SERIE A WEEKLY ROUND UP – 14TH APRIL

Serie AThere were a number of big matches this round including a fiery encounter between Juventus and Milan at the top end of the table whilst the relegation jostling continued with Cagliari once again grabbing a win as their season took another turn for the better. Allan Oliveira reports.

Palermo vs Catania (1-0)

The score line doesn’t tell the true story of this game as it was an entertaining match with a good deal of chances for both sides. As it happens, the winner didn’t come along until the 84th minute through Miccoli. The diminutive striker placed a well taken free kick into the top right corner and left the keeper rooted to the spot. Catania failed to build on last week’s win and are back in troubled waters just a few points from the relegation area. Palermo on the other hand, still on a high after defeating Juventus last week, move up again, this time to 10th place.

Juventus vs Milan (3-2)

In one of this round’s biggest games, Juve needed to recover from last week’s defeat at Palermo with Milan looking to home in on a Champion’s League spot. The unstoppable Del Piero opened up Juve’s account early on with a strike that rolled past the outstretched Kalac on 12 minutes. Milan were quick to counter and Inzaghi leveled the score just two minutes later, getting on the end of a quality Kaka pass to tap in from six yards. The end to end attacking continued and shortly after the half-hour mark Inzaghi poached another goal. Juve though weren’t about to enter the break trailing and on the 45 minute mark, Camoranesi picked out Trezeguet whose header was only parried as far as Salihamidzic to tap into the net. The action continued in the second period – Grygera forced a good save with a long range effort before Bonera received a straight red for an horrific studs up challenge on Sissoko. Luckily, Sissoko was eventually able to continue. Inzaghi made way for Cafu but Milan couldn’t hold on as Salihamidzic found the net again with a free header from a Camoranesi free kick. Milan poured forward to find an equaliser but it wasn’t to be their night.

Empoli vs Parma (1-1)

Only one point separated these two teams in the relegation dogfight at the outset although Parma still have a game in hand, the upcoming midweek clash with Juve. The visitors struck first with a somewhat lucky goal on seven minutes. Lucarelli had a free header from a Gasbarroni cross and a wicked deflection took it past the keeper. He soon followed up with a volley that rattled the near post. Empoli equalised on the half hour mark when Giovinco beat several players and curled in a beautiful finish into the far corner. There was little to mention in the remaining time and the teams ended up splitting the points. Parma drop a place lower in 17th following Cagliari’s success and Empoli are now 19th.

Genoa vs Torino (3-0)

Genoa defeated Torino in a convincing display that saw all three goals scored in less than 20 minutes. The home side controlled the game and it seemed to be only a matter of time before they struck. However, the first half remained goal less. All that changed on the 52 minute mark as substitute Di Vaio dribbled past the keeper and slotted into an open goal. Nine minutes later, Serie A’s top-scorer Borriello drove the ball into the net to increase his tally for this season to 19. And it only took another nine minutes for the home team to seal the win as Sculli rose up unmarked to nod in from Milanetto’s delivery. Both sides remain as they were at the start of play, eighth and fourteenth respectively.

Lazio vs Siena (1-1)

Going into this match only two points separated these teams and although Lazio held the lead for most of the second half, Muslera let in a howler just before time to sallow Siena a share the spoils. It took a while for the game to get going and was only in the first half stoppage time that Lazio opened up their account. Mutarelli locked onto a poor clearance and blasted a shot that Manninger got gloves to, but could not stop going in. Just minutes from time a blunder by Muslera during a routine save handed an easy chance to Loria who’s goal levelled things up. Lazio remain in 12th and Siena also sit just behind them.

Livorno vs Cagliari (1-2)

The home side opened the scoring after just two minutes when Galante tapped in at the back post from a low Filippini cross. But Cagliari weren’t about to have their good work of late undone and hit back on the ten minute mark. Acquafresca converted by following up on Cossu’s powerful shot which was only parried by Amelia. Livorno replied with some serious pressure and will rue a few wasted opportunities as after the restart Acquafresca struck again to settle the tie. Chesting down a long pass he cut in and slotted a low shot into the far corner. The visitors held on for the win and are finally out of the relegation zone in 16th while their hosts fall to the bottom of the table.

Napoli vs Atalanta (2-0)

Another home game and another win for Napoli. Two goals within two minutes were enough to see them exchange positions with their visitors, swapping 11th for 10th. Cappola denied Sosa on 62 minutes but could do nothing about Hamsik’s follow up. Then on 64 minutes the former provided a cross for Lavezzi to score and wrap up the win.

Reggina vs Sampdoria (1-0)

Bottom of the ladder Reggina upset their visitors and jumped a couple of places in the process although Sampdoria maintain sixth spot for now. Brienza beat the offside trap from Cozza’s pass which he controlled well to round the keeper and roll into an open goal on 35 minutes. They had a good chance on the hour to double their lead when Amoruso attempted to put away Brienza’s pass but he only succeeded in shooting wide before crashing in to the keeper.

Udinese vs AS Roma (1-3)

Roma staged a brilliant comeback after finding themselves a goal down in the second half. The home side was looking to take advantage of Milan’s defeat but the early exchanges were nervy and the game looked very much in the balance. But on 51 minutes Di Natale struck with a header at the back post that had Doni and Panucci blaming each other. Roma equalised on 64 minutes as substitute Guily made an immediate impact, a great pass for Vucinic who controlled and finished from close range. Six minutes later De Rossi set up Taddei to put Roma in front and finally Vucinic set up Guily with a clever backheel that the Frenchman placed into the far bottom corner. As all three teams above them lost, Udinese are still well in contention for the Uefa cup places.

Inter vs Fiorentina (2-0)

The last game of the round and perhaps one of the most anticipated saw the league leaders host Fiorentina with only one point separating them and Roma following the latter’s win just hours before. There was plenty of action at either end in the first half and Inter slowly applied more and more pressure but the outstanding Frey kept the Voila in the game. However, carrying an injury he found it noticably harder as the game wore on and inevitably Inter scored when Vieira made a run into the area and cut the ball back for Cambiasso to blast into the net. The young Balotelli grabbed another goal only seven minutes later, beating the offside trap and calmly placing the ball to score.

The standings

1st Inter 75pts 33 played
2nd Roma 71pts 33 played
3rd Juventus 61pts 32 played
4th Fiorentina 56pts 33 played
5th AC Milan 52pts 33 played
6th Sampdoria 52pts 33 played