Serie A – Weekly Roundup – 9th March 2008

Serie A Roundup by Allan Oliveira Serie A

Matchday 27, round ending on 9th of Mar 2008.

Roma kept pressure on league leaders Inter this week. although they both secured routine wins to keep the gap at 6 points. Fiorentina stumbled against Siena allowing Milan to close the gap between them to just one point while Juventus got back to winning, beating Genoa on the trot.

Inter vs Reggina (2-0)
Inter got back to winning ways again after the shock defeat to Napoli that ended their unbeaten run last week. It was also a good way to mark the club’s centenary with celebrations following the match. They played host to second from bottom Reggina and were able to welcome back Ibrahimovic from a knee injury which will be a relief with their do or die champions league match against Liverpool in a few days. The Swede opened up Inter’s goal account from the penalty spot after just 14 minutes following a foul on Cambiasso just inside the area. Burdisso made it two, 20 minutes later with a powerful header to convert Jimenez’s free kick. Reggina had a few chances but Julio Cesar was on fire and let nothing past him. Ibrahimovic almost had a brace with only the top bar denying his thunderous free kick. The visitors return home in the same position on the table and will need to fight harder to remain in the top flight.

Palermo vs Udinese (1-1)
Palermo were unlucky not to take full points in this match, Udinese’s keeper Handanovic was in fine form to deny almost all of the home side’s efforts. Amauri had most of the early chances but it was Simplicio who hammered the first goal in just after the half hour mark when the ball fell to him just outside the area. The match continued to be all Palermo until on 65 minutes, Felipe rose above all others to nod in at the far post. This only caused the assault on Udinese’s goal to become even more intense but Handanovic’s handy work allowed his side to hold on for a share of the spoils. Another draw for Palermo keeps them out of the running for a UEFA cup spot in eighth while Udinese hang on to theirs, in sixth place.

Catania vs Cagliari (2-1)
Catania were able to seal a win against Cagliari after being a goal down in this relegation zone fight for survival. The visitors started well and Conti only had to wait 22 minutes to score, netting from a Cossu cross in their first real attempt on goal. They couldn’t maintain that lead and conceded just before half time when Silvestri equalised. The second half did not start well either after Canini guided a cross into his own net only three minutes following the restart. The home side continued to attack vigorously but could find no more goals. They’ve pulled themselves out of the relegation zone and up three spots to 15th thanks to Empoli, Parma and Livorno losses. Cagliari’s woes continue as they prop up the others.

Empoli vs Milan (1-3)
The visitors left it late to win this tie with the score locked for most of the game. With only the league to play for after being knocked out by Arsenal earlier in the week, they’ve improved on recent draws and closed the gap between themselves and Fiorentina to one point. Milan’s first goal was a bit of a gift as Bassi failed to deal with a cross, bumping into Gilardino and dropping the ball for Pato to guide into the net. Gilardino should have doubled the score but completely missed a Kaka cutback shortly after. Soon after that the home side equalised when Busce converted an Antonini cross at the back post. The sides continued to exchange blows throughout the remaining time but it was Milan that took control, first on 86 minutes with Ambrosini’s header from Kaka’s cross and then three minutes later as the provider became scorer shooting low into the bottom corner and putting the match beyond doubt. Empoli drop into the relegation zone, sharing points with Parma but have worse goal difference.

Lazio vs Livorno (2-0)
Lazio wrapped up this match early on, both goals within 25 minutes. At the quarter of an hour mark Ladesma set up Rocchi even though the scorer needed two attempts to put the ball away. Shortly after Pandev grabbed a loose ball and found the net with the help of a deflection. Lazio held on to their lead easily enough with the visitors rarely troubling them. The points are much needed after a lack of wins recently had them sliding down the table. Livorno dropped a place to Catania and will have to be careful to not fall back into the relegation zone.

Napoli vs Roma (0-2)
Roma cut Inter’s 9 point lead from the day before back to 6 points and defeated Napoli easily where the league leaders failed only a week earlier. With only two minutes on the clock, Perrotta smashed home an angled effort after Totti set him up. Both sides continued to attack but Roma was more dangerous and forced some good saves from Gianello. Shortly after the restart the ref awarded a penalty to the visitors when Mannini took down Cicinho. Totti converted the spot kick to mark his 500th match for Roma.
Napoli almost pulled one back but Hamsik’s tap in was disallowed as Lavezzi was offside before his assist. Mexes was stretchered off just before the end after colliding with Zalayeta which is bad news for Roma. It was an important win without the support of their fans, banned from travelling over fears of public safety, Roma are looking more and more dangerous. Through to the next round of the champions league and seriously challenging for the Scudetto. Napoli remain in their mid-table spot.

Parma vs Sampdoria (1-2)
Parma faltered again after getting hammered last week by Roma. Sampdoria had to do without Cassano who will be on the sidelines for the next five weeks after he completely lost it last week and threw his shirt at the ref. The visitors seemed to be doing well enough without him and scored on 12 minutes when an unmarked Maggio nodded in a Franceschini effort. Gabarroni had a chance to level the scores when the ref awarded a penalty shortly after the restart, but he smashed it into the upright. Soon after Bonazzoli doubled the score with a header from a corner kick. Budan was able to pull a goal back ten minutes later but Parma were unable to take any points from this encounter and will be disappointed with all their missed chances. They drop another spot while Sampdoria close in on Udinese, hoping for a UEFA cup spot next season.

Siena vs Fiorentina
The Tuscan derby favoured the hosts this time as they grabbed a late winner in a tough match. Pazzini wasted an early effort when Waigo set him up only for him to shoot wide from just six yards. Frick almost gave his side the lead on the hour mark but his goal was disallowed for offside. Maccarone finally broke the deadlock, curling around the wall and into the top far corner from a free kick. If only he’d kept his shirt on he could’ve played out the final ten minutes but was sent off with a second yellow. Siena held on for victory and are now level with Torino on points in 14th.

Torino vs Atalanta
Torino did just enough against their visitors who had to play most of the match a man down. Both sides had several chances in the first half hour but it was Barone’s touch that found the net on 35 minutes. Within two minutes Atalanta were reduced to ten men after Pellegrino picked up a straight red for his tackle from behind on Di Michele. Torino wasted some good opportunities in the remaining minutes but seemed content enough to hold out for the win. Atalanta hold on to tenth in the league for now.

Genoa vs Juventus
Juventus dropped vital points over the last few weeks and had Fiorentina breathing down their neck, a point away from stealing 3rd spot. But Juventus secured the important win and took full advantage of their rival’s lapse. Juve were quick to get off to a good start with their first real attempt, a poorly cleared Zebina free kick fell for Grygera who smashed it into the net just under the bar on 25 minutes. The scorer turned provider just eight minutes later, setting up Trezeguet for his first goal in over a month. This allowed the Frenchman to tie with Ibrahimovic on 15 goals, both of them still one goal less than the home sides’ Borriello. Both sides had good chances in the remainder of the match but Juve held on to their advantage. Genoa drop a place and move to 9th with 35 points.

The standings
1st Inter 64pts 27 played
2nd Roma 58pts 27 played
3rd Juventus 51pts 27 played
4th Fiorentina 47pts 27 played
5th AC Milan 46pts 27 played
6th Udinese 40pts 27 played

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