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Serie A Matchday 28 Wrap-Up: Roma’s Champions League Hopes Take Big Hit

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The loss to Napoli was compounded by many of the others results around the league.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-BENEVENTO Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Another match with a top side resulted in yet another loss for Roma. With the 2-0 defeat at home to Napoli, Roma's top four chances took a big hit. The Giallorossi are still winless against their direct competition for the Champions League places and the opportunities to beat direct competitors are dwindling.

The Giallorossi now sit five points out of the top four, but Napoli, Juve, and Lazio all have a match in hand on Fonseca’s men. Meanwhile, Roma will now have to hope that other teams begin to falter since they only have potential six-pointers against Atalanta and Lazio remaining.

As you’ll see in our match recaps, Roma finds very little solace in the other results around the league. With most other sides also winning, the mathematical significance of losing to the Partenopei was compounded. So, let’s peruse the peninsula and see just how the other top sides faired.

Serie A Matchday 28 Results

Atalanta Handles Hellas

Hellas Verona 0, Atalanta 2

Hellas has overachieved all season long under Ivan Juric. However, the early-season momentum and nearly insurmountable defense is no longer looking so stingy and the results just haven’t been the same.

Sunday was no different as a toothless Verona attack failed to truly threaten La Dea. Once Federico DiMarco was whistled for a handball, giving Atalanta a 33rd-minute penalty, the match was never in doubt and was effectively killed off just nine minutes later when Duvan Zapata doubled the visitors’ advantage.

With the win, Atalanta has drawn level with Juve in third place on 55 points. Meanwhile, Roma now trails La Dea by five points, which makes the head-to-head next month a must-win.

Benevento Shocks Juve

Juventus 0, Benevento 1

In the only true shocker of the weekend, Benevento did what most seasons would’ve been unthinkable: defeating Juventus at the Allianz Stadium.

Juve expectedly dominated the stat sheet, controlling 69% of possession and outshooting Benevento 8-1 on target. But that one shot was all that the Sorcerers needed to pull the shock result when Adolfo Gaich scored in the 69th minute.

The win most likely kills any hope that the Bianconeri had at the Scudetto. It also means that they now sit level with Atalanta on third and are only two points up on Napoli in fifth. So, keep an eye on that rescheduled match in early April.

Lazio Gets By Udinese

Udinese 0, Lazio 1

After defeating Lazio handily at the Olimpico in the reverse fixture, a repeat wasn’t in the cards for Udinese at home. Adam Marusic scored the lone goal in the 37th minute—and that was all Lazio needed to win in Friuli.

Lazio remains in 7th but has pulled within one point of Roma with a match in hand. Don’t look now, but a loss to the Biancoceleste in the derby could mean a seventh-place finish for Roma.

Milan Outlasts Fiorentina

Fiorentina 2, AC Milan 3

In what turned out to be the most action-packed game of the weekend, Milan scored a vital three points against Fiorentina in Florence. It was a back and forth affair that saw Milan up early through Zlatan Ibrahimovic just nine minutes in. However, Erik Pulgar leveled the score just minutes later.

The match went into halftime level, but Franck Ribery gave the Viola the advantage in the 51st minute. The lead wouldn’t hold long though as Brahmin Diaz answered back just six minutes later. Then Abakan Calhanoglu found the winner for Milan in the 72nd.

The win allowed Milan to leapfrog Juve back into second place on the table and strengthens the Rossoneri’s stake for a top four finish.

Other Results

  • Parma 1, Genoa 2
  • Crotone 2, Bologna 3
  • Spezia 2, Cagliari 1
  • Sampdoria 1, Torino 0

FiveThirtyEight Top Four Probabilities

The computer models have the odds stacked against Roma in the race for the top 4.
fivethirtyeight.com

The loss to Napoli severely hampers Roma’s top four hopes. The loss sees Roma drop to seventh favorites for a Champions League finish at just 10%; a 13 point drop from last week. Meanwhile, the win strengthens Napoli to a 51% chance even though the Partenopei are still fifth favorites. Milan now have an 80% chance at a UCL place finish, while Atalanta and Juve are still strong candidates at greater than 70% odds.