Sunday 10 February 2008

Serie A Week 22: Sunday Review

Alberto Paloschi scored with his first Serie A touch as AC Milan overcame Siena to crank up the pressure on Fiorentina. Leaders Inter continued to keep the chasing pack at bay after a 2-0 win at Catania while there were crucial wins for Juventus, Sampdoria, Empoli and Torino.

Milan moved to within two points of fourth-placed Fiorentina courtesy of a narrow home win over Siena. A strike after 65 minutes from 18-year-old Alberto Paloschi - moments after his introduction - means Carlo Ancelotti's team have the opportunity to overtake Fiorentina when they play their game in hand against Livorno on Wednesday. The visitors were reduced to 10 men eight minutes from time when Simone Vergassola saw red.

Inter restored their eight-point lead at the top of Serie A, but they had to work hard for a 2-0 win at Catania. In a period when referees are under close scrutiny, another decision in favour of the Nerazzurri set them on their way to victory. Esteban Cambiasso scored the first goal from what appeared to be an offside position just after the hour mark before David Suazo doubled Inter's lead four minutes later. Referee Stefano Farini endured plenty of barracking before ending the game and heading for the sanctuary of the dressing room before anybody else.

Juventus substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta came off the bench to hit the winning goal against his former club Udinese. Iaquinta had been on the pitch just seconds when he scored with his first touch of the game after 76 minutes. Earlier a Mauro Camoranesi bullet header had levelled matters on the hour mark after Andrea Dossena had put the home side in front with just six minutes played. The defeat makes it one point in four games now for Udinese, and continues their unlucky run against the big sides in recent weeks.

Two late goals gave Sampdoria a 2-0 victory over Napoli to keep the Blucerchiati on course for a place in Europe next season. Goals from Gennaro Delvecchio and Daniele Franceschini inside the space of five minutes earned Walter Mazzarri's side a 2-0 win, and allowed them to move clear of city rivals Genoa a week ahead of the derby.

Ighli Vannucchi's solitary strike handed Empoli three vital points in their fight for Serie A survival as the Tuscan side beat Lazio. The deserved win sees Alberto Malesani's side climb a place to 18th, just one point behind Parma and Siena, and heaps further pressure on Lazio coach Delio Rossi as the Biancocelesti's poor season continues.

Torino's Aimo Diana and substitute David Di Michele conspired to condemn their former club Palermo to defeat at the Stadio Olimpico. The home side had to come from behind to beat the European hopefuls with Amauri having given Palermo a half-time lead with a fantastic solo effort. Diana pulled Toro level just before the hour mark, and then Di Michele struck a goal either side of Amauri's sending-off to haul the hosts further clear of relegation trouble.

A late equaliser from substitute Marco Di Vaio salvaged a point for 10-man Genoa at relegation-threatened Livorno. The home side led for the majority of the game thanks to Francesco Tavano's strike but substitute Di Vaio earned a share of the spoils in the 82nd minute. The hosts will rue conceding late on, particularly after Genoa had Gleison Pinto dos Santos sent off for a second yellow card.

Parma remain perilously close to the relegation zone after only managing a draw against basement side Cagliari. The Gialloblu are just a point and a place away from third-bottom Empoli after two goals in two minutes ensured a stalemate in Sardinia. Jeda gave Cagliari a 34th-minute lead but no sooner had they restarted than Ferreira Reginaldo equalised for the visitors.

[Saturday 9 Feb] - [Sunday 10 Feb]

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