Sunday, 11 April 2010

Serie A - Week 33: Sunday Review

Roma took a big step towards the Serie A title after beating Atalanta 2-1 to take top spot from champions Inter with only five games to go but AC Milan stalled in their pursuit of the Scudetto. Sampdoria won the city derby to remain neck-and-neck with Palermo in the race for the fourth and final Champions League place, while Juventus stay in touch.

Roma 2-1 Atalanta
Roma beat Atalanta 2-1 to hit the Serie A summit for the first time since 2007. The Giallorossi took advantage of Inter's 2-2 draw at Fiorentina yesterday to leapfrog them in the standings with a victory at the Stadio Olimpico. Mirko Vucinic put Claudio Ranieri's men on their way after 12 minutes before Marco Cassetti doubled the advantage before the half-hour mark. Atalanta striker Simone Tiribocchi reduced arrears early in the second half but Roma held on for a crucial win. The result lifts Roma one point clear of Inter with five games remaining while Atalanta remain 18th, four points adrift of safety. The title race is far from settled but the leadership change still marks a remarkable reversal. Jose Mourinho's Inter had been in sole command since October and looked to be cruising to a fifth straight Scudetto in mid-February when they led by nine points. By contrast, Roma, on a 23-match unbeaten run, have rallied after they were in seeming disarray early in the season when Ranieri replaced Luciano Spalletti.

AC Milan 2-2 Catania
Marco Borriello struck a second-half brace to spare AC Milan's blushes against Catania but the 2-2 draw did little to boost the Rossoneri's flagging hopes of a first Serie A title since 2004. Maxi Lopez gave the Sicilian visitors a shock lead after 12 minutes and Adrian Ricchiuti doubled their advantage two minutes before the break to silence the San Siro. Borriello pulled one back for Leonardo's side three minutes into the second half and then levelled matters nine minutes from time, but the draw left Milan four points behind new Serie A leaders Roma with five games remaining.

Palermo 3-1 Chievo
Palermo strengthened their bid for Champions League football next season as Fabrizio Miccoli scored twice in a 3-1 win against Chievo. The home side dominated the early stages but Chievo took the lead after 18 minutes when Marcos Ariel De Paula netted. Javier Pastore's header and two goals from Miccoli, the first a penalty, earned the Sicilian giants all three points and maintained their hold on fourth spot in Serie A, ahead of fifth-placed Sampdoria on the head-to-head record.

Sampdoria 1-0 Genoa
Antonio Cassano earned Sampdoria a 1-0 victory in the 102nd Derby della Lanterna to keep them in contention for a place in the Champions League next season. Cassano struck after 23 minutes to earn the home side all three points with a narrow win which took them level with fourth-placed Palermo on 54 points, three ahead of Juventus. Genoa's own hopes of qualifying for Europe took a knock in the process as they slipped six points behind the top six with five games of the season remaining.

Juventus 1-0 Cagliari
A single goal by Giorgio Chiellini was enough to guide Juventus to victory over Cagliari as they brought to an end their dismal run in Serie A. The Turin giants had won just one of their previous five games to drop out of the Europa League places and their awful form was summed up with the 3-0 defeat by Udinese last weekend. But today's victory, courtesy of Chiellini's goal after 35 minutes, saw the Bianconeri claim their eighth home win of a difficult campaign. The result moves Juve up to sixth, three points adrift of the Champions League places.

Bologna 2-3 Lazio
Lazio recovered from an early 2-0 deficit to rally to a crucial victory over relegation rivals Bologna which eases their fears of exiting Serie A. The teams occupy the two places immediately above the drop zone and went into the game desperate for the points to haul them further clear of 18th-placed Atalanta. Bologna made the first move and were 2-0 up inside 16 minutes through Roberto Guana and Daniele Portanova, but Stefano Mauri cut the deficit with a crucial goal a minute before half-time. And two goals in five second-half minutes from Andre Dias and substitute Tommaso Rocchi earned the Biancoceleste victory and lifted them six points clear of the drop zone and two ahead of Bologna, for whom Antonio Busce missed a glorious late chance to level the game.

Livorno 0-2 Udinese
Livorno slipped closer towards the Serie A trapdoor as a 2-0 home defeat to Udinese left them with a mountain to climb to avoid relegation this season. Udinese's in-form strikers Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Di Natale scored the goals in the first half to lift the Friulians seven points clear of the bottom three with five games remaining. The hosts had their former coach Gennaro Ruotolo back on the bench after he was reinstated this week when Serse Cosmi was sacked following last weekend's 1-1 draw at Genoa, but he was unable to halt their slide back towards Serie B. They now find themselves nine points adrift of safety.

Siena 3-2 Bari
Algerian forward Abdelkader Ghezzal struck twice as relegation-threatened Siena grabbed a much-needed win against Bari. The visitors took the lead after 13 minutes through Emmanuel Rivas, but it lasted five minutes before Ghezzal scored his first of the day. Jose Ignacio Castillo put Bari back in front midway through the first half. Ghezzal restored parity shortly after the hour mark before Aleandro Rosi put Siena ahead for the first time with 24 minutes remaining. Siena held on without major scares to claim their second victory in seven games. The outcome allowed the second-from-bottom Tuscans to close the gap with safety to six points with five matches remaining. Bari, meanwhile, conceded their second straight defeat and have dropped to 11th in the standings.

[Saturday 10 April] - [Sunday 11 April]

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