Serie A Roundup by Allan Oliveira
So this is the first of many weekly Serie A updates. We’ll cover the results of the league matches played over each matchday, as well as a look at the business end of the standings. Matchday 20 seemed to be the matchday for ten a-side soccer, a great number of teams forced to play with a man down.
Week ending 27th of Jan 2008, matchday 20
Atalanta vs AC Milan (2-1)
This week Milan played the first of it’s three mid-week matches required to catch up to the 19 games played by almost all of the other teams. Ancelotti surely saw this as a chance to get Milan back on track after a torrid start to the season that sees them currently sitting mid table. Unfortunately for Milan, Atalanta weren’t willing to miss out on any points.
Milan controlled the first half and went ahead through Gattuso but Antonio Langella was able to equalise before the break. The Milanese attack missed a lot of chances and ultimately paid the price for not being more clinical in their finishing. Tissone sealed the scoreline for Atalanta on 68 minutes, handing his team the 3 points.
Sampdoria vs Siena (1-0)
Sampdoria were able to snatch a win thanks to the ex-Roma, ex-Madrid starlet, Cassano. Although the visitors were playing better football, Sampdoria’s goal just before the break proved to be enough to seal the win. Not good news for Siena who are now in serious danger of getting pulled into a relegation battle with the bottom three.
Roma vs Palermo (1-0)
Roma have taken advantage of a slip by league leaders Inter who could not defeat Udinese. Another three points with a win over 9th placed Palermo has opened up the title race again. Totti was back in action after missing two matches because of the flu but it was Mancini who was the hero for the home fans. Soon after Palermo defender, Rinaudo was red-carded, Mancini headed in off a Taddei corner. Pizarro had a couple of good chances throughout the game and Roma could have added to the tally but they also were lucky not to share the points with Palermo after Cavani just missed in the dying minutes.
AC Milan vs Genoa (2-0)
Brazilian wonder kid, Alexandre Pato is living up to the immense hype surrounding him. Two second half strikes by the 18 year old, dubbed “Pato-mico” gave Milan a win to help them forget about their mid-week defeat. The home side started slowly but by the second half they were full-throttle. First was a header on 68 minutes, just before Genoa’s Scarpi was sent off for a hand-ball, and then a second followed after a burst of pace and a goal resulting from the rebound after his first strike.
Atalanta vs Reggina (2-2)
Atalanta threw away some of their good work from mid-week to let relegation-battling Reggina pull back two goals and share the points. Rivalta put Atalanta in front with a fine strike and then Ledesma doubled the score immediately after the break. Perhaps Atalanta got a little too relaxed and let Vigiani pull one back and then shortly after, Barreto levelled the score and the visitors rode the ensuing pressure to hang on for a point.
Cagliari vs Napoli (2-1)
Cagliari were able to pull off one of the most amazing comebacks to claim all three points. Although the home team had a good start, it was Napoli’s Hamsik who found the back of the net on 57 minutes with some calm finishing. The dramatic turn of events happened in injury time when substitute Matri levelled the scores from a long-range shot. One minute later it was Conti who grabbed the win for Cagliari. They will surely be happy with the points as they continue to sit dead last on the table. Are you sure you can’t return to help out your old team one last time Zola?
Catania vs Parma (0-0)
There wasn’t a lot of action in this middle-table match apart from a goal by Spinesi just before half-time that did not count because the ref judged a foul to have occured beforehand. Although Catania appeared to have more fire after being denied, Parma dealt with the extra pressure. Their inability to win away continues and Parma return home with just one point.
Empoli vs Fiorentina (0-2)
Fiorentina hold on to their champions league spot with a two-nil win. Empoli started stronger but couldn’t finish their plays and the first half ended goalless. It was Fiorentina that almost got in front in the second half with an Ujfalusi header but it was ruled out for offside. The visitors had to wait until the 85th minute for Mutu to score. He soon turned provider for Pazzini and now Fiorentina sit ten points above Milan who are chasing after that CL spot.
Torino vs Lazio (0-0)
Although the scoreline was lacking, the action and drama wasn’t. Both teams finished the match with ten a-side with Barone sent off at half-time for a second booking and then Lazio’s Bianchi for his second yellow on 65 minutes. Quite a heated and scrappy affair with only chances from Di Michele and Pandev that could’ve resulted in a different scoreline.
Udinese vs Inter Milan (0-0)
Inter played 74 minutes of this match with ten men and probably consider themselves lucky to hold on for a point and maintain their unbeaten record. They had an early chance that was uncharacteristically wasted by Cambiasso, shooting over the bar some ten metres from goal. The man to have an early shower was Cesar for two rash challenges and two yellow cards within the same minute of play. Ibrahimovic was left isolated and did little to trouble the home side. He found the net once but was judged to have fouled Felipe before scoring and so the goal didn’t count. Inter can’t afford many more mistakes with Roma biting at their heels.
Livorno vs Juventus (1 – 3)
Two goals from David Trezeguet and a third from Alessandro Del Piero, gave Juventus the win they needed to maintain 3rd place in the Serie A. Livorno playing with ten men for almost the entire second half, scored a messy consolation thanks to Bogdan. Six bookings and the sending off, underlined a busy weekend for the referees.
1st Inter 50pts 20played
2nd Roma 45pts 20 played
3rd Juventus 40pts 19 played
4th Fiorentina 37pts 20 played
5th Udinese 33pts 20 played
6th AC Milan 27pts 18 played