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AC Milan and Juve secure UCL spot as Napoli slip

Serie A top-four race: AC Milan and Juve secure Champions League qualification as Napoli slip

May 23, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The two Italian giants will feature in Europe's elite league after a dramatic final day in Serie A.

The final round of matches in Serie A brought good tidings for fans of Juventus as their side finally ended their fears of featuring in the Europa League next season by sneaking into the top-four. The Bianconeri secured an emphatic 4-1 away win over Bologna in their final game of the season but had their charge aided by Napoli dropping points in the 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona. 

Juventus entered Sunday's game knowing that a win and a favorable result from either one of the Atalanta-AC Milan and Napoli-Hellas Verona fixtures should be enough to take them to the promise land. They started off on a high note, scoring the game's opener inside the sixth minute through Federico Chiesa. Alvaro Morata subsequently increased their advantage to two in the 29th minute before Adrien Rabiot made it a three-goal cushion ahead of half-time. 

Morata found the back of the net again just two minutes after play resumed for the second half but had his goal initially ruled for offside. A brief review by VAR, however, restored the goal for the Spaniard before Riccardo Orsolini grabbed a late consolation for the hosts. Over in Bergamo, AC Milan had run away with a 2-0 win over Atalanta thanks to two spot-kicks expertly converted by Frank Kessie.

The real twist emanted from Naples as Genaro Gattuso's side struggled to breakdown a stubborn Hellas Verona side. There was a brief glimmer of hope after Amir Rrahmani came through with the game's opener goal but that only lasted for nine minutes, as Davide Faraoni will subsequently score the equaliser for the visitors. In the end, the Partenopei could not get the all-important goal that will lead to the demotion of Juventus, with the Turin club finishing in fourth-place with 78 points while they dropped to fifth with 77.

The win for AC Milan over Atalanta fired them into second place while the latter dropped to third with 78 points, a point less than the Rossoneri accumulated in the campaign. Even more remarkable was the fact that Stefano Pioli have secure their highest finish in Serie A since 2012/13 (3rd) while qualifying for the Champions League football for the first time since 2013/14.

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