Roma secures Europa League spot

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri lost to the club who could well offer him his next challenge in Serie A management as Roma beat the league’s second-best team 2-1 on the last day of the season.

The Tuscan tactician announced his departure from Napoli soon after Sunday’s season-ending clash at the Stadio Olimpico, which was settled by second-half goals from Marquinho and Mattia Destro.

Roma, who could replace interim boss Aurelio Andreazzoli with Mazzarri in the coming days, rode out an open game to tie down sixth place after Edinson Cavani struck late on.

Much like his manager, the Uruguayan is expected to move on at the end of a campaign which has seen the Azzurri finish second for the first time since 1990.

Goran Pandev’s night was over before it had began as injury forced the Macedonian striker off the pitch for Omar El Kaddouri inside seven minutes.

Roma were first to threaten as Destro twisted to meet Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick, only for Antonio Rosati to punch the ball out for a corner.

The Azzurri came within a whisker of taking the lead in the 16th minute as Cavani left Nicolas Burdisso standing still to make a dash into the box.

However, he hit the ball with his left boot instead of switching feet and the shot was wayward.

Destro blasted over the crossbar from a good position before Valon Behrami made a decisive tackle on Marquinho in the Napoli box, with referee Luca Banti rejecting impassioned pleas for a penalty.

Marek Hamsik bared his teeth as the half-time break drew near with Bogdan Lobont responding with a punched clearance, but it was Roma who passed up a fine chance before the interval.

Rosati had done enough to deny Marquinho but he was left helpless as Destro smashed the ball against a post, with the wildly-bouncing ball swept away by an acrobatic overhead kick by Paolo Cannavaro.

Disaster had been averted, but not for long, as Roma broke the deadlock moments after the restart.

Napoli’s defense did not see it coming as Marquinho made his way to the edge of the box to beat Rosati with a searing right-footed drive.

Barring an offside one-on-one encounter between Cavani and Lobont, Napoli were offering little by way of response and Roma were two goals to the good shortly before the hour mark.

Nimble footwork from Destro saw the young Italy international hurdle Rolando to fool Rosati with a dummied finish on his left boot.

That sparked something in Mazzarri’s men and, after Hamsik had glanced substitute Emanuele Calaio’s cross just wide, Napoli hit back through a familiar source.

It was a 36th goal of the season for Cavani, who may never score for the Azzurri again, as he tucked the ball home when it fell favorably for him in the Roma box.