16 May 2004

Amauri 18						Pecchia 12
Zanchetta 22

Pecchia gave Bologna the lead with a low shot from Signori's lay off but Chievo were level
five minutes later when Amauri headed past Pagliuca at the second attempt then took
the lead when Zanchetta fired a shot from the edge of the box past Pagliuca. Bologna lost
interest and but for poor finishing would have left the Bentegodi with a thrashing.

Chievo : Semioli and Santana faded after bright starts. Del Neri is still waiting for the call
from a big club

Bologna : Signori is gone, there is no immediate successor. Bologna better have a good
youth policy.

Assists : Signori, Amauri

Lucchini 18						Adriano 46, 69
Rocchi 83						Recoba 65 (fk)

Inter found themselves in the familiar position of needing a victory on the last day of the
season but this time the scudetto wasn't at stake and this time chokers Vieri and Ronaldo
weren't around to screw things up, this time Inter had Adriano. Empoli also needed a win
in order to avoid the drop. Lucchini gave them the lead when he blasted in a rebound after
Toldo parried a free kick. Adriano headed in Kily Gonzalez's free kick. Recoba scored three
minutes after coming on as a substitute for Martins with a stunning free kick and Adriano
literally ran through the Empoli midfield and defence to score Inter's third. Rocchi set up a
tense finish but Inter held on.

Empoli : Rocchi has had a spectacular season and should find a place in Serie A.

Inter : Adriano and Martins will avoid the end of season cull, it seems most of the others
are up for grabs.

Attendance : 11,000
Assists : Kily Gonzalez (fk), Adriano (won fk), Tavano

Corradi 17						Amoruso 83 (Pen)
Cesar 49

Fortunately for Serie A despite this victory Lazio failed to qualify for next season's Champions
League. Lazio paraded the Coppa Italia after this match. Corradi scored a rare goal with his feet,
it was clearly a fluke as early in the second half he did a Heskey impression when trying to shoot
first time, the clubs best finisher (defender Cesar) was on hand to blast in the rebound. Amoruso
converted a penalty awarded for handball.

Lazio : As a major force in Serie A, Lazio are done. Stam is off to Milan and I doubt Cesar and Fiore
will be at the Olimpico next season. There isn't a player under the age of 25 in the entire squad.

Modena : Kamara is an exciting talent but is anyone prepared to take a gamble on him?

Attendance : 60,000
Assist : Cesar

Chevanton 10						Dall'aqua 31
Franceschini 37

Chevanton scored direct from a corner, Dall'aqua equalised from one. Franceschini restored
Lecce's lead when he tapped in Chevanton's centre. There was an incredible miss late on,
Sicignano dropped the ball at Cozza's feet and he shot wide.

Chevanton left the field to a standing ovation in what may be his final match for Lecce.

Lecce : Chevanton will be a big loss. Lecce have a great crop of youngsters.

Reggina : Cozza is one of the best attacking midfielders in the league. Reggina need to
keep him.

Assists : Nakamura (ck), Chevanton

Tomasson 35, 59						Matuzalem 53, 69
Shevchenko 37
Rui Costa 66

Although Kaka' upstaged Baggio 'il divine cordino' was giving a fitting send off in this highly
entertaining encounter. Kaka' regained possession in midfield with a back heel, dummied a
Brescia player before racing downfield and sliding a pass through for Tomasson, the great
Dane took one touch to control the ball before rifling past Castelazzi. Shevchenko, who
missed a sitter in the opening minutes, tapped in his 24th league goal and ensured he
finished as Serie A top scorer for the second time in his career after Castelazzi spilled Cafu's
shot. Baggio curled a free kick against a post.

Matuzalem's speculative shot took a wicked bounce off the San Siro turf deceiving Abbiati.
Shortly after Tomasson headed in a rebound he made way for Rui Costa and he capped what
may be his last appearance for the club with a fine goal. He received the ball with his back to
play, turned and fired a low shot inside Castellazzi's post. Matuzalem played the ball into
Baggio, he chipped it forward and the Brazilian midfielder hit a stunning right foot volley
beyond Abbiati. Both sets of supporters started to chant Baggio's name and he left to a
standing ovation after being substituted in the 83rd minute.

Milan : The champions took 22 out of 24 points against their main rivals, they did the double
over Roma, Lazio and Inter and also took four points of Juve while setting a new points
record. To put things into perspective had they maintained their points average in a 20
team league they would have ended the season with 92 points (five more than Arsenal).
The only blot was the inexplicable Champions League loss to Depor. Reinforcements will
arrive in the summer. This summer's European Championship will be the poorer for the
absence of the best attacking midfielder in the World, Kaka'.

