Atalanta clinches Champions League spot with Genoa win

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side has 78 points, six more than fifth-placed Juventus who has two games remaining.

Mario Pasalic celebrates after scoring his side's fourth goal against Genoa   -  REUTERS

Atalanta secured Champions League qualification for a third consecutive season with a 4-3 win over Genoa on Saturday that left the Bergamo club second in Serie A.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side has 78 points, six more than fifth-placed Juventus which has two games remaining, but it is guaranteed to finish ahead of the Turin club thanks to a better head-to-head record.

Atalanta will finish as runner-up in Serie A if it beats Milan at home on the final day of the season next Sunday, marking its highest finish ever.

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Before then, Gasperini has the chance to win his first trophy as coach and guide Atalanta to its first Coppa Italia triumph since 1963 when it faces Juventus in the cup final on Wednesday.

Duvan Zapata, Ruslan Malinovskyi and Robin Gosens were on target to give the visitor a comfortable lead by halftime against 14th-placed Genoa, which has already secured survival.

The host improved after the break as an Eldor Shomurodov strike and Goran Pandev penalty on either side of a neat Mario Pasalic finish reduced the deficit, but Shomurodov’s second goal of the afternoon came too late as Genoa fell just short of an unexpected comeback.

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Spezia hangs on

Elsewhere, Spezia secured its Serie A safety with a 4-1 win against fellow struggler Torino.

The Ligurian club, which was promoted to Serie A for the first time last season, were 2-0 up at halftime thanks to a Riccardo Saponara strike and M’Bala Nzola penalty.

Andrea Belotti pulled one back from the spot for Toro early in the second half, but a Nzola volley and Martin Erlic header secured a comfortable win.

Spezia is 15th with 38 points, seven clear of 18th-placed Benevento on 31 points, but Torino is still at risk after a miserable week.

Davide Nicola's side was thrashed 7-0 by Milan on Wednesday and has 35 points, but it has two games left, the first at Lazio on Tuesday.

Benevento has a chance to cut the gap to one point when it hosts relegated Crotone on Sunday, before a potentially decisive final-day meeting against Torino next Sunday.

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