Sunday 23 September 2007

Serie A Week 4: Sunday Review

A late strike by Vicenzo Iaquinta secured Juventus a point at Roma and ended the capital club's 100 per cent start in Serie A on a day that saw Inter held by Livorno, Lazio beaten at Atalanta and both Palermo and Fiorentina won on their travels. The first Genoa derby in more than 12 years finished in a disappointing draw.

Juventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta headed home a late equaliser to deny Roma and his former coach Luciano Spalletti a fourth successive victory in Serie A. Iaquinta made his name at Udinese under Spalletti but showed no sentiment to his old mentor by converting Giorgio Chiellini's 88th-minute throw-in to hand Juve a point from a pulsating encounter. The Bianconeri had taken the lead after 17 minutes through David Trezeguet's 100th Serie A goal but Francesco Totti's double before the break handed the initiative to the home side. Juve rode their luck at times although they can also point to a missed opportunity of their own when Alessandro Del Piero blazed a penalty over the bar at the start of the second half.

Champions Inter suffered a shock at Livorno but recovered to draw and remain unbeaten in Serie A. Roberto Mancini watched as his side put in a second disappointing performance of the week following their 1-0 defeat to Turkish giants Fenerbache in their opening Champions League fixture on Wednesday night. The Nerazzurri came from behind twice against Serie A's bottom club and were forced to play the final 10 minutes with 10-men after Maicon was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Erjon Bogdani. Daniele de Vezze put the hosts in front inside 60 seconds before Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised with the first of his two goals. Massimo Loviso restored Livorno's lead from the penalty spot but Sweden international Ibrahimovic converted a penalty 19 minutes from time to level.

Lazio remain winless after four Serie A outings this season following a last-minute defeat on the road at Atalanta. Having drawn their first three games of the campaign, Delio Rossi's troops looked on course for a fourth league stalemate in succession after Massimo Mutarelli had cancelled out Antonio Langella's opener for the hosts. But deep into stoppage time at the end of 90 minutes, Riccardo Zampagna popped up with the winner for the Bergamaschi to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Adrian Mutu's early strike secured all three points against 10-man Catania and preserved Fiorentina's unbeaten start to the season. The former Chelsea and Juventus striker rose highest to head home a fourth minute corner and leave the hosts still searching for their first win of the campaign. Matters went from bad to worse for the home side when midfielder Davide Baiocco was dismissed 12 minutes from time. The win propels Fiorentina up to fourth in Serie A, just two points behind early pacesetters Juve.

Cristian Zaccardo's strike proved enough for Palermo to clinch the Derby delle Isole against Cagliari 1-0. In a close affair in Sardinia between teams who were separated only by goal difference at the start of play, Zaccardo struck after 15 minutes to earn the points for the Sicilians. The win means the Rosanero are unbeaten in four league and UEFA cup matches and sit just three points off the top of Serie A.

A momentous week for Empoli ended with a whimper as they shared a goalless draw with Napoli. The Tuscan minnows played their first game in European competition on Thursday night and enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Swiss champions FC Zurich in the first leg of their UEFA Cup first round tie, but a first league win of the season remains elusive following the stalemate with high-flying Napoli. Despite their excursions in continental competition, Empoli coach Luigi Cagni has declared top flight survival as his main priority this season and they now have two points from four games. But Cagni will be pleased with a clean sheet against Napoli, who have impressed on their return to the top flight.

Massimo Maccarone missed two penalties before finally finding the net to secure a deserved draw for 10-man Siena at Torino. The former Middlesbrough striker failed to convert from the spot shortly after Paolo Dellafiore had given the hosts a 25th-minute lead. However, after again watching Matteo Sereni parry a second penalty eight minutes after the break, he pounced to tap home the rebound and secure a share of the spoils. The visitors were forced to endure a nervous final 13 minutes as Paul Codrea saw red for a second bookable offence. The point leaves both sides still searching for their first wins of the season having amazingly drawn a combined seven of their opening eight games.

The first Derby della Lanterna in more than 12 years ended in stalemate on Sunday evening as Sampdoria were held at home by battling Genoa in a poor encounter. The highly-anticipated fixture failed to live up to its billing with little in the way of goalmouth action and the best chance of the night coming right at the death. Sampdoria's Gennaro Delvecchio came close to breaking the deadlock during a goalline scramble, but in truth neither side deserved to take anything more than a point from a turgid match.

[Saturday 22 Sep] - [Sunday 23 Sep]

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