Inter made light of an early dismissal to record an enthralling 2-0 win over AC Milan that lifted the Serie A leaders nine points clear of their city rivals, while Napoli consolidated fourth place by beating lowly Livorno and Palermo climbed to fifth with an impressive 3-0 win over Fiorentina.
Inter 2-0 Milan
Nine-man Inter moved nine points clear of city rivals AC Milan at the top of Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win at the San Siro, completing a derby double this season. Diego Milito gave the Nerazzurri the lead after just ten minutes, but they were forced to play over two-thirds of the game with 10 men after Wesley Sneijder was sent off for dissent. Milan tried to react but failed to capitalise and were left reeling by Goran Pandev's 65th-minute free-kick, which secured the points for Jose Mourinho's side. The hosts lost Lucio to a red card in stoppage time for a handball before Ronaldinho saw the resulting penalty saved by Julio Cesar at the end of a dramatic derby.
Livorno 0-2 Napoli
Napoli maintained their impressive challenge for a top-four finish in Serie A with victory at struggling Livorno. Christian Maggio fired the the Partenopei in front before the interval with Luca Cigarini making sure of the points in stoppage time, moments after Livorno goalkeeper Alfonso De Lucia was given his marching orders. Cristiano Lucarelli also missed a second-half penalty for the home side, who are just two points above the drop zone following their third defeat in four games. Napoli, however, stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches in the league with Walter Mazzarri's side staying fourth and in the running for Champions League football next season.
Palermo 3-0 Fiorentina
Palermo romped to a convincing 3-0 victory to boost their European hopes at the expense of Fiorentina's. A first-half brace from Uruguayan youngster Abel Hernandez was followed by an Igor Budan strike just before the hour mark as the Sicilians dominated to maintain their unbeaten home record and move up to fifth in the table. The outcome means its back-to-back defeats for Cesare Prandelli's Fiorentina, who are ninth in Serie A, seven points adrift of the fourth Champions League spot, with a game in hand.
Udinese 2-3 Sampdoria
Sampdoria twice came from behind to claim three points against Udinese at the Stadio Friuli. The hosts went ahead first through Antonio Di Natale's penalty after seven minutes, then again a minute before the break courtesy of Mauricio Isla's strike after Giampaolo Pazzini had levelled from the spot. But Nicola Pozzi brought Samp back on terms again after 57 minutes and Franco Semioli put them ahead for the first time nine minutes later, a lead which stuck. It was a blow for Udinese who could have eased their relegation fears with a win, but instead finished the weekend just one point clear of the drop zone. Meanwhile, Samp, three points off the Europa League places, can look in the other direction.
Bologna 2-1 Bari
Henry Gimenez was once again the hero for Bologna as he came off the bench to fire his team to what could prove to be a crucial victory against in-form Bari. Paulo Barreto had given the visitors a half-time lead before Gimenez levelled minutes after coming on as a substitute and the Uruguay striker, who scored the winner at Fiorentina last week, secured the points again for Bologna after 72 minutes. The result moves Bologna into 14th place in the Serie A standings, four points above the relegation zone and six behind Bari, who drop to 11th.
Genoa 2-0 Atalanta
Genoa needed just 45 minutes to see of the challenge of Atalanta and record only their second victory of 2010, moving them back into the group of clubs chasing a European berth next season. Rodrigo Palacio put the Rossoblu ahead after eight minutes before Hernan Crespo sealed the win three minutes before the break. Atalanta tried hard to find a way back into the game in the second half, but the home side held on for three points which keep them in touch with the top six. The visitors remain in the bottom three.
Siena 1-1 Cagliari
Alessandro Matri struck a late penalty to deny Siena victory and ensure a hard-earned 1-1 draw for 10-man Cagliari. Emmanuele Calaio had given Siena a 78th minute lead but the hosts shot themselves on the foot two minutes later. Emilson Cribari was shown a straight red after bringing down Cagliari's Andrea Cossu inside the area. Matri coolly struck from the penalty spot past Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo to earn his team a share of the spoils. The result was all the more rewarding for the visitors as they played with a player less since the hour mark following Joaquin Larrivey's sending off for a second booking. It leaves the Sardinians in seventh position in the standings while it halted a worrying run of four defeats for Siena, who are still at the foot of the table, seven points from safety.
Lazio 1-1 Chievo
Lazio's Serie A woes continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chievo at the Stadio Olimpico, a result that piles the pressure on coach Davide Ballardini. Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier scored 13 minutes from time to cancel out Guglielmo Stendardo's 18th-minute opener. The result is of little consolation for the Romans, whose troubles this season continue. The outcome leaves Lazio in 15th position in the standings, just two points clear of the drop zone while Chievo climbed nine points above the bottom three.
SERIE A REVIEW:
[Saturday 23 January] - [Sunday 24 January]