Milan beats Juventus to secure spot in Champions League
MILAN (AP) — AC Milan secured its spot in next season’s Champions League by winning 1-0 at Juventus on Sunday — barring any off-field developments.
Olivier Giroud’s goal late in the first half was enough for Milan to secure a spot in the top four in Serie A as it left the Rossoneri six points above fifth-place Atalanta with just one match remaining.
Milan also moved eight points above Juventus. However, the Bianconeri could still appeal the 10-point penalty it was given for false accounting.
Coming into the match, Juventus was the only side that could possibly replace Milan in the top four in the Italian league.
But its hopes had imploded last week after the points deduction and a 4-1 loss at Empoli.
Milan knew a point would be enough and both sides had chances before Giroud broke the deadlock, five minutes before the break, when he peeled away from his marker to head Davide Calabria’s cross into the far bottom corner.
Juventus almost snatched an equalizer late on as Danilo’s volley from a corner appeared to be heading into the back of the net from close range but Milan defender Pierre Kalulu cleared it off the line.
Former Juventus and Inter coach Antonio Conte was in the stands, fueling speculation he will replace Massimiliano Allegri at the end of the season after a second straight season without silverware.
FINAL DAY BATTLE
The fight to avoid relegation from Serie A will go down to the final day of the season — and possibly beyond — after Hellas Verona drew 1-1 against Empoli.
Verona appeared to be heading for a vital victory thanks to Adolfo Gaich’s second-half strike but defender Giangiacomo Magnani deflected the ball into his own net in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
That left Verona still in the relegation zone but level on points with 17th-place Spezia.
Verona visits Milan on the final day of the season, while Spezia travels to Roma. If both are level, under new rules, there will be a playoff to decide which one remains in Serie A.
Lecce secured its spot in Serie A next season with a late 1-0 win at 10-man Monza.
Lorenzo Colombo converted a penalty with the last kick of the match following Christian Gytkjær's handball. Gytkjær earlier had a penalty saved.
Elsewhere, Bologna fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Serie A champion Napoli and Lazio moved into second spot with a 3-2 victory over Udinese.
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