Tuesday, Oct 26th 2021 6:15 AM

Market Digest Nigeria


Atalanta qualify for champions league for the first time in history

Atalanta have qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history on the final day of the Serie A season with a 3-1 victory over nine-man Sassuolo. The Bergamo side, in their 112th year, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Roma all went into the final round of fixtures in contention for the final two spots. However, it was Atalanta and Inter, in third and fourth at the start of the day, who took the places. Atalanta secured an easy home win over Sassuolo and Inter triumphed 2-1 over Empoli, who were already relegated.

Atalanta finished with 69 points, ahead of Inter on head-to-heads. Their coach Luciano Spalletti is set to be replaced by former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, and at times it seemed as if he would fail in his mission to leave the Nerazzurri with the parting gift of a Champions League spot. They were well and truly out of the running when AC Milan went 2-0 up inside 23 minutes. Keita Balde’s low drive in the second half put the issue back in their control before Empoli levelled with 14 minutes left to leave Inter in fifth spot, as it stood. However, five minutes later Radja Nainggolan fired in after Matias Vecino’s strike came off the post to relieve the tension. Empoli substitute Salih Ucan came close to denying Inter late on and saving his own club from the drop, but the home side hung on for victory.

AC Milan squandered a two-goal lead at Spal before Franck Kessie netted the winner from the spot in a 3-2 victory – their fourth in a row but not enough to improve their league position. Sixth-placed Roma were the outsiders for a top-four finish but gave Daniele De Rossi a winning send-off in a 2-1 victory over Parma. De Rossi was afforded a standing ovation when he was replaced after 82 minutes and, although Gervinho levelled four minutes later, Diego Perotti restored Roma’s lead. AC Milan ended their campaign in fifth with a 3-2 win at SPAL and Roma defeated Parma to take sixth place. They will both play in next season’s Europa League.

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