Serie A – Weekly Roundup – 10th Feb 2008

Serie A Roundup by Allan Oliveira

Week ending 10th of Feb 2008, matchday 22.

Matchday 22 had some super-subs come in to save the day with their first touch as well as several late send-offs.

It all remains very close in the middle of the table with only seven points separating eight teams. Whilst at the top of the table, Inter maintains it’s lead after Roma put pressure on them with a win on Saturday. Milan is ever closer to the Champions League spot after another win and another slip by Fiorentina.

Atalanta vs Fiorentina
Fiorentina dropped points again following their defeat at the hands of Milan last week. They were unable to beat Atalanta and had to share the spoils with the hosts. It was the former Atalanta striker Pazzini that put Fiorentina in front on 29 minutes but as they say, a team is weakest after scoring and Muslimovic equalised a minute later. Semioli was able to restore the lead on the hour but Muslimovic completed his brace in injury time to frustrate the visitors.

Roma vs Reggina (2-0)
Not surprisingly, Roma were able to defeat relegation battlers Reggina in front of a home crowd. Panucci headed in off a Totti cross in the 21st minute and the first half continued to be dominated by Roma who came close to increasing their lead several times. After the break, Reggina certainly had more fire and came very close to levelling the score through a Amoruso header that was well saved by Doni. Finally on 76 minutes Mancini scored off a rebound from Guily’s shot, after some nice dribbling by the diminutive Frenchman.

AC Milan vs Siena
Milan found themselves with a striker shortage as well as a world player of the year shortage, not good news. Pato still injured as was Kaka’ while Gilardino was suspended through accumulated yellow cards. Still, they weren’t to be upset like Roma was last week by Siena, calling on their veteran’s experience to pull them through and continue their chase for a champions league spot.

Siena’s Frick was making all the right moves early on and came close a couple of times. The home side were lucky after a goal ruled out through offside as Locatelli, who appeared to be level, tapped in from a long pass. Siena almost scored again in the second half, hitting the post through Maccarone. Finally Milan called on it’s youth as Andrea Paloschi was brought on. The young striker’s influence was immediate, scoring with his first touch through a left-footed strike. Siena continued to push in a attempt to salvage something from the match but could not defeat the experienced side and also had Vergassola sent off in the 82 minute. Milan are now two points and a game in hand away from taking Fiorentina’s 4th place spot while Siena hang dangerously close to the relegation zone in 16th.

Cagliari vs Parma (1-1)
Cagliari hosted Parma in what turned out to be a fairly evenly matched battle where both teams had to share the points on offer. Jeda scored for the home side on 34 minutes but Cagliari weren’t able to hold their lead for long as Reginaldo equalised only two minutes later. Cagliari stay at the bottom of the table with 15 points while Parma hover dangerously close to Serie B action next season in 17th position and 20 points.

Empoli vs Lazio (1-0)
An early goal and a lot of determination to hold on for a win saw Empoli defeat visiting Lazio and get themselves on track to move out of the relegation zone. Vannuchi scored on seven minutes through a free kick that curled it’s way around the wall and into the back of the net. Empoli continued to make chances for themselves but could not add to their tally. Finally Lazio’s Kolarov was sent off on 89 minutes with a straight red for a nasty foul on Marianini. Empoli are now third from the bottom, just below Parma while Lazio are in 14th place.

Livorno vs Genoa (1-1)
Livorno made an excellent start in their encounter with visiting Genoa. Tavano put his side in the lead after only 15 minutes after nice interchange between Pasquale and Tristan. Genoa were doing well to get back in the game but their hopes took a blow as Santos was sent off 15 minutes before full time. Clearly Di Vaio still had enough belief as he equalised on the 83rd minute and allowed the ten man side to hold on for a share of the points. Genoa are now on equal points with Sampdoria but just behind in 9th position through goal difference while Livorno lie in 15th place.

Sampdoria vs Napoli
Sampdoria and Napoli began with a scrappy first half and no goals. Eight yellow cards were handed out during the course of this match, keeping the ref busy scribbling down names. A Delvecchio brace late in the game (76′ and 81′) saw the home side deflate Napoli to take all three points. Sampdoria sit in 8th with 29 points and Napoli are just two points below but three places down in 11th.

Torino vs Palermo (3-1)
The visitors started well in yet another scrappy encounter, Amauri was able to take his side into the break with a goal on the scoreboard. A fine run on 36 minutes to slot past the Torino keeper. In the second half, Di Michele was brought on and he proved to be the man to turn around the match for the home side. First he crossed a ball for Diana to tap in on 60 minutes, then a solo effort saw Di Michele grab the lead on 70 minutes and finally he found the net again on 81 minutes. The comeback was too much for Palermo’s scorer who picked up two yellow cards during the second half and became another late send-off. Torino closed the gap between them and their visitors to four points and lie in 12th while Palermo are in tenth spot on 28 points.

Udinese vs Juventus (1-2)
The home side controlled the first half of the match and had an early goal on six minutes, when Dossena slotted home a rebound after Quagliarella smashed a shot into the post, Buffon unable to recover in time. The international who scored against Portugal eariler in the week had several more chances in the first half but could not find a way past the visitors. Juventus equalised on 61 minutes as Camoranesi headed in a Del Piero corner kick. Fifteen minutes later, Iaquinta was brought on and he found the back of the net with his first touch only seconds later. Udinese were very unlucky not to get any points from this game and will need to improve their poor finishing. While Juve can only thank their world-class stopper for holding on to all three points as he made so many incredible saves throughout the match. Juve retain third spot while Udinese still sit in sixth although they may now be out of the running for a highly contested champions league spot.

Catania vs Inter Milan (0-2)
Inter beat Catania in the last match of the week and more controversy surrounded the win. Cambiasso headed in from a Zanetti header on 64 minutes although replays show he was offside, not good for Inter’s already questionable credibility at the moment. Another super sub in Suazo scored three minutes later to seal the victory and allow Inter to put 8 points between them and Roma once again. It was a slow start for the visitors but the win was deserved even though coach, manager and players will no doubt have to defend the circumstances once again.

The standings
1st Inter 56pts 22 played
2nd Roma 48pts 22 played
3rd Juventus 44pts 22 played
4th Fiorentina 38pts 22 played
5th AC Milan 36pts 21 played
6th Udinese 33pts 22 played

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