Palermo, Siena relegated to Serie B after Sunday losses

The Canadian Press
5/12/2013 7:06:20 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Palermo was relegated from Serie A after losing 1-0 to Fiorentina from former player Luca Toni's goal on Sunday.

The result left the Sicilian side five points behind 17th-place Genoa, which drew 0-0 at home to Inter Milan. With one round remaining, Torino also secured safety with a 1-1 draw at Chievo Verona. It is six points above Palermo.

Genoa's result meant Siena was also relegated, without kicking a ball. It later lost 2-1 at second-place Napoli. Palermo and Siena join already relegated Pescara in Serie B next season.

Fiorentina moved two points behind AC Milan in the race for third spot, ensuring the battle for the Champions League qualifying spot goes down to the final round. Roma drew 0-0 at 10-man Milan in a match which was briefly suspended in the second half because of racist chanting directed at Italy striker Mario Balotelli by the visiting Roma fans.

"Unfortunately in Italy there is still this mentality, with a culture which is a bit retrograde," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "People should go to the stadium to watch a football match. Unfortunately these things continue to happen.

"We had two games to clinch third spot, now we only have one left. We have to try to win at Siena. We are aware that destiny is in our own hands and we can win at Siena. The lads have to be calm because they have had a great year."

Sulley Muntari was sent off at the end of the first half for placing his hands on the referee in an attempt to prevent the official from booking Balotelli.

Roma captain Francesco Totti was also shown a straight red card after elbowing Philippe Mexes in stoppage time.

With top-flight safety at stake, all three relegation matches kicked off at lunchtime.

Torino had slipped closer to danger after picking up just two points from the previous seven rounds and things got worse when it found itself 1-0 down inside 10 minutes.

Cyril Thereau took advantage of Valerio Di Cesare's slip to fire across goal into the far corner from a tight angle.

However, Torino levelled nine minutes later when Alessio Cerci converted a penalty after Dario Dainelli tripped Angelo Ogbonna. Torino should have been awarded another penalty in the second half for a poor tackle by Bostjan Cesar on Ogbonna, but the referee waved away the appeals.

In Tuscany, Toni came back to haunt Palermo.

Toni scored 30 league goals in his first season at Palermo, to fire them into the top flight in 2004 for the first time in 31 years. The Italian striker then helped the side qualify for Europe before departing for his first spell at Fiorentina.

He scored four minutes from halftime. Borja Valero sent Juan Cuadrado down the right flank and his cross to the far post allowed Toni to slot home from close range. Fabrizio Miccoli's free kick flew inches wide of the post for Palermo in the final minutes.

Injury-hit Inter had lost seven of its past nine matches to leave them out of Europe next season for the first time in 14 years. Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic kept Inter in the match with several stunning saves. And Inter almost snatched all three points when Tommaso Rocchi spun round to smash a curling shot off the crossbar.

Udinese moved a step closer to securing the last Europa League spot after it beat Atalanta 2-1 for a record seventh successive victory. Antonio Di Natale, who hit the crossbar in the opening minutes, scored both goals for Udinese after Giuseppe De Luca's opener.

There was bad news for Udinese as Di Natale was stretchered off with a knee injury shortly before full time.

Lazio remained two points behind Udinese after a 2-0 win over Sampdoria.

Sergio Floccari scored the opener and Antonio Candreva sealed the result with a cheeky chipped penalty after a clumsy challenge by Daniele Gastaldello on Ogenyi Onazi.

Sampdoria's Renan was sent off moments earlier for saying something to the referee.

Siena had been fighting against relegation since a six-point penalty for its part in the betting scandal was imposed at the beginning of the season. It was playing for little more than pride against Napoli and took the lead through Fabrizio Grillo, on his Serie A debut.

Edinson Cavani, who had hit the woodwork twice and had a goal ruled out for offside, levelled before Marek Hamsik won the match for Napoli in stoppage time.

Elsewhere, goals from Saphir Taider and Davide Moscardelli gave Bologna a 2-0 win at Parma.

Fabrizio Miccoli (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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