November 26, 2022

Atalanta and Inter Milan joined Juventus and Napoli as next year’s Serie A representatives for the UEFA Champions League, courtesy of wins over Sassuolo and Empoli, respectively, during Sunday’s matchday 38 action.
AC Milan and AS Roma were still in contention for a top-four finish as well, but Atalanta and Inter took care of business to stay ahead of them in the standings. Juventus lost their final match 2-0 away to Sampdoria, and Napoli lost to Bologna on Saturday.
Atalanta are into the Champions League for the first time in club history 👊
Here are Sunday’s results:
Torino 3-1 Lazio Roma
Sampdoria 2-0 Juventus
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Inter 2-1 Empoli
Roma 2-1 Parma
SPAL 0-3 Milan
Atalanta 3-1 Sassuolo
Cagliari 1-2 Udinese
Here is a look at the final table (Team, Played, Goal Difference, Points):
1. Juventus 38, +40, 90
2. Napoli 38, +38, 79
3. Atalanta 38, +31, 69
4. Inter 38, +24, 69
5. AC Milan 38, +19, 68
6. Roma 38, +18, 66
7. Torino 38, +15, 63
8. Lazio 38, +10, 59
9. Sampdoria 38, +9, 53
10. Bologna 38, -8, 44
11. Sassuolo 38, -7, 43
12. Udinese 38, -14, 43
13. SPAL 2013 38, -12, 42
14. Parma Calcio 1913 38, -20, 41
15. Cagliari 38, -18, 41
16. Fiorentina 38, +2, 41
17. Genoa 38, -18, 38
18. Empoli 38, -19, 38
19. Frosinone 38, -40, 25
20. Chievo 38, -50, 17
For a look at the full table, visit
Lazio Roma will play Europa League football after winning the Coppa Italia. They’ll be joined by AC Milan and Roma. Empoli, Frosinone and Chievo are relegated.
With four clubs still vying for a UEFA Champions League ticket, the final matchday promised to be a dramatic one:
Things started out very well for Milan, with goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Franck Kessie before the 25th minute seemingly securing their spot in the Champions League. Domenico Berardi had given Sassuolo a shock lead against Atalanta after 19 minutes, sending Milan into a virtual third place.
Over in the Italian fashion capital, Empoli goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski was putting on a show, and his team had plenty to play for still:
Empoli keeper Dragowski singlehandedly trying to make sure they stay up. Amazing saves.
That meant that Inter, who had won just one of their last five matches, were virtually out of the top four once Atalanta equalised through Duvan Zapata:
Inter have been in a Champions League spot all season long. Losing out on this during the last round of the season is the ultimate sports gut punch.
The positive results for Atalanta and Milan also meant AS Roma’s bid to vault into the top four on the final matchday never looked realistic, and the fans instead focused their energy on thanking Daniele De Rossi and Claudio Ranieri. The manager was left in tears:
Ranieri in tears after Curva Sud banner: “You answered in a time of need”.
There was one last bit of drama to come still before half-time in all the matches, as Marten de Roon fell to the ground after minimal contact with Sassuolo captain Francesco Magnanelli, sparking a mass brawl.
In the confusion, scorer Berardi was sent off, although it was hard to tell why:
There's a lot of screens in front of me right now, and I honestly still haven't seen a good replay of what Berardi individually did to get sent off. But it's a huge, huge boost for Atalanta. He scored Sassuolo's opener and continued to look a threat thereafter.
Inter manager Luciano Spalletti made the decision to bring on Keita Balde at half-time, and it proved to be a masterstroke, as the speedy forward was the one to find the breakthrough.
That meant Atalanta’s Cinderella run was virtually over:
Inter 1-0 Empoli. Keita Balde, on as a half-time sub for Inter and gives them the lead 5 minutes later. As it stands: Milan clubs into the Champions League, Atalanta out.
But Papu Gomez came through when his club needed him the most, scoring just minutes later to move Atalanta past Milan in the virtual standings. And almost simultaneously, Mohamed Fares completed a shock comeback for SPAL, tying things up with Milan.
All of a sudden, Milan were in real trouble, needing Empoli or Sassuolo to bail them out. The former kept their bid to avoid relegation alive when Dragowski again stepped up, saving a Mauro Icardi penalty:
As a wise erudite named Rasheed Wallace once said.. BALL DON'T LIE… (I think this phrase works for this scenario?) Dragowski saves a dubious Icardi penalty.
Kessie reclaimed the lead for Milan with a penalty of his own shortly after, but as long as the other results held, it wouldn’t matter. And when Mario Pasalic made it 3-1 to Atalanta against Sassuolo, all the attention turned to the San Siro and the match between Inter and Empoli.
Samir Handanovic made several key saves to retain the lead, but Hamed Junior Traore gave Empoli and Milan fans hope a late miracle was in store when he beat the Slovenia international after 77 minutes. 
Dalbert comes on, Inter get torn apart down his flank, Empoli score. Luciano Spalletti’s “protect the lead” subs once again cause his side’s undoing. He just can’t help it can he?
Per Serie A writer Adam Digby, Spalletti’s tinkering cost his team this time around:
Radja Nainggolan soon restored the lead, however, sending Empoli into Serie B, Milan into the Europa League and Inter into the Champions League. Keita, the scorer of the first goal, was sent off late for an incident involving Dragowski.
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