Sunday, 18 April 2010

Serie A - Week 34: Sunday Review

Mirko Vucinic was the toast of half the Eternal City on Sunday after his double sent Roma back to the top of Serie A with a 2-1 comeback win over rivals Lazio in a dramatic encounter. Elsewhere AC Milan's Scudetto hopes were crushed by late Sampdoria win, which moves them into fourth spot.

Lazio 1-2 Roma
Mirko Vucinic was Roma's hero as he struck twice in the second half to help the Giallorossi win 2-1 at rivals Lazio and reclaim top spot in Serie A, going one point clear of Inter with just four games remaining. Tommaso Rocchi burst through to give the hosts a 14th-minute lead as the Biancocelesti shaded the first half. Roma coach Claudio Ranieri caused a stir at the interval by removing Rome-born talismen Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi but his gamble eventually proved decisive. It could have been different had Julio Sergio not saved Sergio Floccari's soft penalty just after half-time. Instead, Stefan Radu felled substitute Rodrigo Taddei with Vucinic levelling from the spot kick after 53 minutes. Ten minutes later the turnaround was complete when the Montenegro striker rifled in a 20-metre free-kick as Roma extended their unbeaten league run to 24 games. Lazio, who remain three points above the drop zone, then had Cristian Ledesma dismissed in added time.

Sampdoria 2-1 AC Milan
Sampdoria practically ended AC Milan's slim title hopes with a 2-1 win which puts them on course for Champions League football next season. Marco Borriello put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes, but a red card for central defender Daniele Bonera early in the second half, which led to Antonio Cassano levelling from the penalty spot, tipped the scales in the home side's favour. They left it late to net a winner, though, with Giampaolo Pazzini nodding in their second in stoppage time to boost their hopes of playing in the Champions League. With four games of the season remaining, they lead fifth-placed Palermo by two points while Milan find themselves seven adrift of league leaders Roma and unlikely to now challenge for silverware. The defeat comes at the end of a difficult week for Milan, with rumours swirling that rookie coach Leonardo is on the verge of leaving after just one season despite repeated denials.

Cagliari 2-2 Palermo
Cagliari were pegged back to draw 2-2 despite leading 2-0 with three minutes to go against Palermo, who nonetheless ceded fourth place in Serie A to Sampdoria. The hosts, who surprisingly sacked coach Massimiliano Allegri and replaced him with Giorgio Melis this week, led through Andrea Cossu's 28th-minute effort and Jeda appeared to have made the Derby delle Isole safe after 87 minutes. But Palermo roared back through Fabrizio Miccoli and Abel Hernandez - only for Samp's own last-minute goal, Giampaolo Pazzini's winner against 10-man AC Milan, to take them ahead in the battle for a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Bari 1-2 Napoli
Napoli moved into the top six in Serie A as they reignited their charge for Europe with a 2-1 victory over Bari. Ezequiel Lavezzi scored in either half to put Napoli in a commanding position but they were ultimately left hanging on after Sergio Almiron got the hosts back in it with 15 minutes left to play. The win lifts Walter Mazzarri's side above Juventus and into the final Europa League berth, and only five points adrift of fourth-placed Sampdoria.

Atalanta 2-1 Fiorentina
Atalanta boosted their hopes of survival and dented Fiorentina's Europa League aspirations with a narrow 2-1 win over the Viola in Bergamo. Bortolo Mutti's side headed into the encounter in 18th place, four points adrift of safety, but got off to the ideal start when Adriano Ferreira Pinto gave them a sixth-minute lead. Simone Tiribocchi doubled their advantage midway through the second half and, although Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back 15 minutes from time, the hosts held on for a valuable three points. Massimo Gobbi was sent off for a second bookable offence in the last minute to compound a miserable afternoon for the Tuscan outfit. Atalanta remain in 18th but moved within two points of fourth-bottom Bologna, with four games of the season remaining. The result saw Fiorentina slip six points behind sixth place to leave their dreams of playing European football next term looking bleak, particularly given their Coppa Italia semi-final defeat to Inter last week.

Parma 2-3 Genoa
Ivan Fatic spared Genoa's blushes, bagging the winner 30 seconds after coming off the bench to help his team to a narrow 3-2 victory at Parma after they had squandered a two-goal advantage. Rodrigo Palacio scored in each half to seemingly give Genoa a comfortable lead. However, they were left rocking when Parma levelled just after the hour mark thanks to a Cristian Zaccardo header and an own goal by Salvatore Bocchetti three minutes later. But Fatic scored after 72 minutes to see Genoa leapfrog their opponents into eighth spot, four points behind Napoli - who hold the last Europa League berth - with four games left. Parma, who had revived their hopes of Europe following an eight-game winning run, are two points further back.

Udinese 1-1 Bologna
Antonio Di Natale popped up with a stoppage-time leveller to salvage a point for Udinese and break the hearts of battling Bologna. The visitors appeared poised to snap their miserable five-game losing streak with a win but Di Natale's late show ensured they had to settle for a 1-1 draw which does little to ease their Serie A relegation worries. Bologna were gifted the perfect start when Christian Zapata put through his own net inside five minutes, but Franco Colomba's side just failed to get the job done despite a heroic rearguard display in the second half. The two dropped points will be keenly felt by Bologna, whose gap to the drop zone now stands at just two points after third-bottom Atalanta secured a win. Udinese, meanwhile, are now just five points clear of relegation danger with four games remaining.

Catania 2-2 Siena
Simone Vergassola equalised midway through the second half to earn relegation-threatened Siena a point with a 2-2 draw at Catania. The home fans sensed it was going to be their side's day when Maxi Lopez put them ahead after 11 minutes. Massimo Maccarone levelled early in the second half only for Catania to go back in front one minute later thanks to Marco Biagianti's goal. Catania should have made it 3-1 on the hour mark, however, Lopez had his penalty saved by Gianluca Curci. Vergassola pulled his side even with 21 minutes remaining to leave both teams with a point. Despite avoiding defeat, Siena did not claim the three points they desperately needed. They lie second from bottom, six points behind Bologna, who hold the last position of safety. Catania, meanwhile, climbed to 14th, six points clear of the drop zone.

[Fri 16 April] - [Sat 17 April] - [Sun 18 April]

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