Sunday, 29 October 2006

Serie A Wk 9: Review

Inter take seven-goal derby thriller.
Saturday 28 October
Milan 3-4 Inter
Inter won the first Derby della Madonnina of the season to remain at the top of Serie A with a dramatic 4-3 win over city rivals Milan at the San Siro. Goals from Hernan Crespo and Dejan Stankovic gave the Nerazzurri a comfortable half-time advantage. Just two minutes had gone in the second half when Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the 'away' team three ahead, but Milan didn't lie down and Clarence Seedorf brought them back into the game three minutes later. Inter's three-goal advantage was restored by Marco Materazzi, however the Inter defender received a second yellow card for his illegal celebration and the 10 men were made to sweat when Alberto Gilardino once again reduced the arrears with 15 minutes remaining. Kaka set up a grandstand finish with a goal in stoppage time, but Roberto Mancini's side held on for the points which take them 14 points clear from their Milan rivals.

Udinese 0-1 Roma
Roma ended their three-game run without victory by securing a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Udinese. Defender Matteo Ferrari was the hero for Luciano Spalletti's team, netting a 66th-minute winner as the hosts had Sulley Muntari sent off for a second offence shortly after to make their task even harder. The capital club remain four points behind Serie A leaders Inter and Palermo

Sunday 29 October
Fiorentina 2-3 Palermo
A late goal from inspired Palermo striker Carvalho Amauri sunk Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon. Amauri struck his second goal of the game with one minute remaining to make sure the Sicilians secured three points at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Brazilian forward had previously seen his 80th-minute goal cancelled out by Adrian Mutu seven minutes later. The Sicilian giants had been unlucky in the opening half with Andrea Barzagli's own goal on the half-hour mark allowing Fiorentina to level the score after David Di Michele had given the visitors an early lead. The result means that Palermo still lead the Serie A standings alongside Inter. As for Fiorentina, they had hoped for a better outcome considering the difficult week the club had. The Viola were only given four points back from the Italian Olympic Committee following their appeal on the match-fixing scandal.

Lazio 0-0 Reggina
Lazio failed to win for their fourth consecutive game as Reggina scrapped for a scoreless draw at the Stadio Olimpico. Despite their disappointing performances of late, Lazio went into the game with renewed confidence having climbed out of the drop zone after success in their appeal against the match-fixing verdict. The Romans were given back eight points by the Italian Olympic Committee on Friday which had seen them climb to 13th in the standings with seven points. But on Sunday they could not get past Ivan Pelizzoli as the Reggina goalkeeper pulled off a string of saves to deny the Romans. The visitors also had their share of chances but failed to beat veteran goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi. The Southerners ended the game with 10 men after Cristian Ledesma was sent off shortly before the final whistle for a second bookable offence. The result is of little use to Reggina, who remain bottom in the table, seven points from safety.

Parma 3-1 Atalanta
Parma got off to a flying start but needed two goals in the closing stages to secure victory over Serie A's surprise package Atalanta. Parma were gifted the lead in the first minute when Igor Budan capitalised on a defensive mix-up to score, but they failed to build on it and Cristiano Doni's 58th minute goal levelled the game. With 20 minutes to go, Parma re-took the lead through Vincenzo Grilla's penalty, and - after Simone Loria saw red seven minutes from time - Zlatan Muslimovic completed the scoring with an 87th minute goal.

Cagliari 1-0 Sampdoria
Daniele Conti blasted home on the stroke of half time against Sampdoria to give Cagliari their long-awaited first win of the season. The drought had gone on for eight games and having watched his side fail to hold onto a two-goal lead in the 3-3 draw with Atalanta on Wednesday, coach Marco Giampaolo demanded a win from his team ahead of this fixture. And he got it when Conti swerved his 20-yard freekick into the net with the final act of the half. The result extends Cagliari's unbeaten run to seven games and sees Giampaolo's side climb above Milan to 12th in Serie A. Sampdoria, meanwhile, slip two places to ninth after failing to replicate the form which saw them trump Lazio in midweek.

Messina 2-1 Chievo
Messina gave new Chievo boss Luigi Del Neri another reality check with a last-gasp 2-1 victory at the Stadio San Filippo to leave the away side still searching for their first win of the season. Del Neri has had three games in charge of the Flying Donkeys on his return to the club he guided to promotion five years ago, but he has been unable to reverse the terrible run on form that they have started the season with. The Verona based club have now picked up just two points from their opening nine games of the season, and lie just three places off the foot of the table in stark contrast to their lofty finish last season. Simone Tiribocchi did give the visitors a 1-0 lead midway through the first-half, but Christian Rigano equalised in first-half stoppage time with his seventh goal of the campaign. And just when the clash looked to be heading for draw, Sergio Floccari popped up to net a dramatic winner three minutes into second-half injury time. The result brings an end to Messina's five match winless streak and moves Bruno Giordano's side further away from the drop zone.

Ascoli 0-1 Siena
A late goal from Paul Codrea earned Siena three points at the expense of 10-man Ascoli and moved Mario Beretta's men up to fourth in the Serie A standings. Despite the first-half dismissal of Simone Pesce, Ascoli looked to be heading for an unlikely share of the spoils until Codrea finally breached the home defence four minutes from time. A late red card for Daniele Corvia tarnished Siena's achievements, but it came too late for Ascoli as the visitors secured their fourth victory of the season.

Catania 1-1 Torino
Torino continue to struggle under Alberto Zaccheroni and, in bringing back a point from an 1-1 draw away to Catania, the much-travelled coach has got away with the bare minimum from this meeting between promoted clubs. When Gionatha Spinesi gave the Sicilians the lead from the penalty spot after 20 minutes, it looked like Zaccheroni was facing another defeat that would have inevitably made his job prospects look even bleaker. Even after Giuseppe Mascara was dismissed early in the second half, Catania still looked good for all three points until Ivan Franceschini bagged a late leveller for Toro. The Turin club still have only one victory under their belts which, considering the cash spent in the summer, is not up to standard. The game was played behind closed doors at a neutral venue, Bari's Stadio San Nicola, following recent crowd trouble at Catania's home ground.

Livorno 0-0 Empoli
Livorno and Empoli shared the spoils in a goalless Tuscan derby in the evening match to maintain the hosts' unbeaten run at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Amaranto, humiliated 4-1 at the San Siro by Serie A leaders Inter on Wednesday, put in a better performance but lacked the incisive cutting edge to break down Empoli's well-organised defence.

All of this weekend's games started with the teams entering the field sporting white t-shirts saying: "Let Gabriele Torsello go free" - 'Liberate Gabriele Torsello', the Italian photo journalist living in London and allegedly kidnapped last Thursday in South Afghanistan.

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