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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Milan surprise Viola, Juve edge closer

The pressure on AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf was lifted a little as his side picked up their first win in five games by beating Fiorentina 2-0.

Mario Balotelli and Philippe Mexes gave AC Milan all three points against Fiorentina.
Mario Balotelli gave AC Milan an unexpected lift against Fiorentina.

Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli scored the goals at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as the Rossoneri celebrated a rare victory to reignite fading hope of qualifying for Europe next season.

La Viola's own European ambitions suffered a setback as they can practically write off clinching a place in the Champions League, with 10 points now separating them from third-placed Napoli who resisted a valiant fightback from doomed Catania to ride out a 4-2 victory at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.

First-half goals from Duvan Zapata, Jose Callejon and Henrique made the final outcome look like a foregone conclusion but bottom side Catania hit back through Fabian Monzon and Norbert Gyomber.

The Azzurri sensibly decided to shut the game down and successfully put three more points on the board in their bid to catch second-placed Roma, who are now only six points better off in Serie A.

Carlos Tevez scored twice to end Parma's lengthy unbeaten run as Juventus took another huge step towards retaining the title with a 2-1 win.

Sixth-placed Parma arrived in Turin having avoided defeat in 17 games but quickly succumbed to a first-half brace from Tevez, who recovered his position as the championship's leading scorer.

Cristian Molinaro turned the game into a contest for its final 30 minutes yet the dismissal of striker Amauri left Parma toothless and unable to force the draw late on.

Juve are now once again 14 points clear of second-placed Roma and look set to clinch their third straight Scudetto in a matter of weeks.

Carlos Tevez continued his fine recent form with a brace against Parma.
Carlos Tevez continued Juventus' march towards the Serie A title.

Genoa delivered a blow to Lazio's hopes of playing in Europe next season with a 2-0 win at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Alberto Gilardino and Ioannis Fetfatzidis scored the goals for Gianpiero Gasperini's men, who can now look forward to another season in the top flight having put 39 points in the bank, only three less than their guests.

For Lazio, it was an evening to forget as they also lost Cristian Ledesma to a red card late on.

Sassuolo are staring at the reality of a quick return to Serie B after 10-man Sampdoria moved into the top half of the table with a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore.

Samp always had the psychological edge after opening the scoring through Gianluca Sansone inside 18 seconds but Sassuolo are fighting for top-flight survival and levelled through Alessandro Longhi.

The chances were shared in a frenetic second half and it was Stefano Chuka Okaka who grabbed the goal that Samp needed to reach ninth place in the table.

Defender Vasco Regini saw red at the death, but it did not affect the final outcome.

Chievo claimed a crucial three points in their battle to avoid relegation after swatting aside fellow strugglers Bologna 3-0.

Alberto Paloschi's brace and a last-minute effort by Luca Rigoni saw Chievo to an impressive win that vaults them out of the bottom three.

They are now one place and one point above Bologna, who occupy the last position of safety above the drop zone and hold a two-point advantage over third-bottom Livorno.

Atalanta pushed Livorno even closer to the Serie A trapdoor while keeping alive their hopes of playing in Europe next season thanks to a 2-0 win in Bergamo.

Even without the suspended Maxi Moralez, Stefano Colantuono's men had enough firepower to see off the Tuscans with Giuseppe De Luca and German Denis netting the goals.

The win takes the Bergamo side to within four points of the top five, although Inter Milan, the side they beat at the weekend, are in action against Udinese on Thursday night and could pull seven points clear.

A solitary goal from Nene eased Cagliari's relegation fears and inflicted a fourth straight defeat on freefalling Verona.

The Sardinians had slipped dangerously close to the Serie A drop zone in recent weeks but a 1-0 victory at the Stadio Sant'Elia saw them pull eight points clear of 18th-placed Livorno.

Verona, now in 10th, were the surprise package in the first half of the season and looked set to challenge for a Europa League place but have now failed to score or earn a point since February.


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