Monday, 5 November 2007

Spotlight - Week 11: Leon the professional

Here's a round up the winners and the losers from Week 11 of the Serie A season.

Julio Cesar Leon (Genoa): The Honduran hitman is really making a name for himself at Marassi. Having seen a long-range screamer saved by Palermo 'keeper Alberto Fontana, the 28-year-old curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner and completed his brace with an opportunist strike. A virtuoso performance from a man being linked with a January switch to one of the peninsula's giants.

Julio Cruz (Inter): The Argentine ace urged Roberto Mancini to give him a start and took full advantage on the biggest possible stage. Having opened the scoring in the Derby d'Italia, Cruz has reiterated that he is so much more than just a super sub.

Matteo Sereni (Torino): It's a make or break year for the ex-Lazio man and he presented his full portfolio to deny Milan at the San Siro. A fantastic reaction stop from Alberto Gilardino was the cream of the crop, but the former Ipswich man was solid from the off.

Marco Ballotta (Lazio):
Argentine goalkeeping starlet Juan Pablo Carrizo can't arrive soon enough for Lazio. The ageing Ballotta cost the Aquile a point when he tried to prevent Emilson Cribari's defensive header going for a corner but merely pushed the ball back for Giampaolo Pazzini to score.

Alberto Gilardino (Milan): It seemed that Gila was back on track after a brace against Sampdoria in midweek, but he was embarrassingly impotent in the Rossoneri's Torino stalemate. Diavolo boss Carlo Ancelotti was so frustrated by the ex-Parma hero's profligate performance that he publicly blamed him for the draw.

Luciano Spalletti (Roma): A rare off-day for the talented tactician. Returning to the ground where he made his name, Spalletti was unable to stop complacency creeping in as his Giallorossi threw away a 2-0 lead at Empoli and wasted a golden chance to gain ground in the title race.

Ludovic Giuly (Roma): The pocket-sized Frenchman only deserves part of the credit, for this was trademark champagne football from the Giallorossi. A series of intricate passes involving four players was finished off by Giuly's low drive.

Julio Cesar Leon (Genoa): He may not be as famous as Andrea Pirlo or Juninho Pernambucano, but this was a free kick they’d be proud of curled precisely into the very top where the goalkeeper simply could not reach.

Sergio Volpi (Sampdoria): There was no stopping this strike. Paolo Sammarco’s dummy allowed Andrea Caracciolo’s headed assist to reach Volpi for a screamer of a volley that rocketed into the bottom near corner from the edge of the box.

Home sick Rossoneri: Milan's San Siro curse continues and the Diavolo have now scored five times as many goals on their travels as they have on home soil - 15 on the road compared to just three at the Meazza.

Five and out: Catania's five-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at home to Atalanta. The Elefanti's purple patch started with a win over Empoli back in Week 5.

All hail Cesare: Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli has a phenomenal record with the Viola. Under the gifted tactician, the Stadio Artemio Franchi outfit have lost just once in their last 29 Serie A encounters.

Source: Paul Watson (C4 Football Italia)

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