Sunday, 2 March 2008

Serie A Week 26: Sunday Review

Napoli became the first club to beat the champions Inter in Serie A this term, while an added-time winner gave Fiorentina a notable success as they moved a point behind Juventus with a 3-2 victory in Turin. Elsewhere Antonio Cassano showed his best and worst, and Cagliari saw off Genoa.

Inter suffered their first defeat of the season, 1-0 at the hands of Napoli, blowing the Serie A title race wide open. Marcelo Zalayeta capped a remarkable performance for the home side with the only goal of the game in the third minute, and though he had a penalty saved later on the early strike was enough to earn Napoli a well deserved but unexpected victory. Inter have looked out of sorts in recent games, needing late goals to secure draws with Sampdoria and second-placed Roma in their last two Serie A outings. This time there was no late comeback as the home side dominated the game from start to finish to run out worthy winners. With Roma thrashing Parma 4-0 on Saturday, Inter's lead has been cut to six points.

A late show from Fiorentina consolidated their position in the Champions League places as they came from behind to beat Juventus 3-2. A stoppage-time goal from Pablo Osvaldo, who was red-carded in the aftermath, gave the Viola three points. Massimo Gobbi had put them ahead, before Mohammed Sissoko's first goal for Juve restored parity. Mauro Camoranesi put the Bianconeri in front early in the second half, before N'Diaye Papa Waigo came off the bench to score for the second match in succession. The Viola are comfortably fourth, one place and point behind Juve. AC Milan's 1-1 draw with Lazio on Saturday leaves them fifth, four points behind.

Antonio Cassano netted the equaliser which earned Sampdoria a 2-2 draw at home to Torino but he can expect a hefty fine and suspension after throwing his shirt into the referee's face after being sent-off late on. Cassano earned his first booking for his celebrations after his 53rd-minute goal drew Samp level with Torino, who twice led. But his second for swearing at the referee prompted a display of temper for which the on-loan Real Madrid striker has become notorious as Cassano tossed his Samp jersey at the official before leaving the pitch. Gianluca Comotto had put the visitors ahead on 17 minutes before Luigi Sala equalised in first-half injury-time. David Di Michele's penalty six minutes after the break restored Toro's lead, only for Cassano to level for the hosts.

Udinese made sure they stayed ahead of the chasing pack in the race for the UEFA Cup spots with a 2-0 win over rival European hopefuls Atalanta. The Friuli-based outfit hit two goals in quick succession as Fabio Quagliarella then Antonio Di Natale scored in the 30th and 32nd minutes to record only Udinese's second win in seven Serie A games. A defeat away to Parma plus the failure to win at home since early December had allowed Sampdoria and Genoa to creep up on the Bianconeri in sixth place, closing the gap between the three sides to just one point.

Cagliari's battle against relegation was given a huge boost with a narrow 2-1 win over Genoa. The hosts, who were docked three points this week for taking legal action against a former player without first asking for permission, went behind to Alessandro Lucarelli's 14th-minute goal but equalised through Robert Acquafresca midway through the first half and sealed the points courtesy of goalkeeper Fernando Rubinho's own goal on the stroke of half-time. Despite remaining rooted to the bottom of Serie A, the Sicilians have now lost just two of their last six games. Genoa were denied their third win on the bounce and slip to eighth, denting their hopes of UEFA Cup football next season.

Siena registered their third away win of the Serie A season with a 2-0 victory over Tuscan rivals and fellow relegation battlers Empoli. Goals either side of the break from Daniele Portanova and Christian Rigano sealed all three vital points for the Robur, with the hosts not helped by the stoppage-time dismissal of Davide Moro. The result leaves Empoli just one point above the drop zone while Siena move up to 14th place - four points away from trouble.

Livorno dragged themselves out of the relegation zone with a vital 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Catania. Half-time substitute Alessandro Diamanti scored the only goal of the game for the home side to move them up to 15th place in the table, though the Sicilian visitors will probably feel they deserved more but its they who drop into the relegation zone.

Reggina remain rooted in the relegation zone after a goalless stalemate at home to Palermo. Francesco Guidolin's outfit headed into the encounter desperate to avoid their fifth consecutive defeat on the road, and left with the point they clearly desired. Reggina did the majority of the attacking but were unable to find the necessary cutting edge up front.

[Saturday 1 Mar] - [Sunday 2 Mar]

No comments:

Post a Comment