Thursday, 9 November 2006

Coppa Italia, Last 16: First Leg Review

Livorno and Parma were the only Serie A sides to fall to first leg defeats against Serie B oposition in the Last 16 of the Coppa Italia. Milan were looking at another shock home defeat to Brescia, but scored four goals in the last half-hour, while Roma and holders Inter take first leg leads into the return matches in December. Joint Serie A leaders Palermo fell to a defeat in Genoa.

The Last 16 stage of the Coppa Italia threw up some intriguing ties, among them a local showdown in Tuscany.
Arezzo, who are propping up the Serie B table without a single win this season, and firing Coach Antonio Conte last week, earned a surprise victory over Livorno. Daniele Martinetti was the hero, opening the scoring with a precise header on Stefano Lombardi’s cross and after the break converting a penalty for goalkeeper Emanuele Manitta’s foul on Roberto Chiappara. It was a special moment for Martinetti, who hadn’t netted since his return from a serious injury. Livorno gave themselves a chance of passage to the quarter-finals with Andrea Giallombardo’s solo effort, sealing the 2-1 scoreline.

Napoli have taken control of their tie with Parma following a 1-0 first leg win. After denying Juventus a ninth consecutive League win on Monday, the Azzurri collected a Last 16 victory against Stefano Pioli’s men this evening. The Ennio Tardini outfit did come into the game in relatively good form after collecting two wins and a draw from their last four Serie A matches. Nevertheless, they fell at the Stadio San Paolo this evening after a Cristian Bucchi penalty in the second half, given for a foul on Roberto De Zerbi, condemned them to defeat.

Milan had a dismal start to their tie against Brescia after a run of poor Serie A results, falling 2-0 by half-time thanks to two Zeljko Kalac howlers. Matteo Serafini had opened the scoring on 34 minutes by getting on the end of a Marius Stankevicius free kick and moments later Luis Alfageme took advantage of another Kalac error on a relatively simple ball to double the Serie B outfit’s lead. Fielding a weakened side, Carlo Ancelotti threw on Pippo Inzaghi and it made all the difference to the performance. Dario Simic began the comeback on the hour mark by nodding in Marcos Cafu's cross and Cristian Brocchi drew the giants level with a splendid strike from distance. Inzaghi put Milan into the lead for the first time 12 minutes from the end before Marco Borriello sealed the scoreline with a chest and angled drive.

Inter are still on course to win their third straight Coppa Italia after collecting a 1-0 win at Messina. The Nerazzurri grabbed a potentially crucial 1-0 first leg victory thanks to a goal from in-form Argentine ace Julio Ricardo Cruz. Roberto Mancini’s men started the game brightly in Sicily and eventually took the lead on 40 minutes after wasting a host of early chances. Cruz was the man who broke the deadlock and he did so in some style with an accurate curling free-kick before the break. Messina started the second period brightly against a second string Inter side. Mitsuo Ogasawara, Ivica Iliev and Salvatore Sullo all seriously tested Francesco Toldo but the veteran survived.

Joint Serie A leaders Palermo beat Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday, but the Blucerchiati took revenge at the Stadio Marassi. The Sicilians brought some tough saves out of goalkeeper Gianluca Berti in the first half with Andrea Caracciolo, Gianni Munari and Franco Brienza. However, it was Emiliano Bonazzoli who broke through for the home side in the final stages, turning in Danilo Soddimo’s cross from the left. Palermo, who are also competing in the UEFA Cup, rested several key players.

Vincenzo Montella’s brace gave Roma victory in Trieste. The Giallorossi got back on track in Serie A this weekend and were also successful in the Coppa away to Serie B outfit Triestina. Their two injury-prone hitmen, Montella and Mirko Vucinic, combined for the opener just before the break. Goalkeeper David Dei managed to parry the first effort, but L’Aeroplanino pounced on the rebound.The second half started in a similar vein, as Montella nodded in Amantino Mancini’s cross from the left. Triestina managed to pull one back with Lorenzo Rossetti at full stretch to meet Mattia Graffiedi’s assist and give them some hope of turning the situation around in the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico.

Empoli saw off Serie B leaders Genoa in a hard-fought encounter at the Stadio Castellani. Simone Iacopini snatched the only goal of the match on the stroke of half-time, unleashing a powerful right-foot effort from the edge of the area. Nicola Pozzi also had a good opportunity for the Tuscans and ballooned it over the bar, but Genoa were on the whole disappointing

Chievo came from two goals down to collect a precious 2-2 draw at Reggina. It had looked as if the home side would have a comfortable 90 minutes, yet Gigi Del Neri’s men hit back to seemingly put themselves in control of the tie with the Verona leg still to come. The Stadio Granillo boys took the lead midway through the opening period when Nickie Nielsen scored 11 minutes before Palmiro Di Dio doubled their advantage. However Chievo, who are desperately struggling in Serie A, hit back through Victor Obinna. The Nigerian, who made his return from lengthy suspension at the weekend, slotted home a 75th minute penalty. Paolo Sammarco completed the scoring when he rippled the net with just five minutes remaining to ensure a draw.

The second leg matches of the Last 16 stage will either take place on November 29 or December 6.

View all the Last 16 results here >>>

View the Coppa Italia plan >>>

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