Sunday, 21 January 2007

Serie A Wk 20: Review

Saturday 20 January
Reggina 0-0 Palermo
Reggina held third-placed Palermo to a goalless draw at the Stadio Oreste Granillo, but missed the opportunity of moving away from the only two teams below them in Serie A. The home side enjoyed the better of the first half, but were unable to find a way past Alberto Fontana in the Palermo goal. The Rosaneri improved as the game wore on, but lacked the killer instinct with Andrea Caracciolo in particular struggling with his form in front of goal. A draw was a fair result after a game in which the off-field activities of the two sets of fans had caught the attention more than the action, or lack of it, in either goalmouth. Up to five years ago, the followers of Reggina and Palermo had a mutual respect for their fellow southern Italian rivals. Now the Sicilians have emerged to become a dominant force in the south, that friendship has ended.

Ascoli 1-3 Atalanta
Atalanta continue to climb the Serie A table after their 3-1 win over struggling Ascoli. Riccardo Zampagna set the Nerazzuri on their way to maximum points in the 51st minute. Michele Paolucci gave the home side hope of salvaging a point 20 minutes later, but it was only short lived as Adriano and Cristiano Doni struck within quick succession to kill the game off in the final 10 minutes. The result lifts the Bergamo-based side further up the table but leaves Ascoli rooted to the bottom of the table with just nine points.

Sunday 21 January
Inter 3-1 Fiorentina
A hard-working Internazionale pulled off a come-from-behind victory against Fiorentina on Sunday to record their 13th win in a row. Adriano struck midway through the first-half to give his team a 2-1 lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the game beyond their opponents' reach with 20 minutes remaining. Dejan Stankovic had previously cancelled out Fiorentina striker Luca Toni's opener. The result sees unbeaten Inter extend their Serie A lead with second-placed Roma to 11 points after the Giallorossi only mustered a draw at Livorno.

Livorno 1-1 Roma
Francesco Totti turned from hero to villain for Roma, rescuing a point for his side at Livorno before being sent off. Serie A's top scorer secured a draw for the Eternal City giants in the 73rd minute, his strike cancelling out Cristiano Lucarelli's first-half penalty. But he was shown a red card a minute from time for his second bookable offence
. The result - Roma's second consecutive draw following last weekend's 1-1 result at Messina - has left the second-placed side even further behind league leaders Inter. As for the hosts, the outcome will ease the pressure on coach Daniele Arrigoni after a week of uncertainty. Arrigoni was sacked after last Sunday's 5-1 humiliation at Atalanta before being reinstated later in the week.

Lazio 0-0 Milan
An out-of-sorts Milan side were held to an uninspiring goalless draw by Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. The result stretches Milan's unbeaten run to nine games, but it means they are now just 4 points away from a Champions League position.

Empoli 2-0 Sampdoria
Empoli completed the double over Sampdoria to leave their guests still searching for their first win in over a month, and now three points in their wake. Goals from Luca Saudati, from the penalty spot, and Davide Matteini in the second half gave Gigi Cagni's side a 2-0 win. Samp offered very little going forward and, as a result, drop to mid-table as the Tuscans fly into fourth position for the time being.

Parma 1-0 Torino
On-loan Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi made a goal-scoring debut as lowly Parma edged past Torino 1-0 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. The 19-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Parma in 2004, has been brought on board until the end of the season in a bid to help the fallen giants escape relegation from Serie A. And he wasted little time in making an impact as his wonderful strike 15 minutes from full-time handed Stefano Pioli's side a precious three points.

Udinese 1-0 Messina
A goal from Italy World Cup-winning striker Vincenzo Iaquinta gave new Udinese coach Alberto Malesani a winning start and leaves Messina even closer to the relegation zone after an alarming slip in form. Iaquinta struck with 14 minutes to play to make it a winning Serie A return for former Chievo, Fiorentina, Parma and Verona coach Malesani who most recently had an adventure in Greece with Panathinaikos. He had replaced the sacked Giovanni Galeone in the post earlier in the week.

Catania 0-1 Cagliari
Catania continued their poor start to the new year slumping to a second consecutive defeat and a first home loss of the season, with Cagliari claiming their scalp. David Suazo's early penalty was the difference between the two teams in a game that lacked cutting edge at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.

Siena 2-1 Chievo
Two goals in six second-half minutes saw Siena come from behind to beat Chievo and record their first victory in almost three months. The Tuscans might have had that sinking feeling again when Matteo Brighi put Chievo ahead in the 25th minute. But Luca Antonini equalised in the 62nd minute and Daniele Portanova then scored what proved to be the winner for Siena, who had collected only six points from 10 league games prior to this match.

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