Sunday, 3 December 2006

Serie A Wk 14: Review

Saturday 2 December
Inter 2-0 Siena
Serie A pace-setters Inter stayed four points clear at the top of the league as they ran out 2-0 winners against Siena at the San Siro. Defender Nicolas Burdisso headed home an 11th minute corner before the Tuscans saw a second-half penalty saved from Mario Frick. Zlatan Ibrahimovic slipped through Hernan Crespo and he jinked round the Siena defenders before chipping the ball coolly over Alex Manninger in the 54th minute. It was Inter's 11th win in a row in all competitions and extended their unbeaten run in the top flight to 14 matches.

Roma 2-1 Atalanta
Roma required two penalties to fend off the stern challenge of tenacious Atalanta in an ill-tempered clash at the Stadio Olimpico. Riccardo Zampagna put Atalanta in front in the 19th minute, firing in the loose ball after Roma keeper Doni had blocked a Massimo Donati shot. Just as last week against Sampdoria, Francesco Totti was again the two-goal hero for the Giallorossi. Simone Loria tripped Simone Perrotta and Totti converted and then the captain himself was upended by Giulio Migliaccio 12 minutes later and rose to score his ninth goal of the season. Atalanta played the final few minutes of the game with 10 men after Massimo Donati saw a straight red for a lunge on Perrotta. Roma's sixth win on the bounce upholds the pressure on leaders Inter

Sunday 3 December
Parma 0-0 Palermo
Palermo lost further ground on the top two in Serie A after they were held to a goalless draw at Parma on Sunday. Two weeks ago the Sicilians were joint top of the league with Inter, but consecutive defeats, 1-0 away to Cagliari and a 2-1 home loss to the leaders, has seen them drop to third. Parma had slightly the better of a disappointing game with Portuguese defender Fernando Couto having a second half effort disallowed for offside. An uninspiring performance at the Stadio Ennio Tardini now leaves the Rosanero eight points adrift of the Nerazzurri and four behind Roma, who both won on Saturday.

Fiorentina 1-0 Lazio
A few years ago this would have been a top of the table game but with both clubs starting the season with points penalties following the Calciopoli scandal, the match had a very different feel. Luca Toni's superb first-half volley handed Fiorentina a deserved victory over Lazio in Florence. The Italian international struck in the 15th minute to give his team a much-needed triumph after their back-to back draws against Ascoli and Siena. The Viola did escape several late scares thanks to crucial saves from Sebastien Frey who denied the Biancoceleste in numerous occasions

Cagliari 2-2 Milan
Ten-man AC Milan were held to a draw by Cagliari in Sardinia. Alberto Gilardino headed in a cross from French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff to put Milan ahead in the 48th minute but Cagliari equalised minutes later when their Honduran striker David Suazo was fouled by Kakha Kaladze and he slotted home the penalty. Suazo had a big role in Cagliari's second, his attempted lob was superbly saved by Milan's Australian keeper Zeljko Kalac but Andrea Capone was there to nod in the loose ball. Substitute Marco Borriello's classy finish brought Milan back on level terms in the 70th minute. Milan were forced to play the last 15 minutes in numerical inferiority after Andrea Pirlo was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Suazo.

Livorno 0-2 Chievo
Fourth-placed Livorno were surprisingly beaten 2-0 at home by Chievo. Nigerian striker Victor Obinna bagged a brace, just as he did last weekend in the 2-0 victory over Udinese which marked his side's first three-point haul of the campaign. Obinna's two goals - the first a superb solo effort and the second courtesy of a defensive error - came in the space of five second-half minutes and proved enough to condemn Livorno to only their fourth defeat in 14 games and their first on home soil. The result is also Chievo's second successive victory after their winless start to the campaign.

Torino 1-0 Empoli
Torino's third straight win, on the day they celebrated their centenary, brought an end to Empoli's seven match unbeaten run. Gianluca Comotto grabbed the only goal two minutes from time. Empoli, however, will feel hard done by after what looked a perfectly good goal was disallowed 12 minutes into the second half. Francesco Marianini's header beat Torino keeper Christian Abbiati and appeared to cross the line before Simone Barone hacked the ball clear. The visitors angrily gathered around the referee but Domenico Celi - officiating in his first Serie A game - waved away their protests

Messina 0-2 Sampdoria
Sampdoria picked up their first away win of the season at Messina. The visitors took the lead in the 20th minute when Daniele Franceschini headed in a near post glance from a corner. After Messina's Christian Rigano had an effort disallowed for offside, Samp made sure of the three points with an injury time tap-in from Fabio Quagliarella

Udinese 1-1 Reggina
Ten-man Reggina picked up another point with a 1-1 draw at Udinese but will rue failing to take all three as they seek to overcome their 15-point handicap and stay in Serie A. Roland Bianchi put the Calabrians ahead with a 35th minute header but shortly after the break they had Maurizio Lanzaro sent off for a second booking. Udinese equalised through a familiar source, Antonio Di Natale setting up Vincenzo Iaquinta who slipped the ball through the legs of Ivan Pelizzoli. Goal line cameras were used for this clash at the Stadio Friuli as part of a FIFA endorsed experiment but there was no incident to test the use of the technology.

Ascoli 2-2 Catania
Catania maintained their impressive start to the season as they fought back from two goals down to earn a valuable point against Ascoli at the Stadio Del Duca. Sasa Bjelanovic scored twice in the opening period to give his team a comfortable advantage. With the visitors having failed to test Gianluca Pagliuca in the Ascoli goal in the first half, few expected the Sicilian outfit to hit back. But Lorenzo Stovini's strike shortly after the restart opened the game up, and Gionathan Spinesi's header levelled the score with 13 minutes remaining.

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