MILAN: Parma closed in on the Europa League berths with a 2-0 win over Lecce that lifted the former UEFA Cup winners to seventh in Serie A on Monday.

Defender Simone Iacopone nodded in a Hernani corner just before the hour mark with Andreas Cornelius adding a second just after coming off the bench on 72 minutes as he connected on a rebound following Juraj Kucka’s shot off the crossbar.

Gervinho was denied a third late by Brazilian keeper Gabriel following an impressive run through the Lecce defence.

Parma overtake Torino and are now just one point behind sixth-placed Cagliari, who occupy the final Europa League spot.

AC Milan and Napoli are four points behind the side from Emilia-Romagna in 10th and 11th position respectively.

“We had to redeem ourselves after the defeat against Atalanta,” said Iacoponi after his side lost 5-0 to Atalanta last time out.

During the club’s golden era in the 1990s they won the UEFA Cup twice, the European Super Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

But they have not competed in European competition since 2007.

They qualified for the 2014-15 Europa League, but were denied a UEFA licence because of a late tax payment of 300,000 euros ($334,000).

The club were declared bankrupt and relegated to Serie D in 2015, returning to the top flight with three straight promotions. They finished 14th last season.

Lecce, from the heel of Italy, fell to their the fourth consecutive defeat and are just one point off the relegation zone.

Current standings

(Tabulated under played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Juventus 19 15 3 1 37 18 48

Inter Milan 19 14 4 1 40 16 46

Lazio 18 13 3 2 41 17 42

Atalanta 19 10 5 4 49 26 35

AS Roma 19 10 5 4 34 21 35

Cagliari 19 8 5 6 33 29 29

Parma 19 8 4 7 26 25 28

Torino 19 8 3 8 25 26 27

Verona 18 7 4 7 21 21 25

AC Milan 19 7 4 8 18 24 25

Napoli 19 6 6 7 28 26 24

Udinese 19 7 3 9 17 28 24

Bologna 19 6 5 8 28 31 23

Fiorentina 19 5 6 8 23 29 21

Sassuolo 19 5 4 10 30 34 19

Sampdoria 19 5 4 10 19 28 19

Lecce 19 3 6 10 22 38 15

Genoa 19 3 5 11 20 38 14

Brescia 19 4 2 13 17 36 14

SPAL 19 3 3 13 12 29 12

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020