Saturday 3 March
Albinoleffe 2-3 Brescia
Serse Cosmi made his return a year after he was sacked by Udinese, taking over troubled Brescia, and celebrated with a hard-fought win. Del Nero gave Cosmi the best start by opening the scoring at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia, fighting past a challenge to prod the ball past the goalkeeper. A second was disallowed for Possanzini’s handling offence. Hamsyk volleyed in a clearance to the edge of the area to double the Rondinelle’s advantage, but the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Cellini and he got back up to bury the penalty for Albinoleffe, his seventh goal of the campaign. It sparked an unlikely fightback and Cellini’s pass found Ruopolo for the equaliser four minutes later. Cosmi’s debut was marked with a victory in stoppages, as Possanzini was at full stretch to volley in from point-blank range.
Bari 1-1 Arezzo
New Bari boss Giuseppe Materazzi had the worst possible start to his spell on the bench, returning to this club after a decade. Arezzo hitman Floro Flores opened the scoring after only two minutes with a clinical left-foot shot in the bottom right hand corner of Gillet’s goal. Then the visitors tried to protect their lead by focusing on their defence, while Bari were looking for a way to break through. At the 41st minute Tabbiani’s right-foot volley went past a stunned goalkeeper Bremec and straight into the net for the long-awaited equaliser. One minute later Gervasoni saw red for using his elbow and he was followed by Materazzi for protesting the decision. Despite this situation, the Southerners held on for a point.
Cesena 1-4 Bologna
The local derby ended in a mauling for Cesena, as the Rossoblu ran riot. Emanuele Filippini scored Bologna’s first goal on their travels in 2007, side-footing home Bellucci’s low cross from six yards to give the visitors the lead. Meghni’s scuffed cross found Marazzina at the back post for his fifth goal of the season as he returned from a spell on the bench. Cesena only had one real chance to get back into the game wasted by Pagliuca and moments later Bologna made it 3-0 with Marazzina flicking a free kick on with the outside of his left foot that went in off the upright.
Cesena made changes at the break with Del Core coming on and almost immediately he hit the back of the net with a splendid right-foot screamer from 25 metres, but the day went from bad to worse for the home side. Sabato was shown a straight red card for hacking down Meghni and soon after De Feudis followed for a last man tackle, but they were given some respite, as Bellucci ballooned his penalty over the bar for the second week running. Bologna secured the rout with Fantini meeting Zauli’s assist from close range.
Frosinone 0-2 Vicenza
It is a great spell of form for the Biancorossi, confirmed by this important victory at the Stadio Matusa. Frosinone started well and had a good opportunity with ex-Vicenza hero Margiotta at the 22nd, but former Sampdoria youngster Foti was allowed a free header from Zeytulaev’s cross to give the visitors the lead. The second goal was another error from Frosinone’s defence. Nastos’ cross from the left flank should have been cleared by Antonioli, but the defender horribly scuffed the ball and again Foti who was just behind him to fire home. At the 47th minute Frosinone had a chance to come back in the game when Lodi’s effort off the underside of the crossbar seemed to have crossed the line, but referee Pierpaoli maintained it had not. A few minutes after, Di Nardò almost scored with a volley, but it was deflected by Zancopè. At the 70th Schwoch could have made it 3-0 for Vicenza, but his shot skimmed the right post.
Genoa 1-0 Lecce
Genoa missed a penalty and needed a last-minute strike to beat nine-man Lecce and move into third place. Lecce almost caused an early shock, as Tulli’s header into the net was disallowed for a dubious offside flag, while Greco’s spin and strike was smothered and some desperate goalkeeping flapped another point-blank range Greco effort off the line. Juliano and Di Vaio had efforts off target.
Leon replaced Rossi at half-time and within moments had rattled the crossbar with one of his trademark free kicks. The Grifoni were unusually sluggish, although they were given a boost by Arrieta’s second bookable offence, leaving Lecce in 10 men. Despite this, Osvaldo should’ve given the visitors the lead, as he ran the entire length of the pitch only to fire wide. Lecce were livid when a penalty was awarded for a shirt-tug on Gasparetto, prompting a series of furious scuffles, which ended with Schiavi’s dismissal for dissent. Leon stepped up against former Reggina teammate Pavarini only to balloon the spot-kick well over the bar.
Genoa’s strikers have been misfiring all season, but it was defender De Rosa who rescued them at the last minute. He chested down the ball, controlled and placed a perfect finish at the near post. Leon’s confidence was clearly hit, as he somehow managed to balloon over from six yards literally in front of an open goal in what was surely the miss of the season.
