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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 7, 2006

Milan win takes title race to the final day

MILAN, May 7 (Reuters) - Juventus moved closer to their 29th Serie A title with a 2-1 home win over Palermo on Sunday.

Second-placed AC Milan won 3-2 at Parma, leaving Juventus three points clear of their rivals with one game to go.

In next week's final round of games, Milan are at home to AS Roma and Juventus play away to Reggina but at a neutral ground.

The only way that Milan can now lift the title is if they win their final game and Juventus lose, leaving the teams tied but the crown going to Milan who have the better head-to-head record.

The battle for fourth place, which brings a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, will also go down to the wire after Fiorentina defended their two-point advantage over Roma.

Fiorentina crushed Reggina 5-2 while Roma won 1-0 at home to Treviso.

Juve's final game at the Delle Alpi stadium before it undergoes extensive reconstruction was a tense affair -- on and off the field.

Czech Pavel Nedved fired Fabio Capello's side ahead in the 31st minute before Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 six minutes into the second half.

Palermo fought back with a superb shot from Denis Godeas in the 62nd minute and Juventus were forced to hang on against some intense pressure in the final half hour.

Off the field, Juve's management have been put under scrutiny following the publication of embarrassing telephone intercepts featuring general manager Luciano Moggi talking about refereeing appointments with a Football Federation official.

Media reports have speculated that Moggi, chief executive Antonio Giraudo and vice-president Roberto Bettega's positions at the club are in doubt and former Italy international Bettega was in tears at the end of the game.

Milan were hoping for a slip-up from Juventus that never came but they did their bit, albeit with some sweating of their own at the end of the game.

The match started badly for Carlo Ancelotti's side when Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko limped off with an injury after eight minutes.

A penalty from Brazilian Kaka put Milan on their way in the 29th minute and then Kaka set up compatriot Cafu to make it 2-0 two minutes before the interval.

Parma pulled one back through Bernardo Corradi after the break but Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf restored Milan's two-goal cushion with a thundering free kick from 25 metres.

That cushion was needed as Corradi headed a second for Parma two minutes from the end but Milan held on to win.

Italy striker Luca Toni took his season's tally to 30 with two goals in Fiorentina's impressive performance while Roma midfielder Damiano Tommasi scored the goal against Treviso.

Treviso, Lecce and Messina have already taken up the three relegation places while on Saturday Bergamo club Atalanta secured promotion from Serie B with three games remaining.

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