Sunday, 18 March 2007

Serie A Wk 29: Review

Saturday 17 March
Sampdoria 1-1 Palermo
Ten-man Sampdoria came from behind to claim a draw at home to Palermo on Saturday night. The home side were the brighter team throughout, but were hampered by a harsh red card to central defender Giulio Falcone after 36 minutes. Their resistance was broken eight minutes into the second half when Edinson Cavani headed the Rosanero ahead, but three minutes later, Fabio Quagliarella scored a deserved equaliser. The Sicilians were unable to make their one-man advantage count against a brave Blucerchiati, who draw their second home game in a row but, given the circumstances, will not be too disappointed.

Sunday 18 March
Ascoli 1-2 Inter
Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit a brace as Internazionale beat struggling Ascoli to maintain their unbeaten run in Serie A and edge closer towards clinching their 15th Scudetto title. The Sweden international twice got on the end of Adriano assists to help Roberto Mancini's team extend their lead at the top to 18 points after Roma's goalless draw at Fiorentina. Massimo Bonanni's injury time penalty meant no clean sheet for the visitors, but the points are all that count and Ascoli's 15th defeat of the campaign leaves them rock-bottom, six points away from safety.

Fiorentina 0-0 Roma
Roma failed to score in Serie A for the first time in a year after being held to a goalless draw by 10-man Fiorentina. The Eternal City giants failed to take advantage of having numerical superiority from as early as the 32nd minute when Fiorentina captain Dario Dainelli was sent off following a double booking. It didn't hinder the Viola, who showed plenty of determination from then on and were unlucky not to break the deadlock with Manuel Pasqual denied by the woodwork shortly after the re-start. The outcome leaves second-place Roma 11 points clear of Palermo.

Lazio 3-1 Empoli
Lazio retook third place with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Empoli on Sunday evening. The Azzurri could have moved to within a point of their illustrious hosts from the Eternal City with a win, but were 2-0 down by half-time thanks to goals from Goran Pandev and Tommaso Rocchi. Christian Manfredini made it three midway through the second half, before Sergio Almiron pulled one back in stoppage time.

Milan 1-0 Atalanta
Massimo Ambrosini came to the rescue with a first-half goal to give a lacklustre Milan a narrow victory against Atalanta. Ambrosini's 40th-minute header from Kaka's corner was the difference between the sides at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The outcome marked Milan's seventh consecutive win at home and saw the Rossoneri climb to fifth in the standings, four points behind Palermo, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot.

Udinese 4-0 Livorno
Udinese ended their mini-slump with a convincing win at the expense of Livorno. Two goals from Antonio Di Natale and one apiece from Gyan Asamoah and substitute Paulo Barreto, who converted from the spot, saw Alberto Malesani's side end a six-game winless streak in Serie A. Malesani's opposite number Daniele Arrigoni was sacked last time his team lost by four goals away - a 5-1 setback at Atalanta in January. However, club president Aldo Spinelli reinstated him after representations were made by senior players. It remains to be seen what the fallout of this result is for Arrigoni.

Messina 0-3 Torino
Torino boosted their chances of Serie A survival with a comprehensive 3-0 win over relegation rivals Messina at the Stadio San Filippo. Roberto Muzzi put the visitors ahead midway through the first half before an Alessandro Rosina penalty and a thumping header from Roberto Stellone sealed a precious three points late in the second period. The win leaves the Granata seven points clear of their hosts, who occupy the final position in the relegation zone.

Catania 1-4 Reggina
Reggina lifted themselves out of the relegation zone after an explosive second-half showing blew Catania away in Rimini. There was little in a goalless first half to suggest what was to come, but Nicola Amoruso put Walter Mazzarri's side in front 12 minutes after the break and Pasquale Foggia doubled the lead five minutes later. Rolando Bianchi's penalty made it three five minutes from time and substitute Filipe Ricardo Esteves notched a fourth three minutes later, though Fausto Rossini pulled one back in stoppage time.

Parma 1-0 Siena
Parma moved away from the foot of the Serie A table after winning their first game since January 21 by defeating Siena. Andrea Gasbarroni's 19th-minute goal was enough to give coach Claudio Ranieri his first win in charge of Parma, who suffered for much of the game but held firm against a strong Siena attack. Siena's Massimo Maccarone had a goal ruled out for a dubious offside decision, but as soon as Paul Codrea was sent off for a second yellow card in the 76th minute, the match was over. Parma then had chances to double their advantage, but one goal was enough to take them three points clear of rock-bottom Ascoli.

Cagliari 0-2 Chievo
Chievo's bid to avoid relegation received a welcome boost with a victory at Cagliari which drags their Sardinian opponents into the mire. The visitors started the day two points above the bottom three and three behind Marco Giampaolo's men. Victory was therefore vital for the Veronese-club and it duly arrived thanks to two goals at the start of the second half. Matteo Brighi opened the scoring five minutes after half-time and Erjon Bogdani doubled Chievo's advantage five minutes later. Defeat was maybe a touch harsh on a Cagliari side which had taken four points out of the previous six available.

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