It was an important final day of the season in the Italian Serie A. With the title already assigned to Juventus a couple of weeks ago, two positions in the table were still up for grabs. The first was the last Champions League spot. The second was to determine who would fill the last available position to go to Serie B with Verona and Benevento.

The Champion's League battle

The last place available in next year’s Champions League was a business for two: Lazio and Inter. Juventus, Napoli, and Roma had secured their respective presence in continental football for next year in the previous weeks.

As a twist of fate, the last fixture of the season saw Lazio opposed to Inter in Rome. Not even the best script of a thriller would’ve imagined that in the final game of the season the contenders for the last Champions League spot, would face each other.

The situation was quite clear for both clubs. Inter, sitting three points behind, had only one chance to get back in Europe: winning. Lazio, on the other hand, had more leeway counting on a win or, in the worst case scenario, a tie.

As the game unfolded, it was clear that Lazio was the better team for almost 80 minutes. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (a possible new acquisition for José Mourinho at Manchester United next season) scored an early first goal for Lazio, thanks, also, to an unfortunate Ivan Perisic deflection.

Danilo D’Ambrosio put the ball in the net from a corner to equalize the match for Inter deep into the first half. The draw, however, didn't last long because Lazio capped a beautiful counter-attack with Felipe Anderson who put the ball past Samir Handanovic to bring Lazio up again 2-1 to close the first half.

Lazio had full control of the match as Inter didn't seem to have enough weapons to throw at their opponent and turn the game around.

Desperation, though, can push a coach to invent solutions that reveal them as real winners sometimes. As a matter of fact, Inter's coach, Luciano Spalletti, decided to abruptly change the setup of his squad by putting a second striker, Eder, to play closer to Mauro Icardi and then taking off Rafinha for the French right-winger Yann Karamoh.

Those changes contributed to altering the course of the game. In fact, Icardi was awarded a penalty kick for a foul made by the future Inter fullback (he signed as a free transfer), Stefan De Vrij on a perfect pass by Eder. The Inter striker put the ball in the net with a precise shot on the left of Lazio's goalkeeper. It was Icardi's 29th goal in Serie A this season. Inter, almost without knowing why and how, was at a level, again. Lazio lost confidence. They even lost a man, as his captain, Senad Lulic, was ejected for getting a second yellow card due to an intentional foul on Inter’s midfielder, Marcelo Brozovic. The momentum of the game switched, and it was clear that Inter, unexpectedly, had better chances to win the game.

People talk about the importance of set pieces in Soccer. Inter, for once, confirmed the assumption. Matias Vecino, in fact, scored with a header from a corner in the 36th minute of the second half to put Inter ahead. 3-2 and Lazio, dejected, out of gas, and with a man down, couldn't manage to score a third goal. Inter won and reached Lazio at 72 points in the table. But, thanks to a better goal difference in the two matchups (the first match between Inter and Lazio ended 0-0 in San Siro), Inter finished the season in fourth place and got a ticket to next years' Champions League. The last time Neroazzurri took part in the most important European competition in club soccer was a long time ago: six years.

The fight to avoid relegation

The relegation battle was the other element that kept Italian soccer fans on their toes, with several teams not mathematically sure to stay up. S.P.A.L and Udinese had a great shot at achieving the goal of avoiding relegation and took full advantage of their respective home games against teams that had nothing left to play for in the season.

S.P.A.L had to win to remain in Serie A. The players delivered an excellent performance by winning against Sampdoria 3-1 and kept the club free from relegation with 38 points in the table. In the meantime, in Udine, one goal was enough for Udinese to get the three points against Bologna and finish the league with 40 and stay in Serie A for one more year.

In Verona, Chievo needed just one point to stay alive. They did even better by winning 1-0 with the already relegated Benevento thanks to a second-half goal scored by Roberto Inglese (who will play for Napoli next season). Chievo finished the season with 40 points, paired with Udinese.

Cagliari was another team that had to win to avoid problems. A header by Luca Ceppitelli was enough to do the trick against Atalanta at home. Finally, Crotone was the last club in desperate need of three points and then hope for some good result elsewhere. The task was almost impossible being Crotone the only team involved in the relegation battle that had to play an away game, against a top-tier opponent: Napoli.

The odds were against Crotone which ended their season badly. Napoli won 2-1 and condemned the opponents to relegation in Serie B.

To sum it up

Here it is a final recap of how this Serie A season ended. Juventus, according to, will have Massimiliano Allegri as a head coach for next year. Napoli, Roma, and Inter go into the 2018/2019 Champions League. Lazio, Ac Milan, and Atalanta go to next year's Europa League. Crotone, Verona, and Benevento are relegated in Serie B.

At the same time, Empoli and Parma have been officially promoted to Serie A. The third team to jump in the Italian top soccer division from Serie B will be the one that wins the playoffs that will begin this week.