Modena 0-0 Rimini
The Emilia-Romagna derby ended in a stalemate, but the game was far from dull despite the lack of goals. Ricchiuti ran riot in the first half, causing endless problems for Modena’s defence, while Colacone, Gilioli, Abate and Baldo has the best opportunities for the Canarini after the break. Perhaps the best chance of the whole match fell to Rimini substitute Matri, whose precise header was flapped out from under the crossbar by an acrobatic Frezzolini save.
Napoli 3-1 Spezia
The Azzurri made hard work of this win, needing two late goals to beat resilient 10-man Spezia. After two games behind closed doors, the Stadio San Paolo was open to season ticket holders following restructuring work to meet new security requirements. De Zerbi’s glancing header skimmed the upright, but Spezia nearly broke through against the run of play when Colombo prodded the ball across the face of goal from a yard. Spezia finally made an impact with Confalone’s counter-attack and a Guzman header on to the roof of the net.Straight after the restart Napoli made their pressure count with the opening goal. Substitute Trotta floated in a cross for Bogliacino’s free header, as he didn’t even need to jump for the looping effort into the far top corner. Spezia were left in 10 men for Confalone’s second bookable offence on Gatti, but incredibly they equalised moments later when Colombo took advantage of chaotic defending to turn in at the third attempt. Trotta’s shot on the bounce flashed across the face of goal, but Domizzi needed a stunning tackle to stop Guidetti clear on goal. Napoli snatched the victory thanks to some abysmal goalkeeping, as Bogliacino’s cross was fumbled for Calaio to tap into the empty net, and in stoppages Savini’s counter-attack was finalised by a Bucchi toe-poke to leave the ‘keeper stranded.
Treviso 1-2 Crotone
It was an important away victory for Crotone, who are now moving out of the relegation zone, while Treviso saw their positive run of results stopped unexpectedly. Quadrini was unlucky when his shot was deflected early on, but Carriello gave the visitors the lead by nodding in Zamboni’s cross from the right. It took only 60 seconds for the locals to equalise with Fava, who redirected a low shot from the right by Fietta into the net. However, Crotone weren’t discouraged and kept on attacking. Just after the restart the Veneti defence committed a capital error by trying to put Crotone’s ace, Lopez, in offside, but the player was able to run free towards the goal and restore the lead beating Avramov with a precise touch. Sedivec could have made it 1-3, but then Baù saw red and things for the Calabresi became complicated. At the 92nd minute Beghetto was held in the box by Borghetti and the referee assigned a controversial penalty to the home side. Quadrini thought he would give Treviso a stoppage-time point, but incredibly fired his spot-kick on to the upright.
Verona 2-1 Pescara
Verona continue their revival in this bottom of the table battle with a dramatic finale. A soporific first half saw neither side really make an impact, but Verona opened the scoring straight after the restart. Substitute Iunco threaded through for William’s low finish into the far corner. That shock woke Pescara up and after a period of pressure they snatched the equaliser with Zoppetti’s towering header from a corner kick. Yet Iunco was extremely unlucky not to restore Hellas’ lead, as after some fantastic footwork his shot smashed against the upright of an empty net. Verona got the win in stoppages, as substitute Turati rose to nod home a free kick from the left.
Sunday 4 March
Juventus 4-0 Piacenza
In a rare Sunday evening kick-off, it was business as usual for Serie B leaders Juventus, who leave promotion contenders Piacenza eight points adrift. It took just 34 seconds to break the deadlock, as Trezeguet unleashed a left-foot snapshot into the top corner that stunned Coppola. Nedved drilled just wide from a Del Piero assist, but Buffon was also kept busy by Nocerino’s fierce strikes, while Cacia fired over from a promising position. Coppola performed a couple more first half saves on Trezeguet.
Didier Deschamps’ men consolidated their position after the break. Del Piero ran on to Boumsong’s long pass and, after the first shot was charged down, Coppola brought down the captain as both went for the loose ball. Alex got back up to convert the penalty himself - the first spot-kick they'd been awarded in 25 League games.
Piacenza didn’t give in and Buffon stretched to turn out a Degano snapshot, but Del Piero curled in another of his trademarks – a free kick – with his right foot to put the result beyond doubt. The Biancorossi lost all hope when Campagnaro saw red for a second bookable offence on Del Piero. Pinturicchio completed his hat-trick in stoppages, running on to Nedved's through ball and with some splendid control leaving two defenders for dead before slotting home.
Monday 5 March
Mantova 1-1 Triestina
Promotion chasers Mantova missed out on the chance to move into third after being held by struggling Triestina in the Monday night Serie B game. Having surprisingly lost 2-1 to Crotone a week before, the home side were keen to get back to winning ways but it proved to be a frustrating night. Having missed an 11th minute penalty through Noselli, they took the lead with Tarana in minute 24. But the Alabardati, under new boss Franco Varrella, got back into the match with a second half Allegretti penalty. Mantova move into joint fourth, while Triestina are now eight points clear of the drop zone.
Source: C4 Football Italia