Saturday 26 May
Juventus 2-0 Mantova
Juventus are mathematically assured the top spot in Serie B with their 28th victory. This was meant to be a celebration of the promotion Juve secured last week, but with reports of Didier Deschamps tending his resignation, there was tension in the Stadio Olimpico. Mantova were still in the running for the play-offs and one of only two sides to beat the Bianconeri this season. Trezeguet failed to make the most of two early Del Piero assists before goalkeeper Brivio parried both Zebina’s solo effort and the captain’s follow-up. Boumsong’s volley into the ground bounced over the bar and Brivio also saved Del Piero’s backheel flick from a corner kick.
The deadlock was broken on 55 minutes, as Del Piero combined with Balzaretti and Trezeguet got away from Sacchetti to nod in. Doga’s aim left a lot to be desired and Juventus managed to double their lead through Nedved’s fantastic dummy and chip, dribbling past four players in the box.
Albinoleffe 2-3 Bari
Bari all but secure their safety with this surprising away victory. Albinoleffe had taken the lead through Belingheri’s spectacular volley, but Santoruvo turned the game around by earning a penalty converted by Ganci and nodding in on the stroke of half-time. Ganci completed his brace with a swerving strike from distance to make the points safe, although Ferrari’s spot-kick for Belmonte’s handling offence made it a tense finale.
Brescia 3-0 Vicenza
Brescia keep their slender play-off hopes alive by crushing an ineffective Vicenza. Hamsik thumped the upright and Viviano turned Foti’s effort out for a corner before Serafini sprung the offside trap to open the scoring. There was only one team in it and Nastos brought down Mannini for Hamsik’s penalty. In stoppages the 3-0 scoreline was sealed with Mannini sliding Jadid’s assist past the goalkeeper.
Crotone 2-3 Frosinone
Frosinone were made to fight for these points away to already relegated Crotone. Sedivec showed the home side were in no mood to lay down and die by putting his side ahead with a left-foot finish. Bocchetti took the situation in hand and with two headers either side of the break turned the game around. Dedic dummied goalkeeper Pagotto for a classy effort, but Bau’s shot from the D made the scoreline a little more respectable.
Genoa 3-0 Pescara
Adailton made a spectacular return after just one appearance in three months. Facing a side that was already relegated, Genoa were expected to comfortably pick up their club record 11th consecutive home victory. Yet Rubinho made the first real save on Martini from point-blank range before the Rossoblu took control. A goalline clearance kept out Rossi at the end of a sweeping move, Di Vaio’s header skimmed the upright and a shot from the former Juventus striker was well saved. Milanetto finally made their dominance count with a classic free kick into the top corner. There was only one team at Marassi with Leon, Bega and Di Vaio going close.
After the restart Pescara substitute Felci gave them a scare with an effort from the edge of the area that took a coat of paint off the upright. However, it was another substitute that made the difference. Adailton returned after a long injury lay-off and hit the back of the net within 60 seconds! The Brazilian picked up exactly where he had left off, catching the ball with his right foot and thumping a powerful left-foot finish from 20 metres. Adailton completed this extraordinary comeback with a brace in stoppages, another splendid solo effort.
Lecce 2-0 Cesena
Both these teams have nothing more to fight for and Lecce came out on top with a more aggressive attitude. Tiribocchi continued his scintillating form with several shots on goal, while at the other end Rosati denied both Pellicori and Papa Waigo. It was Osvaldo who broke through on the hour mark, getting the final touch to a sweeping team move. Zaninelli’s foul on Tiribocchi saw the Cesena man dismissed and Valdes bury the spot-kick. There was still time for Tiribocchi to rattle the crossbar.
Modena 1-0 Triestina
Modena keep the relegation zone at arm’s length with this hard-fought win. Pinardi netted the only goal of the game in the opening minutes, unleashing a powerful right-foot screamer that fizzed into the top corner. Marchesini and Pinardi went close before Allegretti’s goalline clearance denied Tamburini. Triestina became even less effective when Abruzzese picked up his second yellow card.
Piacenza 2-1 Spezia
Spezia slide back into the real danger zone, but they were livid after seeing two men sent off and a penalty not given. Nocerino gave Piacenza the advantage going into the break with a splendid curling effort from an acute angle. It got worse for the visitors, as what looked to be a good penalty shout was waved away and Frara sent off for dissent. Soon after, Gorzegno was extremely harshly shown a straight red card for a tackle in midfield. Degano’s tap-in at the back post ensured the points were safe, but nine-man Spezia still got a goal back with Saverino’s spot-kick.
Rimini 0-2 Arezzo
This was a sad day indeed for Rimini, as this week President Vincenzo Bellavista tragically died. There was a minute’s silence ahead of all Serie B games and the events of the past few days evidently took their toll on the squad. Instead of trying to keep the play-off places within reach, they slide back down after a desperate Arezzo grabbed another potentially decisive victory. Floro Flores was the star of the show, hitting the woodwork after 10 minutes and opening the scoring from the edge of the area. Martinetti wasted a great chance to double their lead while Matri hesitated with the Arezzo goal gaping. Floro Flores made it 2-0 late on with a Del Piero style curler into the far top corner.
Treviso 1-1 Bologna
Bologna have abandoned hope of reaching the play-offs with this result. Zauli sidefooted in Fantini’s assist in the early stages, but by the 20th Treviso had drawn level through Acquafresca’s smart turn and powerful rising strike. The home side had the better of the second half, but Fava, Guigou and Russotto could not find a way through.
Verona 1-3 Napoli
Napoli extend their lead from fourth place and have a great chance of going up without the need for play-offs. This fixture has always been a passionate affair due to the intense rivalry between the fans, but it took on even more meaning with Verona desperate to avoid relegation and Napoli pushing for Serie A. Ferrante had early penalty appeals for a Savini push waved away, while at the other end Sosa couldn’t get enough power on to his header. Both sides had excellent chances before the half-hour, as Gianello parried a splendid Sibilano header and Dalla Bona failed to nod in Sosa’s assist from close range.
It was Napoli who broke through straight after the restart, as Dalla Bona’s corner found Domizzi’s head at the back post. The game sprung to life with Hellas pouring forward in waves, but this left space for the counter-attack and again ex-Chelsea midfielder Dalla Bona was involved, setting up Calaiò for a curling left-foot shot that bounced just in front of Pegolo. Only four minutes later Verona got back into it with a fierce Pulzetti strike from distance and the match turned into a real battle. Nieto was furious he was stopped for an incorrect offside when clear on goal, while the same player’s header was over and Domizzi had to perform a crucial challenge to keep out Turati. Gianello’s desperate save denied Babù and the Brazilian also wasted a good chance. Having set up two goals, Dalla Bona completed his inspirational performance with one of his own in stoppages.
Source: C4 Football Italia