Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Serie A - Week 18: Midweek Review

Milan 5-2 GenoaIt was business as usual as Serie A resumed after the winter break with a full programme of La Befana holiday fixtures with the top three all winning.

AC Milan sounded a significant warning to city rivals and league leaders Inter as they hit five against Genoa while the Nerazzurri started the day as they ended it, eight points clear with a 1-0 lunchtime win at Chievo. A few hours later Juventus recorded a much-needed three points at high-flying Parma.

Elsewhere Cagliari scored twice in added time to draw 2-2 with Roma, Napoli moved up to fourth with a 2-0 win at Atalanta and Fiorentina thrashed Tuscan rivals Siena 5-1.

Milan 5-2 GenoaMilan 5-2 Genoa
AC Milan moved back into second place thanks to a convincing 5-2 win over Genoa which also marked the return of David Beckham to the Rossoneri. In front of England coach Fabio Capello, Beckham played a strong 75 minutes, slotting back into the Milan team he represented 18 times last year as if he had never been away. Giuseppe Sculli gave Genoa the lead after 25 minutes, but a penalty from Ronaldinho, who had missed an earlier spot-kick, brought the home team level in the half-hour mark. Thiago Silva gave Milan the lead at the break before two goals from Marco Borriello early in the second half - the second of which, a stunning scissor-kick volley - and a third Milan penalty from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the game beyond Genoa, who grabbed a 79th-minute consolation from new loan signing David Suazo. Leonardo's men are now eight points behind Inter with a game in hand.

Chievo 0-1 InterChievo 0-1 Inter
A Mario Balotelli goal gave Inter a winning start to 2010 but a nasty injury to Cristian Chivu soured their 1-0 victory at Chievo. Balotelli struck after 12 minutes - a shot that was adjudged to have crossed the line before team-mate and new signing Goran Pandev made sure with a header - to settle a tight contest in favour of the Serie A leaders, whose defender Chivu suffered a fractured skull in a clash of heads with Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier in the opening moments of the second half and was taken to hospital. The win maintains the Nerazzurri's eight-point lead over AC Milan and nine-point lead over third-placed Juventus ahead of the big Juve-Milan clash on Sunday night.

Parma 1-2 JuventusParma 1-2 Juventus
An own goal from Paolo Castellini helped 10-man Juventus claim just their second win in seven games at the Stadio Ennio Tardini and ease the pressure on under-fire coach Ciro Ferrara. Castellini headed into his own goal after the hosts had failed to clear a corner, with the 30-year-old only able to steer the ball past the helpless Antonio Mirante. Hasan Salihamidzic had headed Juve into an early lead before veteran forward Nicola Amoruso grabbed an equaliser for Parma, who have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far on their return to the top-flight.

Cagliari 2-2 RomaCagliari 2-2 Roma
Cagliari came from two goals down to grab a last-gasp point and deny Roma the chance of moving up to fourth in Serie A. David Pizarro and Simone Perrotta had put the Giallorossi on course for all three points with goals in the second half but not long after Luca Toni came on to make his Roma debut, Cagliari responded to clinch an unexpected point. Diego Lopez scored after 90 minutes before Daniele Conti completed the comeback deep in stoppage time to earn the Sardinians a point.

Atalanta 0-2 NapoliAtalanta 0-2 Napoli
Napoli continued their push for European football next season by moving up to fourth in Serie A with a solid victory at relegation-threatened Atalanta. Fabio Quagliarella set the Partenopei on their way with a brilliant opening goal after seven minutes and Michele Pazienza made the points safe 13 minutes into the second half. The win extended the visitors' unbeaten run to 11 matches under Walter Mazzarri but saw Atalanta slip a place to 19th with results elsewhere going against the Bergamo outfit.

Siena 1-5 FiorentinaSiena 1-5 Fiorentina
Fiorentina won the Tuscan derby in style with an emphatic 5-1 victory at Serie A basement boys Siena. After an inconsistent first half of the season, La Viola were eager to start 2010 on a high and did so in style. Per Kroldrup, Mario Alberto Santana and Alberto Gilardino put the visitors in the driving seat in the first half before the returning Adrian Mutu and a second for Gilardino completed the rout. Massimo Maccarone's late penalty was barely any consolation for Siena, who are rooted to the bottom of the table.

Bari 2-0 UdineseBari 2-0 Udinese
Bari started the year as they finished the last with an impressive 2-0 home win against Udinese. Giampiero Ventura's side beat Juventus 3-1 in their last outing before the winter break and they were 1-0 up against Udinese within eight minutes thanks to Riccardo Meggiorini's goal. Simone Pepe went closest to levelling for the visitors when he hit the crossbar just before the break, but Vitor Barreto added a cushion for Bari midway through the second period to hand the Galletti their seventh win of an impressive campaign. The defeat was Udinese's third in a row and ruined newly-appointed coach Gianni De Biasi's debut on the Bianconeri bench.

Lazio 4-1 LivornoLazio 4-1 Livorno
Sergio Floccari made a huge splash on his Lazio debut by scoring twice to lead the Rome club to a convincing 4-1 victory over Livorno. Martin Bergvold put Livorno in front after seven minutes before new signing Floccari stole the show. The 28-year-old, who joined Lazio on a six-month loan deal from Genoa this week, struck the equaliser shortly after the re-start and put his new team ahead after 54 minutes. Substitute Tommaso Rocchi made it 3-1 after 73 minutes and Aleksandar Kolarov capped off a great start to 2010 for the hosts by adding his team's fourth from the penalty spot after Rocchi was brought down inside the area by Romano Perticone with one minute remaining. Perticone was shown a straight red for the challenge as Livorno ended the game down to 10 men. The win was only Lazio's fourth of the Serie A campaign and lifts them four points clear of the drop zone while the result leaves Livorno in 16th place, just three points clear of the bottom three.

Sampdoria 1-1 PalermoSampdoria 1-1 Palermo
Sampdoria failed to turn around their Serie A fortunes as they came from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Palermo. The Blucerchiati had won just once in their last eight fixtures going into this game and found themselves trailing to Edison Cavani's strike before the interval. Palermo's lead was short-lived with Antonio Cassano providing the perfect response a minute later, but it was not the start to 2010 Samp coach Luigi del Neri had hoped for.

Catania 1-0 BolognaCatania 1-0 Bologna
Sinisa Mihajlovic saw his Catania side boost their hopes of survival with a vital 1-0 victory over former club Bologna in a drab game at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. Nicolas Spolli scored the only goal of the game nine minutes from time to lift the Sicilians to 18th in the table - a point behind Bologna, who have a game in hand on their fellow strugglers. It is a sixth away defeat for Bologna, who are yet to win on their travels this season.

[Wednesday 6 January]

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