Friday 22 December
Juventus 2-2 Arezzo
Juventus have thrown away a golden opportunity to break away at the top after allowing second from bottom side Arezzo to climb back from a 2-0 deficit in the space of three minutes! It had started so well for the Bianconeri, as Del Piero nodded Balzaretti’s cross on to the bar and Trezeguet skimmed the upright. The deadlock was eventually broken just shy of the hour mark when Palladino’s dummy allowed Trezeguet to thump home a Birindelli cross. Soon after the two exchanged places, the Frenchman setting up Palladino’s right-foot drive.
The game seemed to be under control, but it all went wrong in the last 10 minutes. Substitute Martinetti converted a penalty for Boumsong’s foul on Floro Flores, then beat Buffon again with a precise header. Even after Terra’s dismissal for a second bookable offence, Juve couldn’t find a way back against 10-man Arezzo. The Tuscans are the first team to emerge from the Olimpico in Turin with a result this season, ending a run of seven straight wins.
Albinoleffe 0-0 Pescara
Albinoleffe ended 2006 with a 17-match unbeaten run after this disappointing stalemate with relegation strugglers Pescara. Cellini, Gori and Antonelli went close, but Joelson wasted the home side’s best opportunity by firing wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Brescia 1-1 Bologna
Bologna lose their leadership and this result also leaves Brescia no closer to the promotion places. It was certainly an eventful first half at the Rigamonti, as after just 18 minutes Filippini’s handling offence gave the Rondinelle a penalty, but Hamsik had to retake it and at the second attempt Antonioli performed a fine save. Still reeling, Brescia went behind a few minutes later to Brioschi taking advantage of a defensive error. Cortellini was sent off from the bench for dissent and another spot-kick arrived for Brioschi’s foul, but this time Serafini took the responsibility and converted. The second period was far less entertaining, as only Stankevicius threatened for the home side.
Genoa 0-0 Bari
Genoa’s time at the top is ended already following a fiery match with surprise package Bari. In a clash between the most prolific attack and one of the best defences, Bari’s solidity won out. Gillet denied both Greco and Criscito’s header, then was saved by the woodwork on Criscito again. The Bari goalkeeper was on stunning form and ended the first half by saving Greco’s penalty, awarded for a Scaglia handling offence on Milanetto’s free kick. Juric, De Rosa and Milanetto all had chances to win it for the home side, but even after Santoruvo’s second booking for elbowing an opponent, the Grifoni couldn’t find a way through a defence that has conceded just 12 goals in 18 games.
Lecce 1-2 Vicenza
There can be no denying that Lecce are in a deep crisis after their 10th defeat in 18 games – the fourth on home turf – against relegation strugglers Vicenza. Cavalli was the hero for the visitors, opening the scoring with a splendid solo effort and right-foot screamer into the top corner. Cavalli also fired at the goalkeeper but, following Diamoutene’s header to temporarily equalise, secured this latest embarrassing Stadio Via del Mare setback at full stretch to tap in. One wonders now whether Zdenek Zeman will still be on the bench in 2007.
Modena 0-0 Napoli
The referee took centre stage in this passionate encounter at the Stadio Braglia. Tisci managed the extraordinary feat of earning two yellow cards in the opening five minutes for dangerous tackles, but Cannavaro escaped a straight red for seemingly bringing down Colacone as last man. The Ballon d’Or winner’s younger brother ran his luck too far, making the same mistake on Gilioli in first half stoppages and this time he was sent off. With both teams in 10 men, the game was mainly played out in midfield. Modena came closest to victory when Grava fouled Gilioli, but Iezzo performed a decisive save on Colacone’s spot-kick.
Piacenza 4-0 Cesena
Piacenza fly to the top of the table by dominating an unusually below par Cesena outfit. Cacia was Man of the Match, setting up Riccio’s tap-in before bagging a brace with a left-foot missile from the edge of the area and converting a penalty for a foul on Degano. Lazzari and Degano also hit the woodwork, so Campagnaro’s late header and the 4-0 scoreline were almost a let-off for the visitors.
Rimini 2-1 Spezia
Rimini celebrate Christmas on top of the Serie B table after this crucial victory. Giuliano’s handling offence gave Jeda the opening penalty before Valiani combined with Cascione for an angled drive. The newly promoted side had the better of the second half and got back into the game through Confalone’s header, but Dionigi blasted the chance for a stoppage-time equaliser off target.
Treviso 3-0 Frosinone
Treviso clambered out of the danger zone by surprising Frosinone. Fava nodded in Gissi’s cross to open what turned out to be a thoroughly deserved victory and Quadrini’s stunning long-range strike left Zappino rooted to the spot. Margiotta had the visitors’ only real chance of the game and youngster Bradaschia celebrated his debut appearance by tapping in the third.
Verona 0-3 Mantova
Verona are locked in the bottom three after this humiliating defeat in front of the long-suffering Hellas fans, although the disciplinary record proved decisive. Mezzanotti nodded in a corner kick and soon after Mancinelli saw red for cutting short a potential scoring opportunity, leaving the Bentegodi outfit in 10 men for over an hour. Sommese’s volley from the edge of the area and a Noselli header sealed Mantova’s first away win of the campaign. Greco added to Verona’s problems with another dismissal for dangerous play.
Crotone P-P Triestina
The match at Crotone was rained off and will now be played on January 16, 2007. The tie at the Stadio Enzo Scida was abandoned before kick-off due to a freak thunderstorm that struck the area, flooding the pitch. It has now been confirmed that the encounter will take place on January 16 with a 15.00 local time, 14.00 in the UK, kick-off. Match Report >>>
Source: C4 Football Italia