Sunday, 28 October 2007

Serie A Week 9: Sunday Review

AC Milan are all but out of the Scudetto race after Roma's 1-0 win at the San Siro, but Inter were held at Palermo. Udinese stunned Lazio, Parma beat Livorno in a relegation dogfight, and Genoa and Fiorentina shared the spoils in the evening clash.

Mirko Vucinic scored the only goal as Milan slumped to yet another defeat at the San Siro at the hands of a resurgent Roma side. And it could have been worse after Massimo Ambrosini saw red for the hosts 11 minutes from time. But luckily for the Rossoneri, Daniele De Rossi tried to be too clever with his spot kick and it flew over the bar. Roma have only won one game at home but have been in scintillating form away from the Stadio Olimpico and are yet to lose on their travels. The victory at the San Siro, ahead of the Rome derby against Lazio on Wednesday, was their fourth away win in five matches. Milan's famous stadium is simply not the fortress it used to be with Carlo Ancelotti's side not having won a single Serie A game at home all season. Although top of their Champions League group, the European champions have made their worst start to a Serie A season in 26 years.

Leaders Inter were held to a goalless draw by Palermo despite dominating the game for long periods in Sicily. Roberto Mancini's men were looking for a fifth win on the bounce in Serie A but they could not find a way past Alberto Fontana in the Palermo goal. The home side rarely threatened and have now failed to win in their last four league games.

Genoa and Fiorentina shared the spoils in a goalless draw at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday night. In a weekend when several refereeing decisions in Serie A have come under scrutiny, Emidio Morganti produced a few more points for discussion. He turned down two decent penalty appeals by Genoa - both from the tricky Leon - while many other decisions went against the home side, leaving the man in yellow the main protagonist of the game. Adrian Mutu and Giuseppe Sculli missed the best chances of the match with both sides probably satisfied with the point. The result moved La Viola up to joint third, four points behind Inter.

A second-half goal by Gyan Asamoah handed Udinese a deserved 1-0 victory over Lazio in Rome. With 12 minutes remaining, Asamoah's header from Antonio Di Natale's cross silenced the Stadio Olimpico and earned Udinese their second victory on the road this season. The Friuli outfit controlled the game and had numerous chances to break the deadlock but struggled to beat veteran Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta, who was the best player on the pitch. The outcome lifted Udinese to fifth in the Serie A standings, while Lazio are 14th.

Sampdoria players exchanged harsh words with striker Antonio Cassano after he left the pitch of his own accord during the defeat to Catania. With his side 1-0 down, the on-loan Real Madrid man left the pitch just before half-time claiming that he was injured, much to the anger of fellow striker Vincenzo Montella, who was furious with his team-mate's actions. Giuseppe Mascara had put the home side in front with only a minute gone and he then turned provider for the second, curling in a corner for Jorge Martinez to head home.

Parma returned to winning ways by edging basement boys Livorno 3-2 in an entertaining encounter. Substitute Domenico Morfeo's 74th-minute goal handed the Gialloblu their second win of the season and ended a three-game rot for the Ducale club. In an open game at the Stadio Tardini, it was the hosts who took the lead through Stefano Morrone's ninth-minute goal but Francesco Tavano equalised midway through the first half. Tavano struck his second of the afternoon from the penalty spot shortly after the restart to put the visitors in the ascendancy. However, Livorno's joy was shortlived as Parma hit back with Massimo Paci restoring parity four minutes later before Morfeo completed the comeback. The Tuscan outfit ended the game with 10 men after midfielder Daniele De Vezze was dismissed in the last minute following an ugly foul on Morfeo.

Empoli may have won at Milan last weekend but were this time on the receiving end of a 1-0 scoreline as Cristiano Doni was on target for Atalanta, who move up to seventh place as a result. Doni's second-half goal proved to be the only moment of quality during 90 frustrating minutes marred by unnecessary fouls that disrupted the flow of the game. The home side seemed to be labouring without the influence of captain and playmaker Ighli Vannucchi, and they struggled to create much in the way of clear-cut chances.

Struggling Siena and Reggina failed to break out of their respective slumps as they battled out a goalless draw. The home side did all of the running, but had no success with the final ball not finding its man against a strong Reggina defence. The best chance of the game actually fell to the visitors who, early in the second half, hit the crossbar, but they spent little more than a handful of minutes in the ascendancy before sitting back and accepting a point.

[Saturday 27 Oct] - [Sunday 28 Oct]

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