Saturday 5 May
Arezzo 3-1 Verona
Arezzo continue their surprising late surge and drag Verona back towards the relegation zone. The Tuscans are in the more desperate situation and it was clear from the way they started the match, although Floro Flores was lucky to see his shot deflected in off Sibilano. Bondi and Martinetti wasted chances to seal the points and Verona thought they had snatched a draw with Ferrarese’s strike. However, Arezzo came back with a vengeance as Capelli tapped in Ranocchia’s assist and Martinetti converted a penalty for Comazzi’s foul on Bondi. Sartor picked up his second yellow card.
Bari 1-1 Lecce
The Derby delle Puglie ends in a stalemate, but the Giallorossi are in considerably better shape than their neighbours. Within nine minutes Lecce had taken the lead at the San Nicola with a trademark Zanchetta free kick from 20 metres. Bellavista’s equaliser was disallowed for a handling offence, but he helped draw level eventually by setting up Santoruvo’s header. The referee took centre stage, ruling out two offside Tiribocchi goals for Lecce and flashing the red card at Polenghi.
Bologna 0-0 Triestina
Bologna cannot seem to get their act together at the moment and the burst of energy from Coach Luca Cecconi’s arrival has already worn off. The Rossoblu were unlucky not to win this match, though, as in the opening five minutes Marazzina had thumped the upright from nine yards. Meghni repeated the trick with a free kick that smashed against the woodwork and Rossi deflected Bellucci’s right-foot strike over. Triestina’s best chance came in the final minute, but Piovaccari couldn’t make the most of it.
Frosinone 0-2 Genoa
This result sees Genoa climb above Napoli in the race for that second Serie A ticket. The Grifone came flying out of the blocks by testing Chiodini with Leon’s header and a Di Vaio strike in the opening three minutes, but Frosinone fought back and Di Nardo’s glancing header from a Lodi free kick skimmed the upright. It was hitman defender De Rosa who broke the deadlock by rising to meet Milanetto’s set-piece for his eighth goal of the season.
Di Vaio and Leon continued to combine in the Genoa trident, while Lodi was the key to most of the home side’s attacking moves, including a free kick that whipped past the crossbar and a fine assist wasted horribly by Bocchetti with the goal gaping. Frosinone went all out with an attacking line-up, but only goalkeeper Chiodini kept the scoreline down with a tricky save on Gasparetto’s close-range drive, but his team crumbled in the final minutes. Antonioli saw red for an appalling sliding tackle on Leon’s knee and moments later Pagani was judged to have brought down Gasparetto, with Milanetto burying the penalty. It still wasn’t over, as De Rosa was sent off with practically the last kick of the game for a second bookable offence.
Mantova 1-0 Napoli
Napoli lose second place and their grip on automatic promotion after this potentially extremely costly defeat. Although they were without the suspended Sacchetti, Doga and injured Noselli, Mantova were eager to get points to keep their play-off hopes alive. Both sides threatened early on with Bogliacino’s deflected effort turned out for a corner, Iezzo closing down Godeas and a Sosa attempt parried. It began to fall apart for Napoli as before the break both Domizzi and Bogliacino limped off, then in stoppages Caridi gave Mantova the lead with a fierce right-foot strike from distance that bounced just in front of the goalkeeper.
It got worse, as straight after the restart Maldonado earned a straight red card for elbowing Godeas. Left with 10 men, they came increasingly under pressure from a Godeas goal disallowed for offside and splendid Iezzo save on Franchini’s counter-attack. Some classy defending from Cannavaro stopped Godeas clear on goal, though in stoppages there was a golden opportunity to make it 2-0. Incredibly Rizzi hit the upright and teammate Spinale turned the follow-up on to the crossbar of an open goal.
Pescara 2-3 Crotone
This was a true six-pointer between the bottom two clubs, one of which will go straight down to Serie C1, the other most likely contending a play-off. Crotone were the more determined side at the Stadio Adriatico and seemed to have the win wrapped up in the opening half-hour. Sedivec held up the ball for Espinal’s left-foot strike, then the same two players combined on the counter and Lopez made it 3-0 from the edge of the box. In fairness, Pescara staged a comeback with Russo sliding on to Rigoni’s cross and Aquilanti nodding in after a howler from goalkeeper Soviero, but it was not enough to save them.
