Sunday 30 March 2008

Serie A Week 31: Sunday Review

AC Milan have slipped down to sixth in Serie A after they lost at home to Atalanta and rivals Udinese beat Fiorentina. Sampdoria also won to enter the race for the fourth Champions League spot. Elsewhere, there were wins for Genoa, Napoli and Torino.

The game between Juventus and Parma was postponed after a Parma fan was accidentally knocked down and killed by a bus.

Andrea Pirlo saw his late penalty saved as Atalanta deal AC Milan's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League a major blow at the San Siro. The Bergamaschi have failed to find the net in losing their previous four games away from home, but they stunned their hosts with two goals in 10 first-half minutes through Sergio Floccari and Antonio Langella. Paolo Maldini pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining and it looked as though the hosts would recover a point when Massimo Ambrosini won a penalty with two minutes to play. The decision heralded a couple of minutes of chaos, with Alessandro Nesta sent off for dissent, before Pirlo was finally able to take his spot-kick only to see it well saved by Ferdinando Coppola. The defeat saw Carlo Ancelotti's side drop to sixth, four points adrift of fourth-placed Fiorentina, who hold the final Champions League qualifying place.

Udinese secured their third-consecutive victory, 3-1 at home to Fiorentina, to maintain their resurgent charge towards the top four. Gokhan Inler spectacularly gave the hosts a 13th-minute lead, and after Riccardo Montolivo hit the post for Fiorentina, substitute Christian Vieri headed a 63rd-minute equaliser. But Udinese struck twice more as Fiorentina pushed forward, first from an Antonio Di Natale solo strike and then Fabio Quagliarella's close-range rebound. Udinese move past Milan into fifth place, now just three points behind La Viola who have lost three of their last five Serie A matches.

Sampdoria kept their push for European football on track with a 2-0 victory at struggling Empoli. Paolo Sammarco's well taken strike and Lino Marzarotti's own goal had the game wrapped up for the visitors inside the first 20 minutes. The win takes Samp up to seventh in the standings, level on points with sixth-placed Milan, and just four points behind the fourth Champions League spot. The Tuscans remain rooted to the bottom, three points off safety.

Stefano Colantuono got off to a losing start on his return to the Palermo helm as Marek Hamsik's injury-time goal gave Napoli all three points. Last weekend's 3-2 home defeat to Genoa spelled the end of Francesco Guidolin's third spell at the Sicilian club with Colantuono taking his place for his second stint in charge this season. And he looked poised to earn a point on his return after a dominant first-half performance, until Hamsik headed home in the second minute of added time.

Marco Borriello moved clear at the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts with a goal which helped Genoa to a 2-0 win over Reggina. The Italy international netted his 18th goal of the season in the 59th minute before Marco Rossi sealed matters in the final minute of an evenly-contested game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Both sides had chances in a game which swung from end to end and disappointed only through the lack of more goals, although Genoa got all they were looking for to leave Reggina second-from-bottom and two points away from safety.

A second-half winner from David Di Michele earned Torino a welcome win at Catania and heightened the relegation fears for their hosts. It took Gionatha Spinesi just three minutes to give Cagliari the lead at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. The lead lasted just a minute, however, as Amio Diana replied for the visitors before Di Michele's 62nd-minute strike gave them the points. The defeat leaves the Sicilians just outside of the relegation zone on goal difference only with four other sides. Toro are five points above the bottom three.

Livorno lifted themselves back out of the Serie A relegation zone with a goalless draw against Tuscan rivals Siena. Cagliari's surprise point against Roma on Saturday had briefly condemned the Leghorn club to the bottom three but, in an uninspiring game, a stalemate was enough to put them back into 17th place. Francesco Tavano had the best chance of the game after 66 minutes, but Siena stopper Alex Manninger proved equal to it, as he did to everything else Livorno threw at him. While Livorno are outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone, Siena have a seven-point cushion and will realistically be playing for pride for the remainder of the season.

Juventus' home match against Parma was postponed following the death of a visiting fan near a service station outside Turin. The two clubs took the decision following the death of 27-year-old Matteo Bagnaresi, who died after being hit accidently by a coach designated for Juventus supporters. "Juventus and Parma - with the approval of the authorities - decided by mutual agreement to postpone the match as a sign of mourning for the Parma fan who was going to the stadium in Turin," read a joint statement. "As a fatal tragedy had happened both clubs realised that there were not the right conditions to send the teams onto the pitch." The Lega Calcio are yet to reschedule the game.

[Saturday 29 Mar] - [Sunday 30 Mar] - [Wednesday 16 Apr]

1 comment: