Cagliari stun Udinese in seven-goal thriller

Relegated Cagliari held on to dominate Udinese 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller on Sunday as the fight for European places in Italy`s Serie A went down to the wire.

Cagliari`s drop into Serie B was confirmed two weeks ago but the Sardinians, some of whom cried tears at full-time, were determined to put a silver lining around what has been a roller-coaster season.

The hosts took a 2-1 lead into the interval after Marco Sau and Joao Pedro struck inside 20 minutes, with Paraguayan Ivan Piris reducing arrears on the stroke of half-time.

Cagliari stretched their lead thanks to Paul-Jose M`Poku`s 79th minute strike, but the Sardinians were forced to endure a tense finish when Bruno Fernandes found the target only two minutes later.

Portuguse midfielder Fernandes turned villain for Udinese minutes later with an own-goal that stretched Cagliari`s lead again before French forward Cyril Thereau scored a late consolsation for the visitors two minutes from time.

Cagliari finished the season third from bottom to join Cesena and Parma in Italy`s second division, with Udinese seven points higher just beyond the drop zone.

Champions Juventus finished the season with 26 wins and just three defeats from 38 games after being held 2-2 by Verona on Saturday in a match which saw Luca Toni score once to stretch his goals lead in Serie A to 22.

Verona striker Toni will finish ahead of Juve striker Carlos Tevez (20) although Mauro Icardi`s Inter Milan, also on 20 goals, will face Empoli in one of Sunday`s late games.

With their first double in 20 years already secure following a Cup final win over Lazio, Juventus will now set their sights on beating Barcelona in the final of the Champions League.

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri hinted after a comparatively shaky performance by his side that his players` mind are already turned towards next week`s showpiece in Berlin.

"We played well in parts, at other times we were less focused and made technical mistakes. We handled our lead badly, missing a penalty, and not seeing out the final few minutes," said Allegri.

"We`ll rest Sunday and get to work on the game from Monday onwards. It`s not every day you get to play a Champions League final and we need to prepare for it calmly."

Later Sunday, Napoli host Lazio in a top-of-the-table clash that will decide which team could join Juventus and Roma in next season`s Champions League.

Juve and Roma have already secured the league`s automatic qualifying spots and Lazio, in third a point ahead of Napoli, require just a draw at the San Paolo to secure a place in the competition`s qualifying round.

A Napoli win would see Rafael Benitez`s men move up to third place thanks to their better head-to-head record against Lazio, whom they beat 1-0 earlier this season.

Sampdoria and Inter will meanwhile hope to win their respective games at home to Parma and Empoli to maintain their late push for a place in the Europa League.

Napoli, unless they move up to third, and Fiorentina are already qualified and Genoa, in sixth place, have been forced to forfeit their Europa spot because their Luigi Ferraris stadium does not meet UEFA norms.

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