Friday, 12 October 2007

Serie B Week 9: Weekend Preview

While the Serie A stars turn their attentions to international football, the Cadetti rolls on with a full round of fixtures on Sunday.

There are huge games all over the peninsula with no fewer than four derbies and a battle between second and third.

Albinoleffe against Pisa was marked down as a relegation six-pointer before the season started, but amazingly either side could go top with a win at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

Pisa’s return to Serie B has been triumphant and Ascoli were the latest side to be humbled by the Nerazzurri last weekend. Driven by the tactical nous of Giampiero Ventura and the wizardry of Roma-owned midfielder Alessio Cerci, they will take some stopping as they grow in confidence with each week.

Bergamo minnows Albinoleffe suffered their first defeat of the campaign against Messina in Week 8, but they remain just a point from leaders Brescia. It would be easy to claim that Leffe are a victory for team spirit and guts over style, but Elio Gustinetti has them playing some mouth-watering football and this could be a scintillating contest.

Two of the second tier’s most ambitious sides meet in a Lombardy derby as Brescia host Mantova. Strangely, there is no antagonism between these two neighbours who both prefer to bait their Veronese rivals, but there is enough at stake without animosity. The Rondinelle are leading the pack and will be favourites, but anyone who saw Mantova’s 3-2 win over Modena will know that the Virgiliani are back after three defeats and ready to make the Biancoazzurri sweat.

There are two local squabbles in Emilia-Romagna as resurgent Piacenza entertain Bologna and Modena play Cesena at the Stadio Braglia. Bologna are fresh from a 1-0 win over Lecce and are finally showing why they are amongst the title favourites, but the real Piacenza seem to have arrived after a nightmare start. Cesena have a long season ahead, but will fancy their chances against the ever-inconsistent Modena.

Meanwhile Treviso and Vicenza contest a Veneto derby with an atmosphere of desperation as both sides languish in the drop zone and newly-relegated sides Ascoli and Chievo meet.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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