Sunday, 3 February 2008

Serie A Week 21: Sunday Review

Roma's title bid suffered a big blow as they lost 3-0 at struggling Siena to fall further behind champions Inter who, despite playing with 10-men, won at home against Empoli. Elsewhere, Milan closed in on a Champions League position, Juventus were held and Lazio secured a crucial win.

Siena tore up the form book on Sunday as they romped to only their second home win of the season and dealt a devastating blow to Roma's title dreams with a 3-0 victory. The Giallorossi slipped eight points behind leaders Inter after Simone Vergassola, a Max Tonetto own goal and Mario Frick condemned them to their first defeat since September. The shock triumph lifted Siena, who lost the reverse fixture by the same scoreline earlier in the season, out of the drop-zone, two points ahead of third-bottom Reggina. But it could prove the final nail in the coffin for Roma's Scudetto chances as they conceded as many goals in 90 minutes at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as they had in their past eight Serie A matches.

Inter restored their eight-point advantage at the top of the Serie A table with a 1-0 win over Empoli, despite being forced to play most of the match with 10 men. A debatable penalty on 34 minutes, fired home by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was enough to secure an unconvincing win for the Nerazzurri. Inter's poor disciplinary record continued as Patrick Vieira was sent off shortly afterwards but they clung on to leave Empoli in 19th place, although there was late drama as the visitors missed a penalty through Luca Saudati which would have netted them a vital point.

Milan brought Fiorentina's four-match winning run to an end as they scraped a 1-0 victory thanks to a second-half goal from substitute Alexandre Pato in Florence. The hosts will feel bitterly disappointed with the defeat as they held the visitors under siege for long periods and always looked the more dangerous. But Pato's fourth goal in six matches proved decisive, although the young star was forced off late on after picking up what looked like a bad ankle injury.

Cagliari gave their best performance of the season as they held Juventus to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. The visitors have scored the fewest goals in Serie A this term but took a surprise lead through Paolo Bianco on 56 minutes. But their joy was shortlived as the advantage was to last a matter of seconds before Pavel Nedved pulled the Bianconeri level. But Claudio Ranieri's side will be disappointed with only picking up a draw as they try to secure a Champions League spot.

Lazio beat Sampdoria 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpicoto end a five-game winless run. Stefano Mauri opened the scoring for the hosts on 37 minutes before Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano equalised on the stroke of half-time. But Tommaso Rocchi struck 13 minutes from the end to hand the Romans all three points. The outcome sees the Biancoceleste climb to 13th in the standings while Samp drop to eighth.

Cristiano Lucarelli's missed penalty proved costly as Parma slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Atalanta. The striker initially scored the 34th-minute spot-kick but the referee ordered it to be retaken because of players encroaching in the area and his weak second attempt was saved, squandering the chance to draw level after Maximiliano Pellegrino had given the visitors an 18th-minute lead. Lucarelli made amends by equalising five minutes later but Gianpaolo Bellini and Sergio Floccari added second-half goals to seal the win. Andrea Gasbarroni scored a penalty in the last minute but it was of little consolation to the hosts, who are now 15th in Serie A.

Marco Borriello's 12th goal of the season earned Genoa all three points as they defeated Catania 2-1. Sacramento Danilo gave the home side the lead in the 13th minute and they had chances to increase their advantage before a Cesare Bovo own goal in the 59th minute brought Catania level. But Borriello won and converted a 71st-minute penalty to seal the win.

Torino gave themselves some breathing space in the relegation battle towards the bottom of Serie A with an impressive 3-1 win at fellow strugglers Reggina. Alessandro Rosina put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot midway through the first half and Roberto Stellone doubled their advantage 10 minutes before half-time. Nicola Amoruso pulled one back for Reggina after 59 minutes, but Rosina netted his second spot-kick of the game seven minutes later to settle the contest.

[Saturday 2 Feb] - [Sunday 3 Feb]

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