Sunday, 10 June 2007

Serie B Wk 42: Review

Sunday 10 June
Piacenza 1-1 Triestina
Piacenza shot themselves in the foot. If the Biancorossi won this match, then play-offs were a certainty, but failure would see both Genoa and Napoli go up automatically due to the 10-point gap between third and fourth. Triestina also had reason to do battle, as they risked the relegation play-outs.

The visitors had the best start but it was Piacenza who broke through on 33 minutes, as Stamilla’s inspired cross found Degano to tap-in. Moments later Stamilla went close to a second and Campagnaro turned a free header over.

But Triestina came out fighting after the restart and Coppola had to be on his toes with several fantastic saves. However, even he could not keep out Allegretti’s equaliser, a glorious free kick from 25 metres that swerved over the wall. Just three minutes later Allegretti had an almost identical set-piece, but this time it cannoned off the bar.

Piovaccari was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but 10-man Triestina continued to dominate at the Stadio Garilli and held on.

Genoa 0-0 Napoli

Piacenza’s draw with Triestina means that both Genoa and Napoli return to Serie A on a dramatic last day! It was a huge party at Stadio Marassi, as the players and fans united to celebrate together at the final whistle.

Going into the final match of the season, it was a head-to-head between two teams for just one automatic promotion place. A draw would be enough for Napoli, so Genoa hoped to maintain their enviable home record at and poured forward early on in waves while the Azzurri concentrated on the counter. In fact it was Napoli who had the first real chance after 19 minutes when Sosa’s looping header thumped the crossbar.

Di Vaio wasted a great chance by trying to set up Greco rather than the clear Fabiano, but the visitors took control and Calaio drilled just over. Grava closed down Di Vaio inside the area and Leon swept an ambitious attempt off target before Iezzo punched away his curling free kick. Genoa were chaotic as Di Vaio and Leon clattered into each other when trying to tap in the same low cross! A desperate goalline intervention prevented Leon meeting Greco’s pass clear on goal and at the other end Calaio’s overhead kick whistled past the target. Genoa were very unlucky on the stroke of half-time, as a Leon free kick took a deflection to come off the upright.

Iezzo had his palms stung by Leon’s snapshot and Di Vaio’s free header was over from seven yards. Genoa had their best chance yet when Leon sprung the offside trap on Domizzi’s error, but incredibly blazed his angled drive wide. At the other end Rubinho performed an incredible point-blank save to flap out Sosa’s header.

There was a strange atmosphere on 65 minutes as news came through of Triestina’s equaliser at Piacenza, so both sets of fans – and even a few players – began hugging and celebrating together! It lasted only a few seconds and Di Vaio flicked wide of the near post and the Rossoblu went for broke with hitman Adailton. It was still wide open and Rubinho beat away a Bogliacino rocket, while moments later at the other end Iezzo fingertipped a Leon screamer out from under the bar.

There was chaos when the final whistle came through the radios at Piacenza – but not at the Marassi, so there was a pitch invasion and everyone was celebrating with shirts and shorts thrown to the fans – except there were still two minutes left to be played. Staff rushed into the locker rooms to find spare kits with which they could conclude the game. The game resumed after the delay and the final whistle was followed by celebrations.

[Napoli & Genoa secure promotion]

Rimini 2-1 Mantova

This was a battle between play-off contenders, but with Piacenza’s failure, it was all moot. Rimini did what was required of them, earning the three points that put them in fifth place. Jeda was the star of the show, heading in Ricchiuti’s cross from the left and getting a penalty past Brivio at the second attempt, having seen the first one saved. Mantova got back into it with Godeas’ header, but despite Cristiano’s dismissal, they could not complete the comeback.

Brescia 4-2 Cesena
Brescia did their duty in getting the three points at the Stadio Rigamonti, but Piacenza’s failure to win meant that there will be no play-offs. The Rondinelle made short work of an unmotivated Cesena, as Possanzini met Serafini’s assist and Stankevicius hit the bar with his trademark free kick. Mannini thought he had scored from distance, but teammate Possanzini stuck out a foot to flick the wayward effort past the goalkeeper with his heel. Mannini got on the scoresheet eventually, turning in the rebound from a parried Serafini strike. Jadid created a fourth for Serafini and after the result was comfortably in their pockets, Brescia sat back. This allowed Cesena two consolation goals with a Pellicori penalty and Bracaletti solo effort

Albinoleffe 2-5 Bologna
Bologna’s crushing victory was not enough to force their way into the play-offs, as Piacenza’s draw had a domino effect on the entire table. Still the Rossoblu weren’t going to take anything for granted and came tearing out of the blocks with Marazzina and Zauli’s volley in the opening nine minutes. Belingheri pulled one back, but it was all Bologna as Bellucci’s brace – including a penalty – and Cipriani’s right-foot smasher secured the win. The referee also pointed to the spot for Albinoleffe, but after Gori missed his penalty, he made up for it soon after with a goal from open play.

