Sunday, 4 March 2007

Serie A Wk 27: Review

Saturday 3 March
Livorno 1-2 Inter
Inter took another stride towards the Serie A title with 2-1 victory over Livorno on Saturday afternoon. The Nerazzurri had seen their 17-match winning streak ended in midweek with a 1-1 draw at home to Udinese. But although the league leaders fell behind to a Cristiano Lucarelli free-kick in Leghorn, Julio Cruz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reversed the scoreline to stretch Inter's healthy cushion at the top of the table to 16-points. The victory was marred slightly by the late dismissal of Maicon for a second yellow card, while coach Roberto Mancini was also forced to leave the field early for his excessive protests.

Ascoli 1-1 Roma
Christian Wilhelmsson's late leveller secured a 1-1 draw for an off-colour Roma side against bottom-of-the-table Ascoli. The Eternal City giants fell behind to Andrea Soncin's first-half strike and seldom looked like restoring parity. But they found some impetus with the introduction of Daniele De Rossi and Amantino Mancini midway through the second half and Wilhelmsson pounced with just five minutes remaining to spare Roman blushes.

Milan 3-1 Chievo
Milan moved closer to the final Champions League qualifying position after coming from behind to beat Chievo 3-1 at the San Siro. Despite not scoring himself, Ronaldo was the inspiration behind Milan's recovery, while Dida had a night to forget in the hosts' goal. Sergio Pellissier was gifted the easiest of goals by the Brazilian keeper in the 17th minute to put Chievo ahead. Alberto Gilardino scored a 33rd-minute equaliser with Massimo Oddo firing in a stunning second 10 minutes into the second half. Clarence Seedorf put away the last of many dangerous free-kicks in stoppage time to seal the three points for Carlo Ancelotti's side and put the pressure on Lazio.

Sunday 4 March
Lazio 1-0 Sampdoria
Lazio kept their Champions League hopes on track by securing a 1-0 home win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico. Tommaso Rocchi's header midway through the first half gave the Biancoceleste their fourth victory in a row. The result allowed the Romans to hang on to their fourth position in the standings, as they are two points clear of Empoli and three above AC Milan.

Fiorentina 5-1 Torino
Luca Toni struck twice to inspire Fiorentina to a come-from-behind 5-1 win over Torino in Florence. The Italy striker scored two goals in the space of two minutes after Torino midfielder Alessandro Rosina had given the visitors a 14th-minute lead. Toro were handed another blow with Ivan Franceschini scored an own goal shortly after the restart before Alessandro Gamberini netted twice to round off the scoring. Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati denied the Viola a sixth of the afternoon with a fine save from Adrian Mutu's penalty five minutes from time

Messina 2-0 Palermo
Christian Rigano scored twice as struggling Messina boosted their survival hopes with a surprise 2-0 victory over 10-man Palermo in the Sicilian derby. The striker put the home side ahead on the stroke of half-time, before Palermo suffered a setback when substitute Andrea Caracciolo was dismissed for receiving his second yellow card of the game. Rigano then wrapped up the three points when he fired home just after the hour mark.

Udinese 0-1 Empoli
Udinese's hopes of gaining a UEFA Cup berth were dealt a huge blow as Nicola Pozzi's first-half goal handed Empoli a 1-0 triumph at the Stadio Friuli. The defeat stretches Udinese's winless run to six games and leaves them eight points behind Milan, who hold the final European spot in Serie A. Empoli are now above Milan and just two away from Lazio and a Champions League position.

Parma 2-2 Reggina
At the wrong end of the table, Giuseppe Rossi's penalty in the seventh minute of added time earned Parma a 2-2 draw against Reggina, although the striker had spurned a golden opportunity for his side to claim the win by missing an earlier spot-kick. The on-loan Manchester United player stepped up deep into stoppage time at the end of 90 minutes to convert from the spot, cancelling out Rolando Bianchi's second for Reggina, which came just minutes after Rossi had seen his first penalty saved. Earlier, Bianchi had fired the visitors to the Stadio Ennio Tardini into the lead inside 15 minutes, while Igor Budan's goal brought the hosts back into the game midway through the first period. The result means Claudio Ranieri's side remain second from bottom and are now joined in the relegtion zone by their opponents.

Cagliari 2-0 Atalanta
Cagliari ended a run of three straight defeats and picked up vital points in their battle to avoid relegation with a 2-0 victory over Atalanta. Coach Marco Giampaolo endured a disappointing first game back in charge of the club when his side went down 1-0 at Torino on Wednesday, but his team set about avoiding a repeat as early as the fourth minute when David Suazo found the net. Cristiano Doni's penalty miss was a let-off for the hosts and Atalanta inflicted more self-harm with Pereira Adriano's 66th-minute red card before Simone Pepe made sure of the win with Cagliari's second 20 minutes from time.

Catania 1-1 Siena
Catania ended their run of three successive defeats with a 1-1 draw against Siena. Both goals came after the interval, Giorgio Corona giving the 'home' side a lead which was cancelled out by Francesco Cozza. The match was again played at the neutral ground of Rimini and behind closed doors as Catania's punishment continues following the violence which marred last month's Sicilian derby with Palermo.

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