Sunday, 17 December 2006

Serie A Wk 16: Review

Saturday 16 December
Fiorentina 2-2 Milan
Alberto Gilardino rescued a point for Milan in their crunch match with Fiorentina on Saturday. In a clash between clubs struggling in the wake of their Calciopoli punishments from last season, Gilardino had put Milan ahead after just four minutes. But Adrian Mutu scored in either half - the first a penalty - leaving Milan to rely on Gilardino's late second to take anything from the game. Although these two sides are almost level in the standings, it is Fiorentina who have been the more impressive, having begun the season with 15-point handicap compared to Milan's eight.

Udinese 3-1 Cagliari
Udinese ran out comfortable winners despite having to play the entire second half with 10 men. Giampiero Pinzi put the home side ahead in the 17th minute after being set up by Vincenzo Iaquinta, who got on the scoresheet himself to double their advantage 10 minutes later. Sulley Muntari was then dismissed for a wild lunge on Andrea Capone on halftime having already fouled him minutes earlier. Chris Obodo made light of his side being a man down when he netted after 52 minutes and the Sardinians' only consolation was Andrea Cocco's goal eight minutes from time.

Sunday 17 December
Inter 2-0 Messina
Roberto Mancini etched his name into Inter's history books on Sunday afternoon with a record-breaking ninth successive league victory, 2-0 against Messina. Last weekend's 3-0 win at Empoli saw the San Siro boss level Helenio Herrera and Giovanni Trapattoni's records of eight successive wins. Marco Materazzi netted with a spectacular overhead kick early in the second half and Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled their advantage just before the hour mark after good work on the wing by Maicon.

Roma 4-0 Palermo
Second-placed Roma destroyed third-placed Palermo to underline that they and not the Sicilian club are the likeliest team to prevent champions Inter from winning the 2006-07 Scudetto. Two goals from Alessandro Mancini and one from Francesco Totti - who also created the fourth, an own goal by Giuseppe Biava - enabled the Eternal City giants to trim Inter's lead back to seven points. Palermo also had Fabio Simplicio dismissed and the Rosaneri stay in third, but now trail Inter by 11 points in what looks more and more like a two-horse race for the title. It completed a miserable week for Francesco Guidolin's team after their elimination from the UEFA Cup

Livorno 1-1 Lazio
Lazio had a man sent off but escaped with a point after a 1-1 draw at Livorno. The Capital club, fresh off their 3-0 triumph over bitter rivals Roma, were hoping to move into the top four and took a 25th minute lead thanks to Goran Pandev. But Cristiano Lucarelli equalised shortly after the half-hour mark and the the teams shared the spoils. The game took a turn for the worst for the visitors after Tommaso Rocchi was given his marching orders after he was shown his second bookable offence for a late tackle on Antonio Filippini with 60 minutes played. Livorno threatened with several late scares but failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority and were forced to settle for a draw. The results means Lazio remain fifth in the standings

Siena 1-1 Atalanta
Mario Frick's late equaliser for Siena against Atalanta ensured honours ended even in an encounter between two teams that have exceeded expectations so far this season. Giulio Migliaccio had given the Bergamaschi the upper hand nine minutes before half-time before Frick's late intervention earned a 1-1 draw. The visitors were unlucky not to snatch all three points after Moris Carrozzieri and Mario Defendi hit the post. Neither Siena coach Mario Beretta nor defender Daniele Portanova saw the end of the match as both were dismissed in the dying minutes by referee Orsato di Schio, who was making his Serie A debut.

Parma 2-2 Chievo
Parma and Chievo also shared the spoils after a 2-2 draw in a battle of clubs fighting relegation. Andrea Zanchetta opened proceedings for Chievo with a 23rd minute penalty, only for the home fans to rise to their feet shortly after following Igor Budan's equaliser. Parma then took the lead with Daniele Dessena's 58th minute strike, but Lorenzo D'Anna pulled the visitors level. The outcome means both sides have 11 points, with Parma third from bottom and Chievo one place better off in the last position of safety.

Ascoli 0-2 Torino
Ascoli continue to search for that elusive first win of the season after slumping to their 10th defeat in 16 Serie A matches, this time 2-0 at the hands of Torino. Two goals from Alessandro Rosina, the first coming from the penalty spot, earned the visitors the spoils in an eventful clash at the Stadio Del Duca. Michelangelo Minieri saw red for Ascoli midway through the second half, while Sasa Bjelanovic missed a spot-kick for the hosts in the closing minutes. Torino also finished the match with 10 men after Marco Di Loreto's late dismissal, but it made little difference to the outcome with Rosina scoring his second soon after to seal their fourth win in five league matches

Reggina 0-1 Sampdoria
A stunning overhead kick from Fabio Quagliarella handed Sampdoria the points in a narrow 1-0 win at Reggina. Both sides had appeals for penalties turned down in an even first half, but just as the home side were gaining control of the match, Quagliarella provided an unstoppable winner in the 68th minute. Reggina continued to pile on the pressure, but were unable to beat an inspired Gianluca Berti in the Sampdoria goal in the remaining 20 minutes. The Genovese side move up to ninth while Reggina, who were deducted 11 points after a Calciopoli scandal, remain second bottom

Catania P-P Empoli
This match was postponed due to heavy rainfall at the Stadio Massimino. The Sicilian city had been under thunderstorms for several hours and referee Mauro Bergonzi's tests failed to make the ball roll along the heavy pitch. The Lega Calcio have confirmed it will be played on January 24, 2007. Match Report >>>

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