Sunday, 21 February 2010

Serie A - Week 25: Sunday Review

Roma injected fresh life into the Serie A title race with a 1-0 win over Catania, while AC Milan secured a comfortable 2-0 win at Bari. Elsewhere Juventus lifted themselves back up to fourth as Napoli drew, and Cagliari, Fiorentina and Palermo all won.

Roma 1-0 Catania
Roma hauled themselves to within five points of the Serie A summit with a 1-0 win over struggling Catania. Mirko Vucinic's strike after 18 minutes secured the Giallorossi's seventh consecutive top-flight victory. The Montenegro forward turned the ball in from close range following a corner, ensuring the capital outfit took maximum advantage of Inter's goalless draw with Sampdoria on Saturday and breathed new life into the Scudetto race. Claudio Ranieri's men created a hatful of chances at the Stadio Olimpico and would have had a more decisive victory had Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar not pulled off some fine saves in each half.

Bari 0-2 Milan
Marco Borriello fired AC Milan to a comfortable win at Bari to see the Rossoneri close the gap on league leaders Inter to seven points. The striker returned to action after missing two games through injury and opened the scoring before half-time with a brilliant scissor-kick. Alexandre Pato doubled his team's advantage on 69 minutes but then conceded a penalty with two minutes remaining after bringing down Salvatore Masiello. However, the hosts failed to capitalise as Paulo Barreto's spot-kick was met by a fine save from Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. The win was Milan's first on the road since early January and left them third in the standings, two points behind second-place Roma with a game in hand.

Bologna 1-2 Juventus
Goals from Diego and Antonio Candreva earned Juventus a 2-1 victory at Bologna which moved them up to fourth in the Serie A table. Diego's early goal for the Old Lady was cancelled out five minutes into the second half by Antonio Busce, but substitute Candreva sealed the three points midway through the second half to continue Juve's improvement under Alberto Zaccheroni. Juve are now one point ahead of Palermo, Napoli and Sampdoria in the congested race for Champions League qualification for next season.

Siena 0-0 Napoli
Napoli dropped out of the top four as they could only draw 0-0 with Serie A basement boys Siena. German Denis missed perhaps the best chance of the game for the visitors in the first half after a neat one-two between Marek Hamsik and Luca Cigarini had set him up. Massimo Maccarone threatened sporadically on his return from suspension for Siena, who made it two games unbeaten following their 1-0 win at Chievo last time out. They still look odds on to be playing second-tier football next term, though, lying eight points from safety. Napoli's third goalless draw in their last four games - and their fourth without a win - saw them slip to fifth, a point behind Juventus.

Palermo 3-1 Lazio
Palermo kept up their push for a Champions League place with a comfortable victory over Lazio. The Rosanero were hammered 4-1 at Roma last time out, but showed no signs of damaged confidence as they got the opener within a minute through Abel Hernandez. Fabrizio Miccoli added a second from the spot midway through the first half and Antonio Nocerino made it 3-0 after 75 minutes. Aleksandar Kolarov pulled one back three minutes later for Lazio, who got their first away win in six months last weekend but never had much of a chance of repeating the feat today from the moment they fell behind almost before they had time to blink.

Cagliari 2-0 Parma
Cagliari kept up their challenge for a place in Europe next season with an efficient 2-0 win over Parma. Andrea Lazzari and Alessandro Matri scored the goals in the first half for the Sardinians, who posed a threat every time they went forward thanks to the enterprising play of Andrea Cossu. The win lifts the Rossoblu up to eighth in the Serie A table, but they are only three points behind fourth-placed Juventus with a game in hand. A win in that game, against Udinese on Wednesday, would see them move into the top four.

Fiorentina 2-1 Livorno
Fiorentina left it late as they bounced back from their midweek Champions League setback with a 2-1 victory over Tuscan rivals Livorno. It was the visitors who struck first in Florence through Nelson Rivas after 36 minute. Fiorentina, who were controversially beaten 2-1 by Bayern Munich, levelled through Juan Vargas just after the hour mark and they took all three points thanks to Alberto Gilardino's header 12 minutes from time. Livorno also finished with 10 men after Rivas was shown a straight red card for dissent. The victory lifted the hosts up to 10th place, six points off European qualification with a game in hand against AC Milan on Wednesday.

Atalanta 0-1 Chievo
Ten-man Chievo scored their first goal and picked up their first points in February with a 1-0 victory at Atalanta. Sergio Pellissier's deflected shot a minute before the break decided the contest and kept Atalanta second bottom of the Serie A table, three points from safety. The hosts struck the post before the 77th-minute dismissal of Luca Rigoni and twice went close to a leveller afterwards, but could not stop Chievo bouncing back from consecutive 1-0 defeats.

[Saturday 20 February] - [Sunday 21 February]

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