Brescia : Baggio will be badly missed. Brescia will do well to hold onto Matuzalem.

Attendance : 80,000
Assists : Kaka', Del Nero, Redondo, Baggio

Gilardino 60, 71, 77, 85					Kroldrup 55
							Jorgensen 75
							Jankulovski 91

Kroldrup headed in a corner. Gilardino brilliantly turned the big Dane to score the first of
his four goals, which drew comparisons from the commentator with Gerd Muller. Gilardino
headed in Marchionni's corner and Jorgensen made it 2-2 on the break. Gilardino completed
his hat-trick with a magnificent volley then lobbed over De Sanctis to score his fourth and
23rd league goal of the season. Jankulovski blasted in the seventh goal but fortunately for
Shevchenko there wasn't enough time for Gilardino to score a fifth.

Italy will head into the European Championships without their best striker.

Parma : As with Lazio barring billionaires from the East Parma are done as a major
force but unlike Lazio this is a team packed with spectacular young talent but unfortunately
for them they're gone.

Udinese : With financial problems crippling Lazio, Parma and Roma Udinese will not
have a better chance to move up the ladder and push for a champions league place, IF
they get their chequebooks out.

Attendance : 14,000
Assists : (ck), Carbone, Marchionni (ck), Iaquinta, Morfeo, Jorgensen

Bothroyd 63

Perugia were dead and buried a month ago but a stunning run which included victories
over Juventus and Roma, who admittedly had nothing to play for, culminated with
Bothroyd's winner and moved the club into 15th place earning them a play-off against the
6th placed team in Serie B. This was a bizarre match as Hedman made three World Class
saves from Bothroyd, Ze Maria and Fabiano before Bothroyd beat him with a shot which
rolled between his legs. Ravanelli has been the catalyst for Perugia's mini revival.

After Perugia's president Sersi Cosmi threatened to pull his team out of the last four Serie A
matches league president Adriano Galliani paid him a visit and talked him into changing
his mind.

Perugia : Perugia may only delay the inevitable even if they retain Serie A status with victory
in the play-off.

Ancona : Marcon is a decent goalkeeper, everyone else at the club is rubbish.

Attendance : 16,000
Assist : Ravanelli
Red Card : Fortunato 43 (Ancona)


Capello took the bizarre decision to 'rest' Totti and Cassano and blooded several youngsters -
Corvia, Wahab and Galasso. Bazzani's poor finishing didn't help his prospects of a move to

Sampdoria : Half the squad were begged and borrowed from other clubs. Bazzani has been
linked with a move to Milan. Former Fiorentina bench warmer Flachi is the most spectacular
goalscorer in the league.

Roma : Financial problems will prevent the club from being genuine contenders at home and
in Europe. Roma have an outstanding crop of youngsters.

Attendance : 26,000

Flo 37							Tudor 32
							Miccoli 40
							Di Vaio 60

Lippi signed off with a victory with his final match in charge of Juve before possibly succeeding
Trap as International team coach (which is a disaster waiting to happen as he'll keep picking
Del Piero, Birindelli and Pessotto). Tudor headed in a corner but went missing on Junior's
cross allowing Flo to volley in the equaliser. Miccoli put Juve back in front with a blistering
shot from 30 yards then picked out Di Vaio with a great lob and he lashed a half volley past
Fortin. There were no further goals as Miccoli was substituted for Del Piero.

Siena : The blueprint for promoted clubs. The perfect balance between youth and experience.

Juventus : The end of an era. This is a club in need of major rebuilding. Lippi made the same
mistake as Capello in his latter years at Milan, failed to rebuild an ageing defence.

Attendance : 13,500
Assists : Miccoli (ck), Junior, Di Vaio, Miccoli

Final Thoughts

I think it's safe to say the long ball nightmare is well and truly over. The spectacular attacking
football that was a feature of Serie A in the early 90's has returned. This has been a thoroughly
enjoyable championship and not just because of Milan's success. Roma hit the heights more
often and played with a level of flair and imagination not seen since the days of the three
Dutchmen but failed to match Milan's consistency. I'm not looking forward to a 20 team
league, I've always felt 20 teams just increases the level of mediocrity in the lower half of
the table. On the positive side, the financial crisis will leave clubs with no choice but to blood
youngsters and continue to work with the players they have at their disposal. That's exactly
what has happened at both Parma and Roma this season and there's certainly no shortage
of promising talent in the Italian game anymore.

R Mehdi