Saturday, 12 May 2007

Serie B Wk 38: Review

Saturday 12 May
Juventus 3-1 Bologna

Juventus snatched a controversial last-gasp win thanks to a debatable penalty, as Bologna ended the game with nine men. Despite being forced into two substitutions in the opening 23 minutes, it was Bologna who took the lead. After Marazzina’s header skimmed the upright, Bellucci sprung the offside trap to place an angled drive past the stranded Buffon. The Bianconeri equalised just before half-time, as substitute Zanetti’s long ball forward sent Del Piero clear for a right-foot finish that restored parity between the teams and the two joint top scorers in Serie B.

The game turned six minutes from time, as the referee pointed to the spot for Smit’s supposed push as Marchionni went to jump. Bologna were furious and Terzi saw red for dissent, but Del Piero had to twice convert due to encroachment. Even after the penalty the visitors continued to protest and ended the game with nine men as Marazzina took his complaints too far. The entire Bologna bench was up in arms and a section of the home fans reacted by throwing objects in their direction, as the tension was sky high at the Stadio Olimpico. Despite being two men down, the Rossoblu nearly equalised when Buffon flew to parry a Bellucci header from point-blank range. Juventus made the points safe in stoppages with youngster Giovinco marking his debut with a splendid assist for Trezeguet’s tap-in.

Albinoleffe 0-0 Vicenza

This was a typical end of the season kickabout, although both sides did have at least some good scoring opportunities. Most notably, Ruopolo drilled inches wide with the goal gaping and just before the break the same player had his screamer fingertipped on to the crossbar. Vicenza also shook the frame of the goal with Schwoch’s counter-attack from a tight angle.

Crotone 1-2 Arezzo

Crotone are virtually relegated after this defeat, but Arezzo continue their incredible fightback, having picked up six wins and a draw in their last seven games. The home side had taken a surprise lead within 120 seconds, as Ranocchia accidentally turned an Espinal cross into his own net in his attempt to anticipate Dante Lopez. He made up for the error when he scored the equaliser, this time beating the correct goalkeeper with a preice header from a corner kick. Martinetti completed the turnaround by finalising a Floro Flores counter-attack. It could have been more for Arezzo, but both Terra’s header and a Togni effort from distance were stopped short by the woodwork.

Lecce 0-1 Spezia
Lecce suffered a shock home defeat that takes Spezia away from the drop zone, but much of the credit goes to goalkeeper Santoni. It was very hot at the Stadio Via del Mare, which made for a sluggish overall encounter. Osvaldo and Guzman had long-range efforts saved, while Santoni rushed out to close down Juliano and then parried Zanchetta’s free kick. The visitors held on under this barrage, including Valdes thumping the crossbar, and just as Lecce tired themselves out Varricchio struck. He beat the offside trap with Padoin’s pass and waltzed round Pavarini

Modena 2-2 Mantova
Modena staged an incredible comeback from 2-0 down in the final six minutes despite playing with 10 men. It took just seven minutes for Mantova to break through at the Stadio Braglia, as Frezzolini rushed out to close down Godeas and clipped his leg. Although the goalkeeper got a hand to the central penalty, Caridi still managed to convert. The Canarini reacted and hit the back of the net with Sforzini’s header, but it was disallowed for a very tight offside position, and Mantova made it 2-0 soon after to drown their hopes. Grauso found space down the right and crossed for Godeas to nod in.

Modena did not give in, as Brivio denied Antonazzo’s cross-shot and Sforzini turned a couple of efforts off target, but Frey suffered an injury after all three substitutions had been completed, so they were forced to play with 10 men for the final half-hour. Frezzolini kept Spinale’s counter-attack and a Caridi attempt at bay and, despite their situation, the home side did pull one back. Longo’s inspired chip over the defence sent Campedelli clear to beat the goalkeeper. In a bizarre twist and with only a goal needed to get a point, Frey was able to get back on to the field a good 25 minutes after he went off to receive treatment. The desperate tactic worked, as with the final kick of the game Tamburini held up the ball for Longo's volley from six yards.

Piacenza 3-1 Pescara
This result sends Pescara hurtling into Serie C1. Nocerino was the star of the show with a brace in the first 20 minutes, as he pounced on a couple of errors from goalkeeper Tardioli. Campagnaro and Riccio went close to a third before Pescara got a consolation goal through Antonelli’s sensational screamer from all of 30 metres that slotted into the far top corner. It was only a brief respite, as Degano and Patrascu threatened and Simon’s shot went in off the inside of the near post.

