Posted on May 06
Udinese took charge of the race for a Champions League finish as they beat Genoa 2-0 on Sunday and closest rivals Napoli fell by the same scoreline at Bologna.
The two sides were level on points coming into the match but this result means Udinese will guarantee third spot if they avoid defeat away to Catania next weekend.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin was elated at the end.
"We need legs, heads and heart, we're one point from paradise, an achievement I would never have imagined," he said.
"Now we have a final against Catania, it will be difficult because they're one of the most in-form teams in the league.
"We've rediscovered the legs and solidity we were missing in February and March."
Lazio are still in the race after their 2-0 win at Atalanta while Inter Milan could also remain in it if they win their city derby later on Sunday night.
But the big losers were Napoli who were disjointed in a poor performance at Bologna.
Alessandro Diamanti exploited a massive hole in their defence to clip the opener past Morgan De Sanctis on 17 minutes.
And Napoli conceded a second on the counter-attack after going hell for leather early in the second half, with Matteo Rubin firing home off the underside of the bar.
And it could even have been worse as Bologna captain Marco Di Vaio hit the post as well.
Both teams had a player sent off in a flare up at the end of the game.
Napoli had come into the match in third place with the better head-to-head record than Udinese but now they must hope for several results to go their way if they are to snatch third spot.
"We'll try to beat Siena and hope that Catania play with the same determination Bologna showed today," said Napoli's disappointed coach Walter Mazzarri.
Udinese's task was made much the easier by Genoa having two players sent off in the first half.
Juraj Kucka was dismissed for a second yellow card in giving away the free-kick from which Antonio Di Natale fired the hosts in front.
And when Rodrigo Palacio was shown a straight red later in the half, Genoa's task appeared hopeless.
Udinese laboured to break down their now ultra-defensive opponents while they had a goal ruled out for a foul when Michele Pazienza had found the net.
But the second came when Antonio Floro Flores got on the end of Dusan Basta's cross at the back post to find the top corner.
Genoa's defeat means they are still not safe from relegation despite Lecce's 1-0 home defeat to Fiorentina on Saturday.
Genoa need a point from their final game of the season to survive.
Lazio moved up to fourth and are two points behind Udinese after Liubor Kozak's deflected shot and Lorik Cana's last gasp strike gave them victory in Bergamo.
They have the toughest final match of the season, though, as they host Inter knowing that they must win and hope Udinese lose to take third spot.
Parma's revival under former Italy coach Roberto Donadoni continued with a 2-0 victory at Siena on Sunday, their sixth victory in a row.
The result kept Parma in with an outside chance of qualifying for next season's Europa League, although to do so they would still require a collapse from either Inter Milan or Lazio.
Parma were deep in relegation trouble and hovering just above the drop zone when Donadoni took over in January.
The big matches happen on Sunday evening where Inter host AC Milan in their city derby and Juventus travel to Trieste to tackle Cagliari.
Juve lead champions Milan by a point at the top of the table and could secure a record 28th league title if they win and the rossoneri fail to do likewise.