Sunday, 25 April 2010

Serie A - Week 35: Sunday Review

The destination of the Serie A is now back in Inter's hands after Sampdoria ended Roma's 24-match unbeaten league run with a 2-1 victory in Rome. Earlier Juventus boosted their outside hopes of catching Samp in the race for Champions League football next season with a 3-0 win over Bari. Bottom side Livorno were relegated despite a victory as Bologna and Lazio recorded wins, while Siena are all but down.

Roma 1-2 Sampdoria
Giampaolo Pazzini scored twice as Sampdoria stunned Roma 2-1 and prevent them from moving back into first place in Serie A. Roma went into the game on the back of six straight league wins, including last weekend's 2-1 derby triumph over Lazio, as part of a 24-match unbeaten run. Giallorossi captain Francesco Totti opened the scoring after 14 minutes before Pazzini restored parity early in the second half. With Claudio Ranieri's men looking to reclaim the lead, Pazzini struck on a fast counter-attack with five minutes remaining to silence a jam-packed Stadio Olimpico. With the win, Samp climbed two points clear into fourth place - the last Champions League qualifying spot. Roma now go into the final three games trailing league leaders Inter by two points.

Juventus 3-0 Bari
Juventus turned on the style in the second half to beat Bari 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico and boost their outside hopes of clinching a Champions League spot. Substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta struck a second-half brace - a goal either side of Alessandro Del Piero's penalty - to condemn mid-table Bari to their 14th Serie A defeat of the season. The result moved Juve up to sixth in the standings, but still six points adrift of fourth-spotted Sampdoria with three games to go.

Livorno 3-1 Catania
Livorno defeated 10-man Catania 3-1 but it was to count for little as the Tuscans still suffered relegation following wins for relegation rivals Bologna and Lazio. Cristiano Lucarelli opened the scoring for the hosts from the penalty spot after 50 minutes after Catania's Ciro Capuano had brought down Davide Di Gennaro inside the area. Capuano was shown a second yellow card and handed his marching orders. Claudio Bellucci doubled Livorno's advantage on the hour mark before Martin Bergvold made it 3-0 six minutes later. Catania striker Maxi Lopez scored a consolation goal with three minutes remaining. Rock-bottom Livorno moved to 29 points but have no chance of staying in the top flight as they are 10 points adrift of Bologna with three games left to play. Catania still have some work to do to secure their top-flight future as they are just six points clear of the drop zone. [Livorno relegated]

Genoa 1-2 Lazio
Lazio moved six points clear of danger at the foot of the Serie A table with three games of the season remaining after beating Genoa 2-1 in Liguria. Rodrigo Palacio put the home side in front after eighth minutes, but goals from Andre Goncalves Dias and Sergio Floccari gave Lazio the deserved lead at the break. Genoa's hopes of a comeback were setback when Salvatore Bocchetti was sent off after 70 minutes and they couldn't find an equaliser as they practically waved goodbye to their hopes of playing in Europe next season. They now trail seventh-placed Napoli by five points with little chance of catching them for a place in the Europa League.

Bologna 2-1 Parma
Bologna took a giant stride towards Serie A safety as Marco Di Vaio's brace gave them a 2-1 victory over 10-man Parma. Cristian Zaccardo's sending-off in the half-hour mark proved the turning point as the hosts came from behind to move five points clear of Atalanta and the bottom three with three games to play. Di Vaio struck first after 38 minutes to cancel out Jonathan Biabiany's opener and punished an error from Parma debutant Abel Gigli to seal the win. The victory was Bologna's first in eight games, having conceded a 90th-minute equaliser to Udinese last time out and thrown away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Lazio the week before, and they can guarantee safety with a win at relegation rivals Atalanta next Sunday. The defeat all but ended Parma's slim hopes of European qualification, though, leaving them seven points off seventh spot.

Fiorentina 0-2 Chievo
Chievo ensured their Serie A status for another season with an impressive 2-0 victory on the road at Fiorentina. Sergio Pellissier and Gennaro Sardo struck second-half goals for the Flying Donkeys, who moved 10 points clear of danger with three games remaining. Defeat for La Viola all but ends their bid for European football next season, with the club now seven points off the final European berth after their fourth game without a win. Fiorentina had their chances in the match, however, and the outcome could have been different had Juan Vargas not seen his 51st-minute penalty saved by Stefano Sorrentino.

Udinese 4-1 Siena
A first-half brace from Simone Pepe set Udinese on their way to a convincing 4-1 victory over Siena which all but secures their Serie A status while almost certainly condemning the Tuscans to the second tier. Pepe scored either side of Emanuele Calaio's equaliser before Alexis Sanchez extended their lead on the hour mark and top goalscorer Antonio Di Natale boosted his claim to the Capocannoniere title. Siena are now nine points behind 17th-placed Bologna with just three games left to play while Udinese are eight points above the drop zone.

Napoli 0-0 Cagliari
Napoli's Champions League ambitions suffered a setback as they could only manage a goalless draw at home to 10-man Cagliari in Serie A. Cagliari goalkeeper Federico Marchetti made a number of good saves to stave off the home pressure and leave them frustrated. Napoli's Argentinian striker German Denis was the most profligate player for the hosts, wasting five presentable opportunities. The hosts did make a late push when substitute Andrea Cossu was shown a straight red card with 11 minutes to play but the visitors held on for a point. The result means Napoli drop to seventh place - now a Europa League berth thanks to Inter and Roma's qualification in the Coppa Italia final - seven points behind fourth-placed Sampdoria.

[Saturday 24 April] - [Sunday 25 April]

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