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Lecce safe after late penalty drama, Lazio reclaim second

Lecce safe after late penalty drama, Lazio reclaim second

May 28, 2023 (AFP)

Lecce ensured Serie A survival on Sunday after late penalty drama gave them a 1-0 win over Monza, while a crushing late draw with Empoli left Verona needing help to stay up.

Lorenzo Colombo rammed home the spot-kick which maintained Lecce's Serie A status in the 11th minute of stoppage time after Christian Gytkjaer was penalised for handball following a VAR check.

Former Denmark forward Gytkjaer had a penalty of his own saved by Wladimiro Falcone with six minutes of regular time remaining.

That allowed Colombo to fire Lecce five points clear of the drop zone, where Verona sit in the final relegation spot after a gut-wrenching Giangiacomo Magnani own goal in the sixth minute of injury time which snatched a 1-1 draw for safe Empoli.

Marco Zaffaroni's team had looked set to move above 17th-placed Spezia when substitute Adolfo Gaich pounced on the rebound just after the hour mark after Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario failed to hold Cyril Ngonge's powerful drive.

Instead they are level on 31 points with their relegation rivals, whom they might have to face in a play-off devised this season to decide who ends up in 18th place between teams who finish on the same points.

Verona play their last fixture of the season at AC Milan, who will claim the final Champions League spot if they avoid defeat at troubled Juventus in Sunday's late match, while Spezia travel to Roma.

Victor Osimhen's brace wasn't enough for Napoli as the newly-crowned Italian champions threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Bologna.

Nigeria forward Osimhen took his season's tally to 30 in all competitions with finishes in the 14th and 54th minutes but it wasn't enough for Luciano Spalletti's side.

Lewis Ferguson pulled one back in the 63rd minute and Lorenzo De Silvestri headed the hosts level in his final home match as a Bologna player. 

Napoli won their first league title since 1990 this season but coach Spalletti is set to leave in the summer as part of the latest shake-up at southern Italy's biggest club.

Another late goal allowed Lazio to reclaim second place from Inter Milan with a 3-2 win over Cremonese, already relegated alongside bottom club Sampdoria.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic nodded in from close range in the 89th minute after confusion at a corner to snatch the points at the Stadio Olimpico.

Serbia midfielder Milinkovic-Savic had put Lazio two goals ahead at half-time but Pablo Galdames and a Manuel Lazzari own goal had the away side level within four second half minutes just before the hour mark.

His late winner puts Lazio two points ahead of Inter with the two teams travelling to Empoli and Torino respectively on the final day.

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