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Totti ruins Maldini's big day

FRANCESCO Totti's free-kick gave AS Roma a thrilling 3-2 win at AC Milan yesterday to seal the final Europa League spot and ruin Paolo Maldini's last home appearance before retirement.

Third-placed Milan will visit fourth-placed Fiorentina in the last game of the season next Sunday to decide who takes the final automatic Champions League spot.

Fiorentina equalized late on to draw 1-1 at Lecce and condemn the host to relegation while also sealing fourth spot and at least a Champions League qualifying round berth.

Fifth-placed Genoa, which won 3-2 at relegation-threatened Torino in a bad-tempered clash, is three points behind Fiorentina but has a worse head-to-head record so cannot overtake it next Sunday.

Juventus sealed its place in the Champions League proper after a 3-0 win in the scorching heat of Siena, where firemen sprayed fans with water to keep them cool.

Juve, in its first game under interim coach Ciro Ferrara following Claudio Ranieri's sacking, moved above Milan into second on 71 points because of its better head-to-head record and also has the same advantage over Fiorentina, meaning it cannot be caught.

The Turin side won thanks to a brace from Alessandro Del Piero.

At the San Siro, Roma took the lead through John Arne Riise's fierce free-kick but Massimo Ambrosini scored on the rebound to equalize 15 minutes from time.

Jeremy Menez put Roma back in front and Ambrosini leveled again before being sent off.

Totti then fired in five minutes from time to leave Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti's future still in the air with the club waiting to hear its Champions League fate before announcing if he will leave.

Maldini, who will play his final game before retirement in Florence, took a lap of honor around the San Siro after fulltime but one group of supporters unfurled a banner critical of the 40-year-old.

The rest of the Rossoneri fans waved special Maldini scarves while Roma players came back on the pitch at the end wearing T-shirts hailing the defender, who was making his 901st Milan appearance.

Inter Milan, crowned champion last weekend, lost 1-2 at Cagliari but Zlatan Ibrahomivic scored to join Bologna's Marco Di Vaio at the top of the Serie A scoring charts with 23 goals.

Bologna drew 0-0 at Chievo and will battle Torino for the final relegation spot. It is above its rivals because of its better head-to-head record and will stay up if it matches Torino's result at Roma next Sunday when it hosts Catania.


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