Juventus handed title as Milan's finest are rested for Liverpool

Milan 3 Palermo 3
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The Independent Football

Juventus claimed their 28th Serie A title last night after their rivals Milan were held to a 3-3 draw at home by Palermo. The result leaves Juventus, who have two games remaining, four points clear of Milan who have just one more match to play.

Juventus claimed their 28th Serie A title last night after their rivals Milan were held to a 3-3 draw at home by Palermo. The result leaves Juventus, who have two games remaining, four points clear of Milan who have just one more match to play.

Carlo Ancelotti, the Milan coach, fielded a virtual reserve side against Palermo, giving a big clue to his starting line-up for Wednesday's Champions' League final with Liverpool in Istanbul.

Ancelotti's decision to play with his second string in effect handed the Serie A title to Juventus. A victory for Milan would have kept them in the hunt, mathematically at least.

Of the 11 players who started the match at the San Siro, only Hernan Crespo might be expected to feature in the starting XI on Wednesday in Turkey. Crespo was substituted after 63 minutes by Filippo Inzaghi in an indication that he might start on Wednesday alongside the European footballer of the year Andrei Shevchenko.

Milan led 3-1 at the break thanks to two goals from the Brazilian Serginho and a strike from Jon Dahl Tomasson. Ancelotti's side were all set to force Juventus to win their penultimate match at Livorno tomorrow to secure the title but Palermo struck twice inside the final 13 minutes.

A twice-taken penalty from the Italy international Luca Toni got Palermo back in the match before Simone Barone fired in at the near post for a 79th-minute equaliser.

The Juventus coach Fabio Capello has now won titles with four different clubs - Milan, Roma and Juventus in Italy and Real Madrid.

VfB Stuttgart need to end Bayern Munich's eight-match winning streak to secure a Champions' League place as Germany's Bundesliga season ends today with a scramble for Europe.

Bayern won the title three weeks ago and Freiburg, Hansa Rostock and VfL Bochum have all been consigned to relegation, but five European places - two in the Champions' League and three in the Uefa Cup - are still being contested.

Second-placed Schalke face the simplest task of the four sides still in with a hope of making Europe's top club competition next season. Ralf Rangnick's team need a win away to the bottom club, Freiburg, to clinch second place and automatic Champions' League entry, while a draw would be enough to guarantee third and a place in the competition's final qualifying round. Stuttgart are faced with the challenge of winning at home to Bayern to be certain of hanging on to third place.

In France, Marseilles have their European future at stake when they host the champions, Lyon, in their penultimate match today. Marseilles are still fourth in the table but have conceded ground in the chase for a Uefa Cup place. With two matches to go, Marseilles have 54 points and cannot catch third-placed Monaco on 61. But they are only two points above Auxerre and Stade Rennes, level on 52.

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