- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

MILAN (AP) - Napoli won 2-1 at Torino to boost its chances of qualifying directly to the Champions League, while Roma celebrated Francesco Totti’s 600th Serie A appearance with a 3-0 win over Chievo Verona on Sunday.

Gonzalo Higuain scored his 33rd goal of the season as Napoli moved back into second spot, restoring its two-point advantage over Roma. Its tally of 79 points is the highest in the club’s history.

Second place behind champion Juventus secures a spot in the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition, with the third-place team entering the playoffs.

Napoli hosts Frosinone in the final round of Serie A fixtures next weekend, with Roma visiting AC Milan.

“This victory is an important step but there’s still one match left,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “We have to keep our heads focused on the league because we cannot get it wrong.

“I hope the stadium will be full, so that it will give us a hand for this task.”

Elsewhere, World Cup winner Luca Toni scored a cheeky chipped penalty in the final match of his career to set bottom club Hellas Verona on its way to a surprise 2-1 victory over Juventus.

Toni was substituted five minutes from time to an emotional standing ovation.

Juventus defender Alex Sandro, who had conceded the opening penalty, was sent off in stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card.

“Let’s say that this is a healthy defeat,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We didn’t do anything good. Playing a game like this doesn’t have sense. We didn’t win a challenge, we committed so many errors.

“We’ve had the wrong approach in the past few matches, but that’s enough now. We won the league a month ahead, we celebrated it as we should have, but now we have to get back to the job … we need to refocus as a group in the build up to the all-important Italian Cup final.”

Juventus faces AC Milan in the final on May 21.

Sassuolo boosted its chances of a Europa League place as a late goal handed it a 1-0 win at Frosinone, which was relegated.

Palermo moved out of the relegation zone by drawing 0-0 at Fiorentina, with Carpi replacing the Sicilian side in the bottom three after losing a chaotic match 3-1 to nine-man Lazio.

One of those two sides will be relegated after Udinese drew 1-1 at Atalanta to secure its spot in the top flight next season.

Jerry Mbakogu, who scored Carpi’s goal, had two penalties saved, while both teams also hit the woodwork before Lucas Biglia and Filip Djordjevic were sent off in the final seven minutes.

Also, Genoa won 3-0 at Sampdoria in a local derby.

Napoli knew it had to win to leave direct Champions League qualification in its own hands.

It took the lead in the 12th minute when Marek Hamsik sent a through-ball to Higuain, who stroked his effort into the far bottom corner. The Argentina forward is the first player to score 33 Serie A goals in a season since Antonio Valentin Angelillo in 1958-59.

Hamsik was again the provider as Jose Callejon doubled Napoli’s advantage 10 minutes later.

Higuain also hit the woodwork before Bruno Peres netted for Torino to set up a nervy final 24 minutes.

Torino midfielder Giuseppe Vives was sent off in stoppage time following a second booking.

As it was Roma’s final home game of the season, some ultras suspended their boycott of the Curva Sud, packing out the Stadio Olimpico.

Radja Nainggolan fired Roma into the lead in the 18th minute and Antonio Rudiger headed Miralem Pjanic’s free kick in at the back post shortly before halftime.

Chievo threatened to pull one back but Paul-Jose M’Poku’s effort crashed off the post.

Totti came off the bench to a standing ovation in the 59th. Only Javier Zanetti (615) and Paolo Maldini (647) have made more Serie A appearances.

He was instrumental in Roma’s third goal with a sublime one-touch pass to perfectly set up Pjanic.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide