Sunday 2 December 2007

Serie A Week 14: Sunday Review

Champions Inter maintained their three-point advantage at the top of Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win at Fiorentina as Roma moved into second place. Elsewhere, Atalanta demolished Napoli, Catania won the Sicilian derby and Lazio were held to a draw.

Inter kept their campaign to retain the Scudetto on track with an impressive 2-0 victory over Fiorentina at a packed Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence. First half goals from former Fiorentina midfielder Luis Jimenez and Julio Cruz handed the visitors all three points and condemned the hosts to a second consecutive home defeat. Viola coach Cesare Prandelli, whose wife Manuela died of cancer last week, was given an emotional welcome back by the home fans before the start of the match which was followed by an impeccably-observed minute's silence.

Roma moved above Juventus and into second place in Serie A after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico. The Eternal City giants took the lead through Juan in the 11th minute before Fabio Quagliarella restored parity for the visitors a minute later with a stunning finish. But a Rodrigo Taddei strike in the 27th minute ensured all three points for the Romans while their opponents shot themselves in the foot as they were forced to play the last 11 minutes with just nine men after the dismissals of Giampiero Pinzi and Andrea Dossena.

Atalanta overwhelmed Napoli with an utterly dominant performance at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. The sides were level on 18 points at the start of play but on the pitch there was nothing close to parity, as goals from Sergio Floccari, Antonio Langella and Cristiano Doni gave the hosts a three-goal lead by half-time. Morris Carrozzieri and Adriano Pinto increased Napoli's misery after the break, with a Roberto Sosa strike sandwiched in between all Napoli had to show for their trip to Bergamo.

Catania beat Palermo in the Sicilian derby in a match which was overshadowed by matters far more important than football. In last season's equivalent fixture between the clubs, policeman Filippo Raciti was killed as he was caught between rival supporters and Italian football came to a halt as a result. Today's match was a more peaceful occasion with Catania prevailing thanks to goals from Giuseppe Mascara, Gionatha Spinesi from the penalty spot and Jorge Martinez. Fabio Caserta scored Palermo's goal to reduce arrears to 2-1 but was promptly sent off in a losing return for Rossonero boss Francesco Guidolin who has replaced the sacked Stefano Colantuono as coach for a fourth spell.

Siena and Lazio shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The side from Rome seized the initiative when Goran Pandev scored midway through the first half but Massimo Maccarone replied in the 32nd minute after a blunder by Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta. Lazio then had the best chances to win it but good fortune was not on their side with Alexandar Kolarov and Fabio Firmani both denied by the post. The result will be of little consolation for both sides, who are struggling in the lower positions in the Serie A standings.

Torino failed to get back to winning ways as they were held to a fourth successive draw in front of an eerily empty Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night. Top scorer Marco Borriello gave Genoa the lead in the 47th minute but Salvatore Lanna drew the hosts level 10 minutes later. There were just 5,000 fans in Turin and all those were cheering on the visitors, with Torino fans boycotting the stadium as a sign of protest against restrictions on supporters.

Alberto Malesani saw his first game in charge of strugglers Empoli end in defeat as Parma opened up a bit of daylight between themselves and the relegation zone. Massimo Paci's first-half strike secured the Gialloblu's first win since October as they somehow managed to keep out a battling Empoli side. Malesani, who won the UEFA Cup at Parma, replaced Luigi Cagni earlier in the week and can count himself unlucky not to see his reign get off to a winning start at his former club.

Cagliari and Livorno both continue to struggle at the wrong end of the table after a goalless draw at the Stadio Sant'Elia. The hosts dominated for most of the game and Livorno will feel somewhat fortunate to have escaped with a point after being outplayed for long periods, especially in the second half. The result means the Sardinians have now gone seven league games without a win and remain in the bottom three, while the visitors are just two places and three points higher.

[Saturday 1 Dec] - [Sunday 2 Dec]

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