Saturday 17 February
Juventus 5-0 Crotone
This five-star performance from Juventus was a much-needed morale booster with Del Piero bagging a hat-trick.
A Crotone side in crisis under new management faced Juve, who were also struggling after twice throwing away a 2-0 lead in recent weeks. Trezeguet had two early chances and from the resulting corner kick only a goalline clearance kept out the Frenchman. It was Nedved who eventually opened the scoring, hooking down a corner kick and his left-foot drive took a deflection on the way to go in off the inside of the post. The Bianconeri made it 2-0 soon after with a curious goal, as nobody got a touch to Balzaretti’s cross from the left, so it went straight in to the far corner.
Del Piero’s effort was saved, but Zanetti added to Didier Deschamps’ injury worries when limping off with a groin strain. Del Piero made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, skipping past a defender on the edge of the area to place a precise angled drive into the bottom far corner. Crotone’s first real chance came on 55 minutes with substitute Cariello bringing a tough save out of Buffon, but there was also very nearly a total disaster from the World Cup winning goalkeeper, who tripped on a backpass and had to rush back for a goalline clearance! Del Piero made it 4-0 with a classic counter-attack sparked by Nedved, complete with low drive from the edge of the area, and sealed his hat-trick by cutting back past a defender to bury Trezeguet’s assist.
Albinoleffe 2-1 Triestina
Albinoleffe secured this win thanks to goalkeeper Acerbis in a deserted Stadio Azzurri d'Italia. Peluso pounced on a loose ball from six yards to beat goalkeeper Rossi and give Albinoleffe the early lead, but January signing Della Rocca snatched an equaliser on 24 minutes, volleying in Marchesetti’s cross from six yards. Triestina had a goal disallowed and then, when a Peluso handling offence prompted a penalty, Acerbis did brilliantly to save Graffiedi’s spot-kick on the stroke of half-time. While the visitors seemed to have the best chances, it was Albinoleffe who restored their lead with a splendid goal from Ferrari rising into the far top corner.
Bari 1-2 Pescara
Pescara grabbed their first away win of the season, stunning mid-table Bari with their former starlet Vantaggiato on song. Scaglia broke through for the home side by hooking down a long pass and blasting it under the bar from inside the area. Former Bari hitman Vantaggiato took revenge over his old teammates, rising to nod in the equaliser for Pescara. The referee pointed to the spot for an extremely dubious Papini challenge on Carrus and, perhaps with a sense of justice, his horribly weak penalty was saved by Polito. Pescara poured forward in the second half and Gillet managed to keep out Rigoni’s free kick, but could do nothing on Vantaggiato when an indirect free kick was given inside the area for the goalkeeper’s decision to pick up a Micolucci backpass.
Bologna 0-2 Piacenza
Bologna fell to a surprise home defeat in the local derby, but it was a very tense encounter. There was controversy after just 15 minutes at the Stadio Dall’Ara, open only to Bologna season ticket holders, as Zauli was sent off for going through the back of Padalino, a decision that infuriated Coach Renzo Ulivieri. Bellucci almost scored an own goal and then one for Bologna in the space of a few minutes, but Piacenza threatened more when Nocerino smashed against the crossbar. Ulivieri was further angered by Danilevicius penalty appeals, while Rantier, Nocerino and Degano went close.
After the break Antonioli rushed out to smother Degano’s shot from six yards, and Piacenza eventually made their mark when Nocerino drilled home the loose ball from a set-piece. It was 2-0 soon after, as Simon turned between two defenders to set up Rantier’s low drive.
Cesena 1-2 Vicenza
Vicenza sent Cesena crashing to a shock defeat at the Stadio Manuzzi, as their former hitman Cavalli netted the late winner. The game changed on the half-hour mark, as Zaninelli’s goalline clearance with his hand led to an inevitable red card and penalty – converted coolly by Schwoch. However, 10-man Cesena got back into it within 120 seconds thanks to Pelle’s close-range scuffed finish. Straight after the restart, another spot-kick was awarded, this time for a De Feudis foul, and Schwoch again stepped up, but this time it was saved by Turci at full stretch. Ex-Cesena striker Cavalli scored against his old club, a low finish from a very tight angle coming off the inside of the upright.
Frosinone 2-1 Rimini
Frosinone continue their giant-killing spree against promotion candidates Rimini. D’Antoni opened the scoring against the run of play, as the home side went ahead with a fierce drive from outside the area. Ex-Parma man Dedic opened his Frosinone account to double their lead on the counter-attack. Rimini fought back and gave themselves a chance late on when a free kick was deflected into the path of Vitiello for a simple tap-in.
Genoa 1-0 Modena
Modena Coach Bortolo Mutti made his debut on the bench at Marassi. Within the opening 60 seconds Masiello drilled inches over the bar from Adailton’s free kick, then Di Vaio tested Frezzolini’s reflexes. Rossi had an offside goal disallowed for Genoa.
Yet in the second half Modena had the best chance of the game so far with Bruno smashing the crossbar with a header and on the counter-attack moments later Di Vaio bringing a fantastic save out of the goalkeeper. Genoa eventually broke through on 63 minutes, as Gasparetto anticipated his market to meet with Adailton’s cross from the left. Bentivoglio's dismissal cut down any hopes the Canarini had of getting a result.
Mantova 4-0 Lecce
Lecce can’t seem to shake out of their malaise and this hammering in Mantova only highlighted their limitations, but propelled the home side towards the promotion places. The Stadio Martelli had its doors closed for failing security inspections, but it didn’t phase the players, who opened the scoring with Caridi’s header. The second half was one way traffic and Lecce practically gave up after Bernacci’s tap-in, as Noselli grabbed a brace, including a delightful late lob.
Treviso 2-0 Brescia
Brescia shot themselves in the foot for this clash between mid-table clubs. Stankevicius was jeered by the home fans and, foolishly, reacted by making a lewd gesture. The referee spotted it and promptly sent him off for ungentlemanly conduct. Treviso had the turning point they were looking for, although they only broke through on the hour mark. Acquafresca continued his fine form by nodding in Fava’s cross, then Guigou’s free kick sealed the deal.
Verona 1-1 Spezia
Hellas were unable to end their crisis at the Bentegodi. Verona took the lead on the hour mark, as Biasi got on the end of a wayward Corrent volley to tap in from a yard. Spezia substitute Colomba got his name on the scoresheet within seconds of stepping on to the field, as his precise header beat Pegolo.
Sunday 18 February
Napoli 2-2 Arezzo
Napoli slide off the top spot as they twice allowed bottom of the table Arezzo back into the game at the deserted Stadio San Paolo. As Calaio' was suspended, Bucchi was given a rare start and took just 14 minutes to hit the back of the net with a free header at the back post. Bogliacino fired just wide, but Napoli native Floro Flores almost netted a sensational goal when his curler practically from the by-line thumped the upright. De Zerbi's fine volley was disallowed for offside and Arezzo came back in the second half, equalising through Bondi's spectacular free kick into the top corner. Last week Sosa scored his first goal of the season and he repeated the trick soon after coming on as a substitute, nodding in De Zerbi's cross from the right. However, they didn't count on Arezzo's spirit, as in stoppages Volpato was allowed a free header on Floro Flores' centre.
Source: C4 Football Italia