive wins 17 only Italian team to have spent its entire history in Serie A most goals scored in a season 103 only Italian side to win back to back European Cups the list goes on...Forza Inter.
on the 10th May, 2013 at 12:03am
Take it easy @pado
on the 9th May, 2013 at 10:56pm
@Vinman
You're being ridiculous if you think Juventus deserved the title after there was evidence of cheating. Call Inter what you want, but they're not cheaters. Or at least they haven't been caught.
on the 9th May, 2013 at 10:04pm
@Pado the next best haul is the 2010 treble...watch the space!
on the 9th May, 2013 at 5:24pm
Hope Verona can come up big club with history

Crucial that Lazio finish ahead of Udinese!! Cannot have them in Europe again, as much as I admire how the club is run they don't keep hold of their top players
on the 9th May, 2013 at 1:38pm
Yes, the 97 point total has an asterik next to it.
on the 9th May, 2013 at 1:18pm
"That title, of course, was one of those taken off them by the Calciopoli verdicts. You just know they are never going to let that one lie". Why should we ?? We were robbed of our titles by a kangaroo court led by Inter, and then the truth came out that Juve did nothing any different that Inter, Milan or anyone else. Justice doesn't seem to exist in Italy, and the narrow-minded journalists like yourself proves that point.
on the 9th May, 2013 at 12:29pm
Pado I couldn't said it any better myself
on the 9th May, 2013 at 12:24pm
As for the 97 points in 2006-07, no Serie A fan takes seriously the events of that season. The top club playing in B, Inter handed everything by Guido Rossi. All matched fixed in Inter's favor, and most of the top clubs starting with huge points handicaps. What is the next best haul after the fake 97?
on the 9th May, 2013 at 12:00pm

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