Rimini 0-1 Bari
Rimini’s unbeaten record at the Stadio Neri came to a surprising and controversial conclusion, heavily denting their play-off ambitions. The home side dominated this match for the most part, hitting the crossbar with Porchia’s fierce free kick and bringing saves out of Gillet with Cascione and Matri. The referee had a key role, as he disallowed Vitiello’s goal for a dubious offside position and 10 minutes later Bari took the lead through Santoruvo’s right-foot strike from the edge of the area. Rimini laid siege to the opposition area and thought they had the chance for a last-gasp equaliser when Pianu appeared to trip Bischeri, but he first awarded the penalty and then changed his mind after consulting with the linesman.

Treviso 1-1 Cesena

Treviso fought back to earn a point in this match and could even have won it despite playing with 10 men for the last half-hour. Acquafresca almost got them off to a great start when he rattled the crossbar within the opening 120 seconds, but Cesena took the lead with their first real chance, De Feudis rising to meet a Papa Waigo cross. The rest was all Treviso, as Acquafresca skimmed the upright and Fava’s glancing header redirected a Guigou free kick. Despite Viali’s dismissal for a second bookable offence, they continued to push for a winner and went close with Quadrini, Guigou and Fava’s penalty shout.

Verona 2-2 Frosinone
Verona won the Scudetto in 1985, but they really risk dropping into Serie C1 after his thoroughly entertaining and hard-fought relegation six-pointer. Hellas had the best start with Ferrante holding up the ball for William’s spectacular half-volley from the edge of the area. Frosinone managed to turn the game around in the space of two minutes, as first Di Nardo pounced on a misunderstanding between Comazzi and goalkeeper Pegolo to deposit into an empty net, then Margiotta nodded in Carbone’s cross. The tide turned again with Ferrante drilling just wide and a stunning Chiodini save on Sibilano from point-blank range. Margiotta wasted the chance to seal the points by drilling over and Verona took advantage, as Ischia got a crucial touch to redirect Iunco’s powerful strike. Chiodini kept Frosinone in it with a series of fantastic saves on Ferrante and Pulzetti, yet his team could have won it when Di Deo’s goal was disallowed for a dubious push.

Sunday 13 May
Genoa 3-2 Triestina

Genoa maintain the tempo set by Juventus and Napoli with a hard-fought win, but Triestina refused to give up at Marassi even though they played the entire second half with 10 men. It took just five minutes for Testini’s handling offence on a Fabiano strike to gift Milanetto a penalty. Testini almost made up for his error immediately when his volley thumped the crossbar, but the blistering start to this match was in Genoa’s favour and Gasparetto nodded in Leon’s free kick. It was a very open game, as Rubinho was repeatedly called to make excellent saves on Rossetti and Pesaresi, but he could do nothing when Galeoto accidentally deflected a Coppola clearance into his own net. Testini was having a nightmare and saw red on the stroke of half-time for a second bookable offence on Milanetto. Against 10 men, Di Vaio seemed to put the result beyond doubt with a sensational half-volley from Fabiano’s headed assist. However, Triestina stayed in the hunt and Eliakwu rose to nod in Lima’s cross with Criscito requiring a last-gasp intervention to prevent Piovaccari equalising.

Tuesday 15 May
Brescia 0-1 Napoli

Juventus’ promotion will have to wait, as Napoli conquered the Stadio Rigamonti to keep the race open and more importantly set a 10-point gap from fourth place that would eliminate the need for play-offs. This match was postponed from Saturday to an early evening Tuesday kick-off due to fears over crowd trouble, therefore discouraging the visiting fans from travelling. Brescia had the brightest start with Serafini failing to get enough power on to his header, but when he did manage a great effort he was denied by Iezzo’s crucial point-blank save. Possanzini’s angled drive skimmed the upright. Napoli were dominated in the early stages, but when Coach Edy Reja moved De Zerbi to a deeper role, the game changed and they took the lead with CalaiĆ² nodding in a Garic cross and Inacio PiĆ  got the final touch. It was almost 1-1 at the break, as Iezzo and a Grava goalline clearance combined to keep out Possanzini in stoppages.

Yet the second half was much the same, with the visitors now content to sit back on their lead and invite the Rondinelle forward. A Cannavaro defensive error on 77 minutes let Possanzini through with only Iezzo to beat, but he somehow fired wide of the open goal. Cerci fired a left-foot effort over from close range and Piangerelli wasted another opportunity from the edge of the area. Iezzo confirmed his Man of the Match status with a last-minute save on Hamsik’s header.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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