Padraig Whelan Date: 20th May 2018 at 8:01pm
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A 2-1 defeat away to Napoli on Sunday evening has condemned Crotone to a tough final weekend relegation, with SPAL and Cagliari securing survival at their expense.

Coming into the game, the Squali knew that only a positive result would be enough to give themselves a chance, depending on how results went elsewhere.

But first half goals from Napoli forwards Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon saw the Partenopei sign off for the season in style and become the first team ever to break the 90-point barrier in Serie A and not lift the Scudetto, a mark of how incredible the title race has been this year.

Napoli’s wide players caused frequent issues for Walter Zenga’s men in the opening exchanges, with both Mario Rui and Callejon sending enticing deliveries into the penalty area which didn’t yield a goal, until Milik stepped up midway through the half.

This time it was Lorenzo Insigne who sent in the lethal cross which broke the deadlock when the Italy international picked out the towering striker inside the penalty area with a sublime cross and he planted his header home.

Allan and Jorginho both tried their luck with efforts from distance as the Partenopei hit their groove and everyone appeared eager to get in on the act and give their fans one last win to cherish in what has been a magnificent season.

That goal arrived shortly after the half-hour mark and once more it was a cross which caused problems and once more it was Insigne who was the provider, this time setting up Callejon to take his tally for the campaign to double digit goals and assists, with 10 apiece.

Callejon and Piotr Zielinski each had further chances before the break, with Alex Cordaz denying them on each occasion to give his side slim hope heading into the second half.

Things didn’t get a whole lot better for them after the interval and, chasing a goal, they struggled to break down Napoli as the magnitude of their task and the realisation of their fate began to sink in.

Dries Mertens almost added further insult to their injury but the substitute was denied his goal when Cordaz tipped his effort onto the post.

However, the Calabrese side’s eventful two-year stay in Serie A did come to an end with a slight consolation as they bowed out of the top flight with an injury-time goal, Marco Tumminello scoring late to ensure they ended their stay with something small to smile about.