Saturday, 28 April 2007

Serie B Wk 36: Review

Friday 27 April
Verona 0-1 Juventus

Juventus are closing in on a mathematic return to Serie A after Boumsong’s goal conquered Verona’s Stadio Bentegodi.

Hellas hoped to trip up the leaders, as last week’s loss to Bologna was their first in 11 rounds. Del Piero went close after five minutes with an angled drive beaten away by Pegolo, then former Verona star Camoranesi nodded Chiellini’s cross wide. Alex was on fine form and was kept out by the woodwork on 14 minutes with a hook and strike from the edge of the area on Camoranesi’s searching pass. The Bianconeri lost Giannichedda to a muscular problem and his substitute Marchionni almost immediately skimmed the upright with a header.

Ex-Torino hero Ferrante had Verona’s only chances in the first half, but Juve went into the break with a deserved lead as Boumsong rose to nod in Del Piero’s corner kick. The captain could have made it 2-0 straight after the restart, but was halted when clear on goal for an incorrect offside flag, although Ferrante was given the same treatment for Hellas. In fact, Ferrante helped create a potential equaliser as Iunco’s shot was deflected and from the resulting corner Mazzola’s header was inches off target.

There were worrying scenes when Legrottaglie appeared to lose consciousness without clashing heads. It seems he suffered whiplash in an awkward fall and was immediately substituted. Both sides had chances in stoppages, but the Turin giants came away with their 24th win in 35 games - the ninth away from home.

Genoa 2-1 Treviso
Last week’s defeat to Juventus dropped Genoa into third place and so this win was crucial to avoid slipping into the play-offs. After Di Vaio’s volley was deflected off target, January signing Leon opened the scoring with one of his trademark free kicks into the top corner. Gasparetto nodded over, but as the first half wore on Treviso got back into the game. Rubinho tipped Moro’s effort out for a corner, but could do nothing on his header from the resulting set-piece.

After the break Leon skimmed the woodwork with another couple of free kicks, but just as Treviso were having the better of the overall play, Di Vaio rose to nod in Fabiano’s cross at the back post to restore Genoa’s lead. The visitors kept pushing as Guigou stung Rubinho’s gloves from the edge of the area and Acquafresca was caught offside in a great scoring opportunity. Just 10 minutes from time Fava ran on to Russotto’s pass and only a desperate Criscito sliding tackle blocked off the shot. The Treviso striker also requested a penalty as the move continued, but the referee wisely waved play on.

Their hopes of getting a point were ended when Valdez was shown a second yellow card for hacking down Gasparetto. The Grifone nearly made it 3-1 in the final minute, but the upright kept out Coppola’s right-foot screamer and then Di Vaio fired straight at Avramov, though Treviso also gave them a scare with Beghetto's stoppage-time counter.

Saturday 28 April
Albinoleffe 2-1 Mantova
Mantova lose a good opportunity to consolidate their march on the top spots, as Albinoleffe register their 10th win of the season. The visitors had started brightly and hit the upright with Tarana’s left-foot strike, but ‘Leffe picked up the pace after the break. Colombo nutmegged Notari and rolled his finish in off the post, soon followed by a Ruopolo penalty for Sacchetti’s handling offence. When Mantova were able to get on the scoresheet with Noselli from 10 yards, it was too little, too late.

Arezzo 1-0 Piacenza
Arezzo notch up a third consecutive victory to make salvation a possible reality, but Piacenza are in freefall. It took just four minutes for Croce to open the scoring, tapping in a low Floro Flores cross at the back post. Capelli was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but Piace were weakened in attack by the absence of top scorer Cacia – out for six months – and failed to break down the 10-man Tuscans. Simon had their best chance disallowed for offside.

Brescia 1-0 Frosinone
Brescia get closer to the play-off zone after beating Frosinone by a single goal at the Stadio Rigamonti. For Serse Cosmi’s men this was the fifth win in the last six games, while Frosinone have now lost two in a row. The Rondinelle dominated the game, but didn’t really create any chances in the first half. The winner came with Serafini after Zappino completely misjudged a cross and for the striker it was easy to score.

