Udinese qualify for Champions, Roma in Europa

Udinese qualified for the Champions League for only the second time in their history after a 0-0 draw at home to AC Milan ensured they took fourth place in Serie A.

Updated: May 23, 2011 12:55 IST
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Rome: Udinese qualified for the Champions League for only the second time in their history after a 0-0 draw at home to AC Milan ensured they took fourth place in Serie A.

Lazio missed out on Europe's premier club competition on goal difference despite their 4-2 win at Lecce.

And Roma qualified for the Europa League at Juventus's expense with a 3-1 win at home to Sampdoria.

But Udinese matched their achievement from 2005 when they also finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League.

Milan didn't look likely to upset the party as coach Massimiliano Allegri left out a host of first team players such as goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, centre-back Alessandro Nesta and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Udinese started the game brightly without creating too many clear-cut chances before Milan gradually snared control.

Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic had to be alert to dash from his line and deny Clarence Seedorf, set up by Antonio Cassano.

Handanovic then saved well from Pato, again teed up by Cassano, who then also served Kevin-Prince Boateng, only for the Ghana midfielder to shoot high.

Pato had a shot blocked in the second half before Udinese, sensing the urgency of the situation, stepped up a gear.

Antonio Di Natale had a great chance on 64 minutes as he scampered onto a defence-splitting through ball and forced Marco Amelia into a smart save.

Seedorf then brought down Alexis Sanchez in the box only for Amelia to tip Di Natale's penalty onto the post.

Udinese were pushing and Gokhan Inler went as close as is possible to scoring when his long range effort beat Amelia, only to hit the bar, then post and bounce to safety.

But when the final whistle went, the stadium in Udine erupted into scenes of jubilation.

Needing to win, Lazio were made to work and toil by Lecce before fulfilling their part of the bargain.

Twice in the first half they took the lead only to be pegged back but when Lecce goalkeeper Massimiliano Benassi was, harshly, dismissed in giving away a penalty in the second period, the fight went out of the hosts.

Tommaso Rocchi had given Lazio the lead on a breakaway only for Manuel Coppola to equalise with a slightly fortuitous lob.

Mauro Zarate put Lazio almost immediately back in front only for Ignacio Piatti to restored parity a second time.

But when Benassi was shown a straight red card for bringing down Rocchi early in the second half, Lecce's hopes all but died.

Zarate converted the spot-kick and just past the hour mark Giuseppe Vives shanked a corner past his own goalkeeper.

Roma only needed a point to ensure they took sixth place and the last Europa League spot but they made sure with victory.

It was perhaps bitter-sweet as a 2-1 defeat on the same ground to the same opponents last season proved cost Roma the Serie A title.

Daniele Mannini sent panic into the home fans when he gave Samp the lead on 26 minutes, only for a crisp Francesco Totti finish to level matters four minutes later.

Mirko Vucinic turned inside his marker and shot home at the near post after the break and Marco Borriello mopped up the loose ball after Totti's free-kick proved too hot for goalkeeper Junior Costa to handle.

Juventus needed Roma to lose to have any hope of avoiding a second successive seventh-placed finish and third year in six out of Europe.

But they could not even manage to beat Napoli, who held on for a 2-2 draw in Turin.

Christian Maggio put the visitors ahead at the break with a back post header from a right-wing cross.

Giorgio Chiellini bundled home an equaliser after Morgan De Sanctis spilled Luca Toni's header from Alessandro Del Piero's corner.

Cristiano Lucarelli headed Napoli back in front off the far post but Alberto Aquilani's slide-rule pass set up Alessandro Matri to slot under De Sanctis's body.

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