Soccer-Napoli tumble out of top four as Gattuso departs

·2-min read

(Reuters) - Napoli suffered a heartbreaking end to the Serie A season as they dropped out of the Champions League spots on the final day following a 1-1 draw against mid-table Hellas Verona on Sunday in what proved to be Gennaro Gattuso’s final game as manager.

Gattuso’s side fell to fifth place after Juventus beat Bologna 4-1 to climb one point above them in the standings.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed on Twitter after the game that Gattuso was leaving his post.

It marks a second successive season that Napoli have failed to reach the Champions League, but this was a bitter pill to swallow as they failed to overcome the 10th-placed visitors, who had nothing left to play for.

Napoli's Amir Rrahmani put them in front against his former club after 61 minutes, but Davide Faraoni fired home an equaliser eight minutes later and the hosts could not find a way through as they pushed for a winner.

Napoli end the season in fifth place with 77 points, one point behind Juve and Atalanta above them and two points off second-placed AC Milan.

There was one more European place up for grabs on the final day as Sassuolo looked to knock AS Roma out of seventh place which brings a UEFA Conference League spot.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side did their bit as Giorgos Kyriakopoulos scored eary on before being sent off on the hour mark and Domenico Berardi netted a late penalty to earn a 2-0 win over sixth-placed Lazio.

But Roma fought back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at 15th-placed Spezia, as Stephan El Shaarawy and Henrikh Mkhitaryan strikes cancelled out first-half goals from Daniele Verde and Tommaso Pobega.

The draw was enough for the capital club to finish level on 62 points with Sassuolo but ahead on goal difference, as they could not be split by the first tiebreaker of head-to-head.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)