Piacenza 1-1 Rimini
Piacenza were held to only their second home draw of the season in this Emilia-Romagna derby between two play-off contenders. Rimini had to protect fourth place and impressed at the Garilli, as Moscardelli rattled the crossbar in the first half before his backheel set up Ricchiuti’s opener just seconds after the restart. Their lead lasted only six minutes, as Argentine Simon was able to equalise. Nef twice threatened a second for Piace, but Valiani’s goalline clearance earned the visitors a point. There was also controversy late on as Matri’s goal was disallowed for a debatable foul on Olivi.
Spezia 1-3 Brescia
Brescia leap up the standings towards the play-off places with this important away victory, but Spezia slide ever closer to the danger zone. It was an even first half with chances for Colombo, Serafini and a well-saved Guzman free kick, though all the action came in the space of 20 second half minutes. Colombo got his header to a Nicola cross and, after great saves denied Guzman at one end and Hamsik on the other, Brescia began their fightback. Possanzini redirected a corner kick, Scarlato brought down Serafini for Hamsik’s penalty and Stankevicius curled in a spectacular set-piece from 30 metres. Tempers flared, with Colombo and Mannini dismissed for a scuffle.
Treviso 3-1 Albinoleffe
Defender Viali turned hitman with a brace in this mid-table match. Albinoleffe tried to strike on the counter through Ruopolo and Belingheri, but Treviso broke through with Fava nodding in a corner kick. Not 120 seconds had passed before Belingheri had pounced on a poor Lorenzi backpass to slide past Avramov. Viali came on as a second half substitute and within two minutes his header had restored Treviso’s advantage. It remained an open game and was only truly settled in stoppages when Viali converted the generous penalty for Acquafresca’s tumble.
Vicenza 2-0 Modena
Vicenza end a month-long winless streak to break away from the danger zone, but leave Modena perilously close to a relegation play-off. The Canarini had the better of the first half, as Zancope denied Tamburini’s angled drive and a point-blank Pinardi attempt, while Antonazzo was only kept out by the crossbar. The Biancorossi soaked up the pressure and struck after the break, veteran hitman Schwoch shaking off Ungari’s challenge to slide the ball past Frezzolini. Raimondi wasted a good opportunity to double their lead, but he did set up Foti’s goal in stoppages. Young striker Foti foolishly got himself sent off, as in his angry celebrations he threw his shirt at the Coach, earning a second yellow card and most likely a very long spell in the stands.
Sunday 6 May
Cesena 2-2 Juventus
Juventus see their lead at the top cut to six points after this fiery thriller at the Stadio Manuzzi. The Bianconeri switched to a trident attack, mirroring Cesena’s habitual 4-3-3 system, but the home side was more accustomed to it and had a fantastic start. Papa Waigo found space down the right and thanks to Pelle’s dummy got the ball to Salvetti for a simple tap-in. Papa Waigo set up another great chance for Pellè moments later, denied by Legrottaglie, then Buffon had to perform a crucial save on Del Core just inside the box. Pellè also nodded over, but the game was shaken up in the five minutes leading up to half-time.
Nedved was furious when he had penalty appeals rejected for a push from Mezavilla and the tension escalated on the pitch as from the resulting long Chiellini throw-in Trezeguet was able to turn in with his thigh from six yards. Goalkeeper Sarti was at least a couple of yards behind his own line and an argument exploded between him and several Cesena teammates. As the players were still fuming at each other, Juventus snatched a second with Del Piero on the counter and Nedved was left acres of space for a shot to deflect off Ficagna and loop over Sarti. Tempers flared as the Czech was accused of celebrating too close to the Cesena bench and it took several people to calm Coach Fabrizio Castori down.
The half-time break was sorely needed and matters settled after the interruption, with Del Piero again setting up Nedved for an angled drive well parried by Sarti. The home side got back on track as Papa Waigo made it 2-2 by meeting a flicked-on corner kick at the far post. Del Piero led the fightback with a couple of swerving efforts wide, but it could’ve been 3-2 for Cesena when Buffon fingertipped a blistering Sabato strike over the bar and Ola turned a free header from the resulting corner kick off target. Buffon had to rush off his line to close down the pacey Papa Waigo in the final minute.
Source: C4 Football Italia