It was all to play for up and down Serie A as we headed into Matchday 36 of the 2021/22 season.
The margin between AC and Inter Milan in the race for the Scudetto was just two points as the Nerazzurri hosted Empoli and Hellas Verona played host to the Rossoneri.
Four sides, meanwhile, were still in play for Europe with six sides yet to secure their place in Serie A next season.
Serie A Matchday 36 round-up
So, what went down on Matchday 36? Here’s a round-up of all the action.
Milan hold their nerve
Inter Milan led at the top of Serie A for 48 hours after they came from behind to beat Empoli 4-2. The Nerazzurri quickly wiped out the visitors’ two-goal advantage at the end of the first half before Lautaro Martinez scored his second to give the hosts a 3-2 lead just after the hour.
Inter were in full control from then on, and their victory was wrapped up by Alexis Sanchez at the death.
That result piled the pressure on Milan, and their tricky test on paper was made tougher when Davide Faraoni opened the scoring against the Scudetto contenders. The Rossoneri had seen their title aspirations dashed twice at the Bentegodi before, but a combination of Rafael Leão and Sandro Tonali ensured that their hopes remained intact this time around.
Leão twice teed up Tonali to overturn Milan’s deficit before Davide Calabria emphatically sealed a crucial win.
Battle for Europe hots up
Fabian Ruiz scored the game’s only goal as Napoli beat Torino 1-0 on the road to affirm their grip on third place in Serie A. Luciano Spalletti’s side made the most of Juventus’ Friday night slip-up and extended their lead over the Bianconeri to four points with just two games left.
While Napoli and Juventus have secured their respective places in next season’s Champions League, four teams are still competing for two Europa League spots and a place in the Conference League.
Fiorentina’s 2-0 victory over AS Roma, who’ll qualify for the Europa League proper if they beat Feyenoord in the upcoming Conference League final, saw them draw level with the Giallorossi on 59 points in the Serie A table. Atalanta are also back in the mix after they beat Spezia 3-1 on Sunday. They, too, are on 59 points.
Lazio were the big winners on Matchday 36 as they pulled ahead of the chasing pack by beating Sampdoria 2-0 following goals from Patric and Luis Alberto. The Biancocolesti are now three points clear of the three sides below them in fifth, but they have two difficult fixtures to round off the season.
Dogfight down the bottom
Genoa’s victory over Juventus on Friday night breathed fresh life into their bid for survival. Following his late penalty miss in the Derby della Lanterna, Domenico Criscito was given a shot at redemption against Juventus when Genoa were awarded a spot-kick with just seconds remaining.
The former Italian international made no mistake on this occasion, sending Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way to gift Alexander Blessin’s side an imperative triumph.
They were able to close the gap on 17th-placed Salernitana to two points after their momentum was halted by Cagliari on Matchday 36. Both sides had men sent off as Giorgio Altare struck at the death for Cagliari to salvage a point in Salerno.
Even Venezia, who hadn’t won in Serie A since February, were victorious in thrilling fashion on Matchday 36. They beat Bologna 4-3 thanks to a Dennis Johnsen stoppage-time winner to give them just a glimmer of hope of survival.
Best of the rest
In the least consequential fixture of the weekend, Sassuolo and Udinese played out a forgettable 1-1 draw at the Mapei. Juventus transfer target Giacomo Raspadori teed up Gianluca Scamacca for the game’s opener.