Sunday, 29 April 2007

Serie A Wk 34: Review

Saturday 28 April
Torino 0-1 Milan
A Clarence Seedorf goal was enough to earn Milan a 1-0 win at Torino on Saturday evening and lift them above Lazio into third place in Serie A. It was a comfortable victory for Milan, who will not have wasted too much energy ahead of Wednesday's vital Champions League semi-final second-leg against Manchester United at the San Siro. Seedorf broke the deadlock with a curling shot from long range in the 26th minute and, despite a second half revival from the home team, Milan were never in danger of losing their lead, particularly after Oscar Brevi was sent off for the home side in the 73rd minute. The defeat leaves Torino in danger at the bottom of Serie A and they will not have as comfortable a day off on Sunday, knowing they could drop into the bottom three.

Fiorentina 1-0 Chievo

Fiorentina moved up to sixth in the Serie A standings after a hard-earned 1-0 win over Chievo in Florence. A 64th-minute goal from Reginaldo was enough to earn the Viola all three points in a game they dominated from start to finish. Chievo, fighting for their lives at the bottom of the league, set their stall out to defend a point. And they did well apart from one minor indiscretion, which they paid dearly for as they fell into the relegation zone.

Sunday 29 April
3-1 Empoli
Inter celebrated the defence of their Serie A crown by cruising to victory against Empoli at the San Siro on Sunday evening. The home fans were in party mood and the favourites responded with the kind of ruthless display which has characterised their season. Julio Cruz put them ahead after 27 minutes and although Luca Saudati levelled 12 minutes into the second half, quickfire goals from Alvaro Recoba and Dejan Stankovic saw the Nerazzurri register their 27th win of a wonderful season. Inter's only target as the season winds down is to beat Juventus' all-time points record of 91. Inter currently have 87 with four games to go. [Inter secure 15th Scudetto] [Galleries]

Roma 0-0 Lazio
Bitter rivals Roma and Lazio shared the spoils in their Eternal City derby on Sunday afternoon. Both sides fashioned chances but neither had the finishing touch at the Stadio Olimpico. The outcome sees both teams remain in the top four with four games left to play as they look to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Livorno 1-2 Palermo
David Di Michele struck the winning goal against Livorno to hand Renzo Gobbo the best possible start as caretaker-manager of Palermo. Having only taken over the Sicilian giants on Monday, Gobbo watched on as his players claimed their first triumph since February 2 at the Stadio Armando Picchi. Palermo captain Eugenio Corini had given the visitors a 48th minute lead from the penalty spot but his team's joy was shortlived as 10 minutes later Livorno's Cesar equalised from the penalty spot. The Sicilian side didn't give up hope and were rewarded with Di Michele's effort allowing the islanders to remain in the hunt for a UEFA Cup place.

Parma 2-1 Cagliari
Parma put three points between themselves and the relegation zone with a crucial win over fellow strugglers Cagliari. The result allowed Claudio Ranieri's men to leapfrog the Rossoblu by a point as the battle to avoid the drop intensifies. Igor Budan's first-half goal was cancelled out by Daniele Conti midway through the second, before Andrea Gasbarroni settled the home fans' nerves from the penalty spot. Conti was shown a second yellow card after the final whistle by continuing his protests with referee Stefano Farina.

Siena 0-2 Sampdoria
A season that started with such promise for Siena has fallen apart in recent months and Sunday's home defeat at the hands of Sampdoria leaves them looking even more precariously positioned. The Tuscany-based club are just two points above the drop zone after goals from Christian Maggio and Gennaro Delvecchio sealed the points for the men from Genoa. Sampdoria are now just five points away from the UEFA Cup positions.

Udinese 0-1 Catania
Struggling Catania gave their survival hopes a major boost with victory over eight-man Udinese in a bad-tempered encounter at the Stadio Friuli. Gionatha Spinesi scored the decisive goal with a highly-controversial penalty shortly after the break to hand the visitors their first win in 13 Serie A games and lift them four points clear of the drop zone with four games to go. Catania's task was made a whole lot easier by the home side's indiscipline, Marco Motta, Antonio Di Natale and Andrea Dossena all seeing red in a fiery second half as Udinese players struggled to contain their anger at the penalty decision. The defeat all but ends Udinese's slim hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup, leaving them seven points adrift of the European places.

Ascoli 2-3 Reggina
Ascoli's Serie A fate was all but sealed as the battling hosts went down 3-2 in a hugely entertaining clash with Reggina. The bottom club took an early lead but fell victim to three clinical strikes midway through the match, leaving them 13 points adrift of safety with just five games to play. After Michele Fini opened the scoring for the hosts, two goals from Nicola Amoruso and one from Pasquale Foggia put the visitors from Reggio Calabria in charge. Substitute Massimo Bonanni pulled one back late on for Ascoli. A dramatic final five minutes saw Reggina's Rolando Bianchi miss a penalty before Ascoli substitute Michelangelo Minieri was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Ascoli will be relegated back to Serie B on Wednesday if they lose their rescheduled Week 33 match at Catania. Reggina are now five points clear of the relegation zone

Messina 0-0 Atalanta
Bruno Bolchi may have helped Messina stop the rot but the first game of his third spell in charge did not result in the victory the home side desperately needed. Bolchi returned to the club last week after Bruno Giordano was sacked for the second time this season - Alberto Cavasin was in charge in between his two stints at the helm. And although his men ended a run of six successive defeats, the much-needed victory proved elusive. The Sicilians remain eight points adrift of safety with just four games remaining while Atalanta's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup is almost over, they are 10 points away.

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