Serie A – Weekly Roundup – 24th Feb 2008

Serie A Roundup by Allan Oliveira

Week ending 24th of Feb 2008, matchday 24.

Matchday 24 kicked off with a bang on Saturday, an eight goal thriller between Torino and Parma as well as an upset, as 2nd from bottom Reggina defeated Juventus at home. Sunday continued with another eight goal thriller, this time between Udinese and Genoa. Ten-man and bottom-placed Cagliari defeated visiting Lazio in their desperate fight to stay in the top-flight and Milan finally reached their goal this season of 4th place.

Torino vs Parma (4-4)
This match saw an amazing comeback by the home squad to deny Parma full points. Torino started well and were on the scoreboard by 11 minutes through Stellone’s services as he narrowly beat the offside trap to score. The lead wasn’t to last as Gasbarroni pulled the visitors level on 28 minutes and struck again 4 minutes later, through a brilliant free kick that dipped over the wall and into the top corner. On 42 minutes, Morrone capitalised on a poor clearance and powered an incredible volley into the net. Not even half a minute later Budan made it 4 goals for Parma to continue the crushing assault. The home side mustered enough strength to pull one back as Natali put away a free-header just before the break. In the second half, Stellone got his brace to make it 3-4 after a volley from a Recoba corner kick. Eight minutes from time, Di Michele equalised and Torino almost took a win as a Ventola header slammed into the underside of the crossbar. An astounding comeback to share the spoils, another draw for Parma leaves them still in the relegation zone while Torino sit in 12th spot.

Reggina vs Juventus (2-1)
Juventus wasted last week’s hard work to defeat Roma by losing to 19th-placed Reggina. The home side took the lead just after the half hour mark as Brienza put Reggina in front. Juve were unlucky to remain off the scoresheet in the first half as they had the lion’s share of chances. Reggina’s keeper, Campagnolo will want to forget the few minutes around the 70 minute mark. First he was unable to deal with a cross that almost allowed Del Piero to equalise and then messing up a simple save to allow Del Piero to make up for the earlier miss as the fluffed save let the ball trickle across the line. The game looked to finish a draw until Sissoko fouled Amoruso just before the end of the match. The ex-Juve striker picked himself up to put away the penalty and seal the win. Zanetti picked up a red at the end of the match for his complaints directed towards the ref and both teams remain in the same positions on the table.

Udinese vs Genoa (3-5)
Another eight-goal thriller for this week saw Genoa defeat Udinese to take home all three points. Both teams started well but Genoa draw first blood as Julio Cesar Leon smacked a rocket into the net. The home side were awarded a penalty after 27 minutes and Di Natale stepped up to convert from the spot. Just over ten minutes later the ref had to point to the spot again after Bovo handled the ball. Di Natale sent the keeper the wrong way again to give the home side the lead. Genoa found a controversial equaliser before the break as Sculli tapped in from close range with replay’s showing an offside position.

Less than ten minutes after the restart saw Borriello restore Genoa’s advantage with a sublime piece of skill, controlling with his back to goal and turning to unleash an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Udinese equalised on 72 minutes through a Flores header but it wasn’t to last as Borriello completed his hat-trick with a low-drive six minutes later and a diving header in the 85th minute. Udinese remain in 6th for now while Genoa jump a couple of positions up to 8th.

Sampdoria vs Inter Milan
The league leaders made the trip to visit Sampdoria this week and had to settle for a draw after their loss to Liverpool last week. Mancini had to rest Ibrahimovic and Cruz while Cordoba was out with a serious knee injury after the CL encounter. Sampdoria controlled the early part of the match with Cassano in excellent form again. Inter began to get into the match as the game wore on but on 47 minutes, Sampdoria hinted at things to come with a goal that was ruled out for being offside. Who else but Cassano eventually broke the deadlock, beating a couple of defenders to release a powerful drive into the net five minutes after the hour mark. This woke Inter up and they really started to get back into the game. Finally Crespo found the net and saved Inter’s unbeaten domestic record by heading in a Stankovic cross. Inter remain on top but Roma’s win sees their lead cut to nine points. Sampdoria move closer to Udinese in points but remain in 7th place.