Crotone 0-2 Spezia
In this relegation clash Crotone’s survival hopes were erased by an in form Spezia. The Calabresi could have scored at the sixth minute when Dante Lopez’s hit was deflected by Santoni. A few minutes later, Pinardi punished the locals with a clinical tap-in from a low cross. At this point the visitors took control of the game and could have scored more before half-time when Colombo wasted a one to one opportunity against Soviero. Maietta killed Crotone’s chances to equalise by deflecting a cross with his hand, giving Guzman a penalty that doubled Spezia’s lead. Four minutes later Soviero saved Pecorari’s header, but the game was pretty much over when Palmieri saw red for a bad tackle. Giampaolo could have reduced the gap during injury time, but his strike hit the side-netting.

Lecce 2-1 Bologna
Bologna slide back down the standings to joint fourth place with the first defeat of Luca Cecconi’s tenure. Lecce had the better of the overall play as Tiribocchi tested Antonioli with a header and rattled the crossbar with a fierce right-foot strike. The former Chievo striker finally got on the scoresheet thanks to a defensive howler, pouncing on Castellini’s appalling backpass for a precise lob.

Bellucci was introduced at half-time and, although Juliano hit the woodwork for Lecce, Bologna did draw level with the substitutes magnificent curling right-foot finish into the top corner – a real ‘Del Piero-style’ goal. It was not enough, as the Salentini got their deserved victory thanks to Zauli’s trademark free kick, his first goal in a Lecce jersey.

Modena 2-1 Bari
Modena gained three vital points beating Bari in an entertaining game at the Stadio Braglia. The Canarini could have gone ahead after 36 minutes when they were awarded a penalty due to a Belmonte handling offence, but Pinardi’s penalty was well saved by Gillet. Modena were more determined and Frey’s header went over the bar, but their defence let them down when leaving Ganci unmarked to meet Fusani’s cross. The Gialloblu’s reaction was furious and it took them only two minutes to equalise with Sforzini’s header from a Pinardi centre. The Canarini had another couple of good chances with Ganci and Colacone, but it was a powerful strike by Campedelli from just outside the box to handed them the victory.

Napoli 2-0 Cesena
Napoli maintain second place with another hard-fought victory that was only secured with the last kick of the game. Cesena gifted the opener after just seven minutes, as goalkeeper Sarti completely missed Grava’s cross, allowing Sosa all the time in the world to nod into an empty net. Reja’s men sat back for the rest of the first half and almost paid for that complacency, as Papa Waigo incredibly missed an open goal from Biserni’s centre. Moments later Domizzi risked giving away a penalty for his challenge on Papa Waigo.

Napoli felt they deserved a spot-kick after the break for Lauro’s handling offence to block a Calaiò shot and the striker skimmed the woodwork another couple of times. But they became sluggish again towards the end of the match and Cannavaro was forced into a crucial intervention to deflect Pelle’s effort over the bar. Iezzo parried a Bracaletti attempt as Cesena laid siege to his goal in the final minutes. However, deep into stoppages substitute Trotta made the points safe.

Rimini 2-2 Pescara

Rimini suffered a surprise setback against the relegation strugglers, although they remain in the play-off race. Pagano was on hand to tap in Valiani’s cross and Cristiano nearly made it 2-0, but Pescara were fortunate to draw level when Handanovic was caught off-guard by Vantaggiato’s lob. The home side dominated overall and Matri hit the crossbar before Pagano got his second of the game by pouncing on a De Martis error just 25 seconds into the half. Pescara may be propping up the table, but they did not give in and Aquilanti fired in from a free kick. Despite going down to 10 men for Martini’s dissent, they Abbruzzesi clung on against chances for Cristiano and Bischeri.

Triestina 0-0 Vicenza
In this mid-table clash Triestina and Vicenza didn’t manage more than a boring goalless draw. Neither side really deserved to win, even if the locals put more effort into it. Triestina had their first chance with Piovaccari at the eighth minute, but his shot went over the crossbar, then Zancopè stopped an unmarked Marchesetti. At the 29th the Biancorossi felt they deserved a penalty for a handball by Kyriazis. Just before half-time the visitors could have gone ahead, but Foti’s long range strike went inches off the post. In the second-half Triestina were practically in control of the game, yet Cavalli could have scored for Vicenza. The last opportunity of the game came at 69th minute when Silva Ceron incredibly missed an open goal from nine yards. In the final minutes Triestina boss Varrella saw red for dissent.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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