Italian Serie A Wrap, May 15

BY foxsports • May 15, 2011

Sampdoria was relegated from Serie A after it lost 2-1 at home to Palermo on Sunday and is now out of Italy's top flight for the first time since 2003.

The Genoa-based team needed a win to survive until the final round of matches, but the loss combined with Lecce's 2-0 victory over Bari means Sampdoria is four points behind Lecce.

Bari and Brescia were already relegated.

At the other end of the table, Napoli secured the point it needed to qualify for the Champions League next season with a 1-1 draw at home to Inter Milan.

It will be the first time that Napoli has competed in the competition in its current form. It twice competed in the European Cup after winning the Italian title in 1987 and 1990.

Sampdoria forward Nicola Pozzi found the net in the 30th minute but the strike was ruled out for offside, and Palermo captain Fabio Miccoli took advantage of the let off by giving Palermo the lead in first half injury time.

Jonathan Biabiany gave Sampdoria some hope early in the second half, but Mauricio Pinilla scored the winner four minutes from time.

"We had a good game today," Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone said. "We can't just look at this one game or one single moment and I don't want to blame any one player."

Inter was quickly into its stride against Napoli and Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring when he shot past Morgan De Sanctis from the edge of the area.

Napoli drew level just before halftime. Christian Maggio's header caused problems in the Inter area and when the defense failed to clear Juan Zuniga pounced to scramble the ball into the net.

Early in the second half Diego Milito and Marek Hamsik went close with chances and Maggio nearly set up Zuniga for a second, but he turned the wingback's low cross wide.

At the final whistle the San Paolo stadium erupted in celebration, the players wore commemorative T-shirts and the coach Walter Mazzarri joined the players in a lap of honor.

Lecce needed two moments of magic from Jeda in the second half to ensure its place in Serie A. First he was left unmarked to head home a corner. Then his goalbound shot was inadvertently turned in by Bari's Andrea Masiello.

For Sampdoria, relegation marks a complete turnaround in fortunes after it began the season in the Champions League and was looking forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary of its only Serie A title.

Miccoli gave Palermo the lead when he took one touch to control Josip Ilicic's flick on and shot low into the far corner of the goal.

After the break Sampdoria came out with renewed vigor and Zsolt Laczko fired a freekick over the bar. Two minutes later Biabiany brought Sampdoria level when he rose above Palermo goalkeeper Francesco Benussi to head in from close range.

As the match continued though, it was Palermo who appeared the most likely to find the winner and Abel Hernandez and Matias Munoz both came close with chances.

Eventually Pinilla sealed Sampdoria's fate when he counter attacked from deep, exchanged passes with Hernandez and fired a shot past Sampdoria goalkeeper Angelo Da Costa.

Roma's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League came to an end with a 2-1 loss away to Catania.

Simone Loria gave Roma an early lead, but Gonzalo Bergessio equalized with 12 minutes to go and Alejandro Gomez then hit an injury time winner.

"We didn't miss out on the Champions League because of this game with Catania," Roma coach Vincenzo Montella said. "We knew it would be difficult here. The fans here really don't like Roma and we knew the Catania players would really be giving their all."

Also Sunday, it was; Fiorentina 1, Bologna 1; Cesena 1, Brescia 0; Chievo Verona 0, Udinese 2; Parma 1, Juventus 0.


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