Livorno vs Napoli (1-2)
There was very little of mention in the first half of this match apart from a couple of free kicks on either side that were dealt with by the respective keepers. Calaio opened the scoring for the visitors with an unmarked header. Livorno equalised in the 74th minute as Diamanti placed a curler into the top corner from a free kick. Napoli left it late but Calaio completed his brace in stoppage time with another free header from close range. Livorno drop a place to 16th and Napoli remain in the same mid-table position.

Atalanta vs Siena (2-2)
Mid-table Atalanta hosted relegation-battler Siena this week as they were held to a draw. There was little action before Siena found the net just after the half-hour mark, Bertotto combining well with Codrea and Rigano. The visitors extended their lead through Locatelli after 40 minutes. Atalanta’s Floccari didn’t see a need to enter the break at such a disadvantage and pulled one back with 42 minutes on the clock. Three minutes later he equalised to leave the scores tied at half-time. The second half was far less impressive with mostly offsides and little else. Atalanta remain where they were last week but the lone point was enough to move Siena out of the relegation area.

Cagliari vs Lazio (1-0)
The hosts showed amazing determination with a strong will to pull themselves out of the relegation zone in a match that had few chances for either side. Cagliari lost Fini just after the hour mark as he was shown a red card for his studs-up tackle on Mudingayi. The one-man disadvantage wasn’t enough to prevent the home side scoring as substitute Matri scored a glancing header only a few minutes from time. Unfortunately three points won’t even move them off the bottom of the table, let alone out of the relegation zone. Lazio remain in 13th place.

Empoli vs Catania (2-0)
The hosts took all three points to move up several places and overtake their visitors after this match, continuing their good form of late. Giovinco found the net after 36 minutes, leaving Terlizzi behind and smashing a shot in at the near post. He could’ve doubled the lead later but was stopped for an incorrect offside call. Catania were awarded a penalty after the break but failed to convert as Bassi saved Spinesi’s shot. Budel wrapped things up on 78 minutes to secure the win. Empoli leapfrog Catania into 14th and push the visitors back to 15th.

Roma vs Fiorentina (1-0)
Roma got back into their chase for Inter and the Scudetto after last week’s defeat to Juventus in an entertaining match with forth-placed Fiorentina. The hosts were without Mancini who was suspended while Fiorentina had to do without Potenza, Santana and Pazzini. There were a lot of chances early on as both teams wasted good opportunities to score. The keepers were also kept busy as both sides tested them from distance. Roma broke the deadlock after Vucinic dribbled past the visitors to have his shot deflected into Cicinho’s path who slotted in from close range. The goal-scoring chances continued in the remaining half-hour but the solitary goal was enough to secure the win. The goal scorer was sent off in the 90th minute after two yellow cards within five minutes.

AC Milan vs Palermo (2-1)
Fiorentina’s dropped points and Milan’s win over Palermo have finally allowed them to exchange places for the important 4th place into Europe, but only through goal difference. Palermo welcomed several regulars back from suspension and injury while Milan started Pato and Gilardino with Seedorf and Maldini getting a rest. Palermo began well and shocked the home side with an early deflected goal through Australian, Bresciano. Increasing pressure from Milan resulted in an equaliser on just 24 minutes, Ambrosini finishing an Oddo cross at the back post. The pressure continued for the rest of the match and Veteran keeper Fontana was keeping Palermo in the game for the most part. With Gilardino disappointing again, Inzaghi was brought on with just over 15 minutes left. This proved to be an important substitution as the Italian snatched a goal in the dying minutes to seal Milan’s victory. Time will tell if Milan can hold on to 4th place or even give Juventus and Roma trouble further up the table.

The standings
1st Inter 60pts 24 played
2nd Roma 51pts 24 played
3rd Juventus 47pts 24 played
4th AC Milan 41pts 24 played
5th Fiorentina 41pts 24 played
6th Udinese 36pts 24 played

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