This weekend was witness to yet another shameful farce that taints the name of football, and in Italy it seems to be becoming a regular occurrence. Steven Gerrard’s errant back-pass was the abiding memory of the Premier League’s penultimate round of fixtures, almost certainly denying arch-rivals Manchester United the chance to win the league.
On Sunday evening in Rome however, such a pass would almost have been too much effort for a Lazio side determined to lay down and offer zero resistance to Jose Mourinho’s Inter as they chased down city-rivals Roma to regain the lead in the see-saw battle Serie A has become.
Lazio: “Friends of Inter”
Lazio’s fans had spent the week imploring their players not to hand the Giallorossi the title, and the players duly obliged in a strange Olimpico atmosphere, eerily reminiscent of the 1982 World Cup match where a draw suited both.
Inter’s play was greeted with cheers from the home crowd during this easiest of 2-0 wins, who then booed their own team. All this because Roma had won 2-1 in Parma on Saturday afternoon, keeping the title challenge alive and ensuring maximum tension for the Italian Cup Final between Inter and Roma on Wednesday.
Milan also won on Saturday, a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina which guarantees Leonardo’s men Champions League football next season. The same assurances cannot be given over the coach’s future, as his post-game interviews did little to appease fears he is headed for the exit.
Constant sniping from Silvio Berlusconi has worn thin with the Brazilian, and unlike his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti, Leonardo is too proud to sit there taking it for another seven seasons.
“He said WHAT????”
Elsewhere the race for fourth place is no officially over for Juventus, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Catania in another dire performance. Palermo and Sampdoria kept their own dreams alive with wins over now relegated Siena and Livorno.The two face each other next week in what is now effectively a playoff for fourth.
Bologna and Atalanta drew, which helps Bologna avoid Serie B but probably seals Atalanta’s fate. A shame, because if there truly were “football God’s” looking down, they would conspire to relegate Lazio after their most unsporting of gestures.
Week 37 Fixtures; Bologna-Catania, Fiorentina-Siena, Genoa-Milan, Inter-Chievo, Juventus-Parma, Livorno-Lazio, Napoli-Atalanta, Palermo-Sampdoria, Roma-Cagliari, Udinese-Bari