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Cavani on target as Napoli win final home game

12 May 2013 16:17:04

Cavani on target as Napoli win final home game

Edinson Cavani scored what may have been his final goal in front of Napoli's fans in a 2-1 win over relegated Siena as Lazio and Udinese both won to boost their Europa League hopes on Sunday.

Uruguayan international Cavani has been tipped to leave Napoli after a season in which his 28 league goals so far have secured a runner-up finish behind Juventus and guaranteed Walter Mazzarri's side Champions League football next season.

However Napoli's fans had to wait until the 73rd minute for the equaliser after Fabrizio Grillo had given Siena a 36th minute opener, Cavani nodding home from close range after Marek Hamsik's free kick had caused chaos in the Siena box.

Napoli looked to be heading for a draw but when Goran Pandev dummied Lorenzo Insigne's pass from the right Hamsik collected and coolly beat Siena 'keeper Gianluca Pegolo to secure the Neapolitans' 23rd win of the season.

While Napoli have secured second place and the second automatic Champions League spot the fight for the league's final qualifying place continues between AC Milan and Fiorentina.

Earlier Sunday Fiorentina's 20th win of the campaign, they beat Palermo 1-0, closed the gap to the seven-times European champions to one point ahead of the Rossoneri's later home match against Roma and guaranteed at least a place in next season's Europa League.

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has been linked with a move to a bigger club, but he played down talk of a move to richer pastures.

"We are discussing the length of the contract. The most important thing is we remain together but also that we know exactly what our plans are," said the 38-year-old.

Lazio and Udinese made sure the fight for the two Europa League places will go right down to next week's final round of games with 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Sampdoria and Atalanta respectively.

Sergio Floccari gave Lazio a 10th minute lead and Antonio Candreva made it two from the spot in the fourth minute of injury time, securing an 18th win of the season which kept the Biancocelesti in sixth, two points behind Udinese.

Udinese have enjoyed a roaring end to the campaign and veteran striker Antonio Di Natale continued his purple patch by scoring both the northerners' goal to take his tally to 22 for the season.

Earlier Sunday Palermo and Siena followed in the footsteps of already-relegated Pescara.

It means Palermo return to Serie B for the first time since their triumphant 2003-2004 season in Italy's second tier.

Coach Giuseppe Sannino, sacked from his post by Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini in September only to be re-hired in March after Gian Piero Gasperini suffered the same fate, said he was unsure of his future.

"It's not the right time to decide my future at the club, you can't make decisions with your heart. We have to sit down to discuss many issues," said Sannino.

"Everyone needs to accept their part of responsiblity for this. I am not a miracle worker."

He added: "We need people who are not afraid to suffer and who love this shirt."

Genoa began the day with a four-point cushion over Palermo but are now five points ahead having played out a scoreless draw at home to Inter Milan.

Inter were the last Italian club to win the Champions League, in 2010, but having started this league campaign positively the Nerazzurri are set for a finish just above mid-table and will not play in Europe next season.

Andrea Stramaccioni's side have been decimated by injuries in recent months and this latest setback will heap further pressure on the 37-year-old coach.

Stramaccioni, however, claims to have the backing of Inter president Massimo Moratti as he looks ahead to an improved campaign in 2014.

"We have a strong relationship which is honest and sincere," said Stramaccioni.

"I'm optimistic and convinced that we can lay the foundations for a better campaign next season."


AFP

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