Napoli strengthened their hold on third place in Serie A on Saturday, beating Torino 1-0 to keep Juventus at bay, while Lazio moved into the Europa League spot with a 2-0 win over Sampdoria.
Luciano Spalletti’s side took advantage of fourth-placed Juve’s shock 2-1 loss at Genoa on Friday to move four points ahead with two matches left to play.
Fabian Ruiz’s strike in the 73rd minute secured the points for Napoli after Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty was saved by Etrit Berisha just after the hour mark.
Napoli have already qualified for next season’s Champions League but will want to finish as high as possible after their bid to claim a first league title in over 30 years faltered in the final weeks of the campaign.
“We managed to qualify for the Champions League, a huge goal, and some people don’t seem to understand that,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“We should get some credit for what we’ve achieved this season.”
Southern Italy’s biggest club last won the league in 1990, when Diego Maradona was still strutting his stuff, and topped the table on several occasions this season.
Two awful defeats to Fiorentina and Empoli — and a home draw with Roma — in April crushed their title hopes, even though mathematically they could still win the Scudetto.
They are five points behind leaders Inter Milan who claimed top spot on Friday with a come-from-behind 4-2 win over Empoli, but can be finally ruled out of the race by AC Milan on Sunday.
Seven-time European champions Milan are at Verona and will regain the summit with either a win or a draw at the Stadio Bentegodi.
The defeat meant little for Torino who stay 10th, level on 47 points with Sassuolo following their 1-1 home draw with Udinese.
Lazio sink Samp
With the Champions League spots already decided, Lazio made a play for Europa League football by seeing off a Sampdoria team who are not quite safe from relegation 2-0.
Lazio are three points ahead of Roma in fifth, with their local rivals at Fiorentina on Monday night on a high after reaching the Conference League final midweek.
Maurizio Sarri’s side were the better team throughout at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and never looked like giving up the points once Patric headed home Luis Alberto’s corner four minutes before half-time.
Spaniard Luis Alberto was superb and added to his 10th assist of the season by classily finishing off a rapid attack to double Lazio’s lead in the 59th minute.
The 29-year-old collected Manuel Lazzari’s threaded pass before rounding Samp goalkeeper Emil Audero, cutting back inside and then sliding his shot between two defenders.
The defeat for Samp keeps them five points above Cagliari, who sit just inside the drop zone and travel to 17th-placed Salernitana on Sunday.
Marco Giampaolo’s side should be safe with their two key rivals in the fight against relegation set to take points off each other.
However their final two games are against Fiorentina and Inter, the latter of whom could very well be battling for the title come the final weekend of the season.