Juventus left it late, but pushed its Serie A lead to 17 points with Nos. 2 and 3 Roma and Napoli playing on Monday.
Andrea Pirlo scored in the 89th minute as The Old Lady won 1-0 at mid-table Genoa. Juve was outshot 14-6 and needed four saves from Gianluigi Buffon, but carried more than half of possession.
Meanwhile, AC Milan’s miserable season continued with a 4-2 home defeat to Parma that had the ultras fuming (and their chief executive rather humbled). Christian Abbiati took a red card in the fifth minute 11-man Parma took advantage. After the match, Milan boss Clarence Seedorf and a number of players including Kaka and Mario Balotelli met with the fans to discuss the hard times.
“It was a very peaceful meeting, nothing in particular,” the Dutchman told Sky Sport Italia. “After two years of suffering they wanted to express their feelings.
“I just went to watch. There is great respect for the Milan shirt on the part of everyone. Sometimes it helps just to listen and give the fans a voice, so they know we hear them.
“I experienced something similar when I was at Botafogo [in Brazil]. If they feel the fans are helping, the team will react.”
The team’s in a bad spot. Twelfth place is bad enough, but it’s reasonable to envision a scenario where Milan could fall as far as 15th. The meeting was a nice touch from the players, who need to step their games up dramatically, especially at San Siro.
There was a big shakeup at the bottom of the table. Sassuolo climbed off the bottom of the table by sending Catania to the basement with a 3-1 win and Livorno left the drop zone behind for a day with a 2-1 win over Bologna.
It looked business as usual for Sassuolo when Gonzalo Bergessio scored in the 30th minute, but three different Black and Greens scored to give the team hope of survival. Catania remains winless on the road and are now four points from safety, while Sassuolo is a point higher and three points back of Chievo and Livorno.
That’s because Livorno got two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half before taking two red cards and still holding on to beat Bologna, pushing its opponents into the last relegation slot. It’s going to be a maddening couple months in Italy, as five teams are within four points of each other in slots No. 15-20.
- Verona 0-2 Inter Milan — Inter still harbors Top Three hopes after Rodrigo Palacio and Jonathan score for a road win.
- Atalanta 3-0 Sampdoria —Nerazzurri, winners of three straight, move into the top half of the table with two goals before half and another on the other side.
- Cagliari 0-2 Lazio — Lazio responded to a fan protest last week with a comfortable win on the road, with Senad Lulic and Keith scoring. They out-attempted Cagliari 17-8 after the hosts saw a red card to Daniele Conti in the 77th minute.
- Fiorentina 3-1 Chievo — Goals from Mario Gomez, Alessandro Matri and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado helped the home side keep its faint Top Three hopes alive.
- Torino vs. Napoli — Monday
- Roma vs. Udinese — Monday