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Fiorentina, Palermo and Empoli clinch UEFA Cup places

20 May 2007 19:46

ROME (AFP) - Fiorentina, Palermo and Empoli claimed the three UEFA Cup places available to Serie A clubs on Sunday.

Fiorentina drew 2-2 at already relegated Messina, while Palermo beat Siena 2-1. Empoli threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with struggling Reggina, but the result was still good enough for the Tuscan club to clinch a place in European competition for the first time in their history.

Of the three sides to qualify for European football's second tier competition, the achievement of Fiorentina is the most remarkable given their 15-point deduction for match-fixing.

The battle to avoid joining Messina and Ascoli in Serie B next season will go right down to the wire with five teams - Siena, Reggina, Catania, Parma and Chievo - still involved in the survival scrap. Just two points separate the anxious quintet going into the final round of matches.

Champions Inter Milan, who lost the Italian Cup final to Roma on Thursday, were held to a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

On Saturday AC Milan veteran Alessandro Costacurta scored in his last home match before hanging up his boots after having spent 20 years at the club.

But the 41-year-old's second-half penalty could not prevent the Champions League finalists from losing 3-2 to Udinese.

With Milan having already clinched a place in the third qualifying round of next season's Champions League and this year's final against Liverpool in Athens just days away, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti picked a side that will bear no resemblance to the one that takes the field in the Greek capital.

Costacurta, who will stay on at Milan to assist Ancelotti, was overcome with emotion after he received a standing ovation at the San Siro.

"It was a great celebration and I want to thank everyone - the club, my team-mates and the fans," said the player best known as 'Billy' who did a lap of honour after the final whistle before getting the bumps by his colleagues.

"Now the moment has arrived for me to do something new, and I think the challenge of my new profession will be enough to keep me from dwelling on the past.

"I had many other options, but I wanted to remain a part of this glorious club."

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Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0
6 0 +0 0
7 0 +0 0
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0
11 0 +0 0
12 0 +0 0
13 0 +0 0
14 0 +0 0
15 0 +0 0
16 0 +0 0
17 0 +0 0
18 0 +0 0
19 0 +0 0
20 0 +0 0

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