SERIE A ROUND UP – 24TH MARCH

Serie AAll games were played on Saturday over the Easter weekend and the fixtures also brought the Derby d’Italia as Inter faced Juve. The visitors delivered a blow to the league leaders, defeating them at home and opening up the race for the Scudetto. Roma made ground by defeating Empoli while Fiorentina and Milan recorded wins and Udinese reclaimed the Uefa cup spot from Sampdoria. Who will stay or go at the end of the season is anyone’s guess now as only a few points separate the bottom six. The final rounds of the season should be very interesting indeed.

Allan Oliveira reports

Roma vs Empoli (2-1)

Roma closed in to within 4 points of Inter following a 2 – 1 home win over Empoli. Doni was called on fairly early as he palmed away Giovinco’s shot and then found himself beaten soon after with only the goal frame to thank from another effort from Giovinco. Roma did take the lead soon after the half hour mark as Tonetto slotted in at the near post from close range, set up by a clever Totti back heel. Five minutes after the restart Empoli were level as the impressive Giovinco tapped in after a blistering counter attack and the visitors soon had another advantage as Perrotta received a straight red for a cynical challenge. But even 10 men, the home side was able to find a winner. Panucci rose up above all others to nod in a corner on 64 minutes and send the home crowd wild. They held on for all three points and dealt another blow to Empoli’s torrid season.

Atalanta vs Catania (0-0)

The home side started well in this encounter although Floccari missed a golden opportunity to score early on. The visitors fought back and forced Coppola into a fine save to deny Mascara before Atalanta were given another chance after the referee awarded a penalty for a hand ball only for Doni to be denied by Catania keeper, Polito. There was very little action after the first half hour and the result was a fitting end to a dull match. Atalanta drop a position this week to 9th while Catania maintain 16th spot.

Fiorentina vs Lazio (1-0)

Lazio found themselves a man down when Mutarelli was sent off after 38 minutes for picking up two yellow cards. Mutu was involved early on but his header was too weak to trouble Ballotta. Then he saw another header go wide as the Viola’s laid siege to the Lazio goals after the restart. At the other end Pandev’s effort was blocked by Avramov’s incredible one handed save. The home side finally scored after 77 minutes when Pazzini received the ball just inside the area and smashed it in, beating the keeper at the near post. The remaining period was very heated and just before the end of the match, both Mutu and Ledesma picked up cautions. The home side hold onto the last Champions League spot while Lazio drop a place to tenth.

Palermo vs Genoa (2-3)

Visiting Genoa began well and kept Fontana busy but it was the home side that scored first when Amauri converted a controversial penalty. Although Santos brought Cavani down, replays show him making contact with the ball first. Soon after, on 27 minutes, Figueroa equalised with a well-placed shot. Five minutes after the restart, Milanetto deservedly put the visitors ahead when Figueroa provided a low cross for the former to slide past Fontana and on 62 minutes Genoa extended the lead, Konko powering a header into the net from a corner kick. Amauri pulled one back for Palermo at the death but it wasn’t enough. Another defeat saw the home side drop to 12th while Genoa jump up to eighth.

Reggina vs Napoli (1-1)

Although Napoli have been playing well at home recently, slaying several giants, their away form continues to be inconsistent. Reggina begun well and had an appeal for a penalty perhaps unjustly waved away by the ref after Contini brought down Amoruso. They had more chances as the game progressed but it was the visitors that scored against the run of play. On 75 minutes Sosa placed his own rebounded shot into the net after his first attempt was blocked. They only had to hold on for just over 15 minutes but Brienza found an equaliser in stoppage time to give his side a share of the spoils. Reggina remain in 18th while Napoli fall a place to 11th.


Sampdoria vs Cagliari (1-1)

Cagliari continue to impress as they fight for survival. They came close to scoring just before the half hour mark, Castellazzi needing to deny Jeda. On 41 minutes their pressure paid off as Foggia beat the Sampdoria defence and blasted a shot past Castellazzi. The second half wasn’t so one-sided as Sampdoria began to get back into the match although the visitors almost doubled their advantage as Acquafresca found the net, only to have his goal disallowed because of a questionable offside call. In the dying minutes Franceschini saved some face and a point for his team, heading in at the near post. The home side drop a place and out of the last Uefa Cup spot while their visitors are now within a few points of climbing out of the relegation zone.

Siena vs Parma (2-0)

The visitors started this match well with Budan forcing a quality save from Manninger within the first few minutes. Ten minutes later Siena had a chance in the form of a free-kick but Galloppa’s effort hit the wall. After the excitement at the start, both teams began to play more defensively and it looked like a draw would be the result until Maccarone was fouled in the area and he picked himself up to convert the resulting spot kick on 88 minutes. The goal woke up Parma but unfortunately they left themselves stretched at the back and Maccarone completed his brace at the death to put the result beyond doubt. Both clubs maintain their positions in 13th and 15th respectively although Parma are back in relegation danger, just four points separating them and bottom placed Cagliari.

Torino vs Milan (0-1)

Milan controlled large parts of this match and got back on track and hot on Fiorentina’s heels. Stellone had an early effort hit the side netting while at the other end Seedorf forced a save from the home keeper after a well taken free-kick. Milan continued to press with Pato almost scoring after good work by Maldini and then Seedorf shaking the bar with his powerful volley. Finally their efforts paid off as Pato ran in to finish on 66 minutes. Despite a few lapses they held on for an important win.

Udinese vs Livorno (2-0)

The home side completed a convincing win over Livorno and took back sixth spot from Sampdoria. A goal in each half was enough as Quagliarella opened up the tally on 17 minutes, firing in from distance. Diamanti wasted a chance to equalise as he missed from close range. Minutes after the restart, Udinese grabbed their second following a defensive error. Apart from a Tristan free-kick that shook the upright, Livorno had very few chances to get back into the match. Livorno continue to sit on the edge of the relegation zone and will need to do better when they host Siena next week.

Inter vs Juventus (1-2)

The last match and much anticipated Derby d’Italia duly delivered as Juve shocked league-leaders Inter, the first team to defeat them at home this season. The sides started exchanging blows straight away, mostly in the form of set pieces but they entered the break scoreless. After the restart Juve took the lead in controversial fashion as a clearly offside Camoranesi scored after a Del Piero free kick. Inter had a couple of chances themselves but were punished for not converting them by a goal from Trezeguet on 63 minutes, a volley from close range. Both teams wasted more chances until some Maicon brilliance left three players in his wake and set up Maniche for a tap in. The Portuguese international almost salvaged a point in the final minutes but his effort hit the post. The result opens up the Scudetto race leaving just four points between Inter and Roma.

The standings

1st Inter 68pts 30 played
2nd Roma 64pts 30 played
3rd Juventus 58pts 30 played
4th Fiorentina 53pts 30 played
5th AC Milan 49pts 30 played
6th Udinese 47pts 30 played


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