Serie A Roundup by Allan Oliveira
Week ending 3rd of Feb 2008, matchday 21.
Matchday 21 saw a few upsets and was a week of cautions with many yellow cards handed out throughout the matches. Inter continued it’s strong undefeated run towards the scudetto while Roma slipped up in Siena, dropping vital points. Milan continued it’s winning ways in both games they played this week and Cagliari upset a disappointing Juventus.
Reggina vs AC Milan (0-1)
Milan seem to be finally getting their season back on track after Gilardino grabbed the only goal in their Wednesday catch up match against Reggina. Gilardino certainly made the most of his chance to shine while Ronaldo was out of action (again), heading in a Pirlo centre. Most of the other chances went to Milan but once again they will need to be more clinical with their chances, the line-up with Fiorentina on Sunday was always going to be a harder task. The fourth placed side quite different to Reggina who are fighting to remain in the top flight. Their win saw them move to sixth place.
Palermo vs Livorno (1-0)
After a string of recent losses, Palermo will be glad to put some points on the board. This match could’ve had many more goals had it not been for the keepers, Fontana and Amelia both in fine form. Fontana denied a Livorno penalty just before half time as he guessed correctly to save a Tavano strike. With most of the possesion and most of the shots, it was only a matter of time before Palermo finally grabbed a goal. Some haphazard defending gifted a ball into Miccoli’s lap and he drove a low volley into the corner that Amelia could only just reach but not deny him a goal. Palermo sit in 8th while Livorno drop to 16th.
Napoli vs Udinese (3-1)
Napoli seem to have an eerie power over Udinese. They beat them 5-0 in the first part of this season and have now defeated them 3-1 at home to collect their first win in almost two months. It was a deserved victory although Udinese coach Pasquale Marino was left asking questions about the referee’s performance.
Napoli came out firing with Zalayeta having a shot cleared off the line in the first minute and smacking the crossbar a minute later. Another minute on and the crossbar was shaking from a Contini header. Finally Zapata tried to clear a Lavezzi cross but only managed to put it into his own net. Udinese were able to equalise on eight minutes when Pepe blasted a half-volley past the Napoli keeper and then on 36 minutes Napoli’s Paolo Cannavaro was sent off for bringing down Zapata. Even though Udinese tried their best to slow the game down, Napoli weren’t sitting back and continued to attack. Pepe was next in line for an early shower after being shown a second yellow for diving. Even though both teams were left with ten men, Napoli had already adjusted to the change and were well in control of the match. On 74 minutes, Lavezzi scored a blistering goal from about 25 metres out and within a minute he snuck another into the back of the net with a chip over Udinese keeper Handanovic.
Genoa vs Catania (2-1)
Genoa wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with Danilo finding the goal after 13 minutes. Catania keeper Polito had deflected a shot from Borriello into Danilo’s path and he slotted into the net at the far post. Catania had some luck with their equaliser with Bovo heading a Silvestri cross into his own net. Genoa finally took all three points when Borriello slotted in a penalty after his headed attempt was handled by Terlizzi. Genoa and Catania sit 9th and 12th respectively.
Inter vs Empoli (1-0)
Inter found themselves with ten men yet again in this fiery challange that saw many a yellow card being handed out. Inter’s goal came in the 34th minute after a penalty was awarded for Vannucchi handling in the area. Ibrahimovic sent Bassi the wrong way but within minutes Vieira was sent off, picking up two yellows in quick succession firstly for a late challange and then for dissent, the Frenchman completely losing his cool. Inter held on for all three points with Julio Cesar the hero after saving a Saudati penalty in the 83rd minute. Empoli fall to second from bottom while Inter continue to run the show at the top of the standings with 53 points.
Juventus vs Cagliari (1-1)
Juventus remain in third place, unable to defeat a resiliant Cagliari who are last in the standings. The home side had several chances in the first half but poor finishing meant that they went into the break nil nil. It was Cagliari who were first to register a goal when Bianco found the net after a corner on 55 minutes. A minute later though it was Nedved who levelled the scores with a fine strike from 20-25 metres. There were a few chances in the remaining minutes and either side could have gone ahead but a draw was a fair result, Juventus producing a disappointing performance.
Lazio vs Sampdoria (2-1)
There were few chances for both teams in the beginning of this encounter. Lazio’s first came on 18 minutes when Ledesma fired in a goal after his free kick rebounded off the wall but it annulled because of an active offside against Mauri. While a couple of minutes later Cassano failed to capitalise on a nice ball from Bellucci and missed an empty net, shooting over the crossbar. The home side found the goal on 37 minutes when Mauri put away a rebound from a poorly defended corner. Sampdoria refused to enter the break in such a state and Cassano slammed home a volley that bounced off the crossbar on 45 minutes. Both teams came out raring in the second half but it was Rocchi that lobbed in a wonderful goal off a pass from Pandev. The home side had another couple of chances but had to settle on the 2-1 scoreline. The result sees Lazio and Sampdoria sitting in 13th and 8th respectively.
Parma vs Atalanta (2-3)
Atalanta fought hard to defeat Parma and now sit in 7th position while the home side will need to record some wins to avoid falling into the relegation zone. The visitors put away their first goal on 18 minutes through the services of Pellegrino who headed in unmarked. The visitors had another chance on 34 minutes when a penalty was awarded. Lucarelli was asked to take the penalty again after players had encroached in the area but missed on the second attempt. Luckily he only had to wait another 6 minutes to equalise before the break. In the second half Atalanta were rewarded for their hard work, first on 55 minutes through Bellini and then on 69 minutes through Floccari. Parma pulled one back at the end of regular time as Gasbarroni converted a penalty but it was too late for a revival.
Reggina vs Torino (1-3)
Torino did enough to keep themselves out of the relegation area while putting Reggina right in the thick of it. They were awarded a penalty on 24 minutes after Cirillo fouled Lazetic. Rosina made no mistake from the spot. On 36 minutes, Stellone gave the visitors another goal after a solo effort. After the break, Amoruso managed to pull a goal back, heading in from a corner but another Rosina penalty on 67 minutes sealed the win for Torino.
Siena vs Roma (3-0)
Siena staged quite an upset and Roma will return home with thoughts of a wasted oppurtunity to maintain pressure on Inter. The first goal came early on when Vergassola found the net after Ferrari failed to deal with a Kharja cross. Tonetto was awarded an own goal in the 43rd minute as he only managed to clear off the line into his own net. Frick finished up for Siena with less than ten minutes to go as he slotted the ball into the far post. Roma retain second position but fall 8 points behind league-leaders Inter while Siena sit in 14th with 21 points.
Fiorentina vs AC Milan (0-1)
Milan aren’t really scoring profusely but you can at least say that they’re doing enough to get their season back on track. They’ve ended Fiorentina’s winning streak thanks to the wonderkid Pato but were a little lucky as Fiorentina always looked the stronger side. Around the hour mark Ancelotti sent on Pato to replace Seedorf and within 15 minutes the youngster scored after some interchanges between Kaka’ and Pirlo. Unfortunately Pato twisted his ankle in the dying minutes and had to be stretchered off in what looks to be a serious injury. Although there’s a striker shortage for the visitors, they’ve moved up another spot into fifth place only 4 points behind Fiorentina.
1st Inter 53pts 21 played
2nd Roma 45pts 21 played
3rd Juventus 41pts 21 played
4th Fiorentina 37pts 21 played
5th AC Milan 33pts 20 played
6th Udinese 33pts 21 played