Sunday, 26 November 2006

Serie A Wk 13: Review

Saturday 25 November
Milan 1-0 Messina
Paolo Maldini was the unlikely hero for Milan and under-fire coach Carlo Ancelotti as they won for the first time in a month in Serie A against Messina at the San Siro. The veteran defender's 13th minute strike helped the Rossoneri players forget their recent struggles, although they will wake up on Sunday morning still 14th in the table. Since October 25, when they beat Chievo 2-0, Milan had lost three times and drawn once. That poor return all but ended their bid for the Scudetto, with the club having had eight points deducted before the season for their part in the Calciopoli scandal. Coach Carlo Ancelotti also saw his team lose out 1-0 to AEK Athens in the Champions League on Tuesday although that did not prevent them from advancing to the next phase of the competition.

Chievo 2-0 Udinese
Chievo secured their first league win of the season in a lively and entertaining encounter with Udinese at the Stadio Bentegodi in Verona. Their 19-year-old Nigerian striker Victor Obinna was the hero with a two-goal performance, his first strike coming in the 31st minute following an error by Udinese keeper Morgan De Sanctis. His second arrived from the penalty spot with just under 20 minutes remaining, setting the seal on a victory that lifts the club out of the relegation zone

Sunday 26 November
Palermo 1-2 Inter
Inter extended their lead at the top of Serie A to four points on Sunday after a 2-1 win at fellow high-flyers Palermo. Frenchman Patrick Vieira netted the winner on the hour mark - his first Serie A goal for the club. The champions dominated the match, taking an early lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic before Palermo's Brazilian striker Amauri equalised on the stroke of halftime. Inter had to endure several late scares however, including substitute Andrea Caracciolo's effort that rebounded off the post two minutes from time. The result means that Inter lead the Serie A standings from second-placed Roma, Palermo fall to third.

Sampdoria 2-4 Roma
A Francesco Totti-inspired Roma moved into second place with an impressive 4-2 win over Sampdoria. The Italy striker not only scored twice, putting Roma in front after 13 minutes and finishing off the scoring in the 74th minute, but he also created the two other Roma goals for Simone Perrotta (33) and Christian Panucci (44). Sergio Volpi had brought the home side level in the 14th minute while Francesco Flachi grabbed a consolation on his return from a two-month suspension in stoppage time, but it was Roma and Totti's day. His second strike in the 74th minute was enough to bring the whole stadium to its feet and Totti enjoyed a standing ovation from both home and away fans alike when he left the field five minutes later

Siena 1-1 Fiorentina
Fiorentina and Siena shared the spoils in an absorbing Tuscan derby at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Luca Antonini had given the hosts a 17th minute lead before Adrian Mutu levelled the scores for the visitors before half-time. Both teams had numerous chances to take the lead after the re-start but both goalkeepers did well to keep the score unchanged.

Lazio 3-1 Ascoli
In-form Lazio secured their third successive victory against winless Ascoli at the Stadio Olimpico as their push for a top-four finish gained momentum. Manuel Belleri had given the hosts an early lead before Stefano Mauri was unlucky to divert the ball into his own net with 15 minutes played to restore parity. It didn't hinder the Biancoceleste though as Goran Pandev made it 2-1 midway through the first half. The Romans were made to sweat for the entire second period before substitute Pasquale Foggia killed the game off with six minutes remaining. The win lifts Lazio to seventh in the table, while strugglers Ascoli have dropped into the relegation zone for the first time this campaign.

Atalanta 1-2 Torino
Torino won for only the second time this season following a tightly contested 2-1 victory over Atalanta in Bergamo. All the action came in the last 12 minutes with Nikola Lazetic's shot was deflected into his own net by Claudio Rivalta. Alessandro Rosina added a second to secure Toro's first away win of the season. Simone Loria headed in the home side's consolation goal in stoppage time, but it arrived too late to prevent them losing their unbeaten home record

Empoli 1-0 Cagliari
Empoli extended their unbeaten league run to seven games after securing a narrow 1-0 victory over Cagliari at the Stadio Carlo Castellini. Ighli Vannucchi's early free-kick was enough to secure all three points for Empoli and leave Cagliari still searching for their first away win this campaign. Luigi Cagni's side, who have not been beaten since October 15, have now moved into fifth place, while Cagliari are in 11th spot

Reggina 2-2 Livorno
Reggina finally moved into the black points-wise after coming back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw against Livorno in the archetypal game of two halves at the Stadio Oreste Granillo. The Tuscan side seemed well in control as Fabio Galante and Cristiano Lucarelli scored to put them in control at halftime. Reggina, however, pulled level through Rolando Bianchi and Julio Leon. Livorno finished the match with 10 men after Dario Passoni earned a second yellow card 10 minutes from time. It has taken four wins and four draws for Reggina to finally get a positive number in the points column, but they could see that number shoot up later in the week when a verdict is expected from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on their appeal over their points deduction in the match-fixing affair.

Catania 2-0 Parma
Catania maintained their impressive start to the Serie A campaign as goals from Gionathan Spinesi and Fabio Caserta earned them a 2-0 win over 10-man Parma. The Sicilian minnows were determined to bounce back from their 7-0 defeat against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend. And Pasquale Marino's side continued to prove their worth in the top-flight following promotion last season with a professional performance, which maintained their unbeaten home record to leap to sixth - level on points with Empoli. The Gialloblu, who had Vincenzo Grella dismissed just before the break after the midfielder picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, have now suffered three consecutive league defeats which has left Stefana Pioli's side just three points above the relegation zone.

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