Juventus 2-3 Spezia
Juventus ended their Serie B season and were presented with the Serie B trophy after the match, but it was dominated by Trezeguet’s offensive gesture aimed at the Bianconeri directors. Caretaker coach Giancarlo Corradini oversaw his final game and gave Under-21 sensation Giovinco a rare start with Del Piero aiming to confirm his Capocannoniere status.

Spezia had more to play for than mere pride, as they risked relegation, so Colombo scored from an offside position and later his lob skimmed the woodwork. Del Piero shaved the upright, but there was a flurry of activity on 26 minutes. First Pecorari gave Spezia the lead by nodding in at the end of a chaotic move, then 90 seconds later Trezeguet equalised with a splendid solo effort, dribbling past his marker. However, there was a controversial celebration, as the Frenchman showed the VIP area at the stadium the symbol 15 – the number of goals he has scored this season – and an ‘I’m off’ gesture for his imminent transfer.

The visitors kept on pushing and Mirante needed a double save to deny Guidetti and flew to capture Colombo’s header and palm out his angled drive. Del Piero continued to search for a goal with his trademark set-pieces. Substitute De Ceglie went close after a lucky ricochet, but once again there were two goals in the space of as many minutes. Guidetti ran on to a long ball at the edge of the area and lobbed the on-rushing Mirante, only for youth team player Bianco to tap in the parried effort from Giovinco. Spezia needed points to avoid the drop and in the final minute Confalone thumped the outside of the upright. It still wasn’t over on this dramatic final day, as Varricchio took advantage on a disastrous defensive error and set up Padoin for a simple finish. Only a great Santoni save prevented Giovinco breaking their hearts, as Juventus lose their first ever Serie B match on home turf. While Spezia avoided automatic relegation, they will have to fight for Serie B survival in a play-out match.

[Arezzo relegated, Play-out: Spezia v Verona]

Treviso 1-3 Arezzo
Arezzo got their victory, but it was not enough to avoid sliding into Serie C1, as their six-point Calciopoli penalty proved too great an obstacle. The match had started badly for them, as Treviso took an early lead through Under-21 international Acquafresca’s angled drive. Floro Flores fought back by flicking on Bondi’s free kick and only bad luck denied them with the Brazilian hitting the upright and a spectacular Petras goalline clearance keeping out Martinetti. The game turned on 55 minutes, when Camorani saw red for bringing down Croce. Floro Flores saw his penalty saved, but Martinetti pounced on the loose ball. This season Arezzo have missed a staggering eight spot-kicks. Floro Flores took his tally to 15 goals with a header, but Spezia’s 3-2 win at Juventus sent Arezzo down.

[Arezzo relegated, Play-out: Spezia v Verona]

Verona 4-2 Bari

Verona manage to escape automatic relegation, but must face Spezia in a play-out to decide if it’ll be Serie B or C next season. Cutolo’s fierce strike cracked against the upright before Pulzetti drilled in the opener from the edge of the area. Bari tried to fight back and Santoruvo’s effort was tipped on to the woodwork, but on the counter-attack Allegrini accidentally turned Gillet’s clearance into his own net. Hellas wrapped up the points after the restart with Turati’s header and a Ferrante tap-in. Two late Bari goals by Fiorentino and Strambelli proved to be crucial as Verona dropped into the play-out zone on goal difference ahead of Triestina.

[Arezzo relegated, Play-out: Spezia v Verona]

Modena 2-1 Frosinone
Modena escaped the relegation play-outs with this hard-fought victory. Longo broke through after just 10 minutes when he stroked home Campedelli’s cross with his right foot, but Frosinone were not going to just sit back and hit the upright with the impressive Lodi. Goalkeeper Chiodini managed to keep out Colacone and Campedelli, but could do nothing on Pinardi’s penalty for a Di Deo foul on Longo. The visitors were still in it and, after both sides had hit the woodwork with Dedic and Colacone, Frey was sent off for hauling penalty taker Margiotta down in the area.

Crotone 0-1 Vicenza
Vicenza’s late goal ensured their safety, though Crotone have been mathematically relegated for some time now. Goalkeeper Scarzanella denied Rigoni and Cavalli, then tipped a Foti screamer on to the crossbar. The home side nearly caused an upset with a tough save on Sedivec, but seven minutes from time Paonessa completed a counter-attack with a splendid lob.

Lecce 4-1 Pescara
In the final round of the season, this was the only match in which nothing was to be decided. Lecce at least ended their campaign in comfortable fashion against the already relegated minnows, dominating with Tiribocchi pouncing on a loose ball, Zanchetta’s marvellous free kick, a Vives solo effort and Caccavallo’s intelligent chip. Substitute Mazzella made his mark in the final minutes for Pescara.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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