Sunday, 13 April 2008

Serie A Week 33: Sunday Review

Serie A leaders Inter secured a 2-0 win against Fiorentina to remain four points clear of a Roma side that had won 3-1 at Udinese earlier in the day. Elsewhere there were crucial wins for Cagliari and Reggina at the bottom.

Inter won 2-0 against Fiorentina at the San Siro to restore their four-point lead at the Serie A summit on Sunday evening. For 45 minutes, it looked like Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey was going to deny them all three points. But Esteban Cambiasso finally broke the visitors' resistance in the 55th minute and Mario Balotelli capped his second successive start with his second goal in as many games to seal the win seven minutes later. Fiorentina appeared tired after beating PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup on Thursday and Inter took full advantage, pressing them from start to finish and getting a deserved three points for their efforts. The Viola remain four points ahead of AC Milan and Sampdoria in fourth.

Earlier Roma welcomed back talismanic captain Francesco Totti as they claimed a scintillating 3-1 win at Udinese. Antonio Di Natale gave Udinese the lead five minutes into what was to prove an entertaining second half but goals from Mirko Vucinic and Rodrigo Taddei put the Romans in front before Ludovic Giuly's last-gasp strike sealed the victory. But the headlines will be dominated by a spat between Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni and defender Christian Panucci following Udinese's opener.

Reggina climbed off the bottom of Serie A with a 1-0 win over in-form Sampdoria in Reggio Calabria. Franco Brienza scored the only goal of the game after 34 minutes to seal a win which takes them to within a point of safety. The result means Sampdoria miss out on the chance to go above AC Milan and close the gap on fourth-placed Fiorentina. For coach Walter Mazzarri, it was a miserable return to the Stadio Oreste Granillo, where he was in charge between 2004 and 2007.

Genoa staged a second-half onslaught to defeat Torino 3-0. Substitute Marco Di Vaio set the home side on their way to victory in the 51st minute before Marco Borriello doubled their lead 10 minutes later. Giuseppe Sculli added a third and the home side had chances for two or three more against a lacklustre Torino side whose coach Walter Novellino, formerly of Genoa's city rivals Sampdoria, faces an uncertain future. The Turin club are just four points above the relegation zone.

Napoli kept alive their faint European hopes as a 2-0 win over Atalanta lifted them to eighth. A string of fine saves from Ferdinando Coppola frustrated the hosts until Marek Hamsik struck in the 62nd minute - only after Coppola had superbly blocked a Ezequiel Lavezzi shot from close range. Lavezzi then made the points safe three minutes later, despite the complaints of the away defence, after the striker appeared to help the ball into the net with his arm. Victory for Napoli moves them nine points behind sixth-placed Sampdoria and revives their European ambitions, which had seemingly been ended following their 3-0 defeat at lowly Catania last weekend.

Livorno's poor home form continued to haunt them as they slumped to the bottom of the table after losing 2-1 to fellow strugglers Cagliari at the Stadio Armando Picchi. The home side took just two minutes to break the deadlock through Fabio Galante, before Robert Acquafresca equalised shortly after. The Cagliari forward added a second early in the second half to seal three priceless points for the visitors. Livorno, who were not even in the relegation places at the start of play, sank to the bottom by a clear point, and are now two points from safety. With games against Roma, Milan and Atalanta to follow, it will not get any easier. Cagliari, by contrast, move up to 16th.

Relegation battlers Empoli and Parma shared the points after fighting out a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Castellani. Cristiano Lucarelli put the visitors ahead in the eighth minute, before hitting the woodwork shortly after, with Empoli youngster Sebastian Giovinco rescuing the hosts with an excellent solo effort. The result leaves both clubs in a relegation fight, but the visitors have a game in hand.

Defender Simone Loria's late goal handed Siena a valuable 1-1 draw at Lazio. Loria struck two minutes from time to cancel out Massimo Mutarelli's goal on the stroke of half-time. Lazio, who have not lost at the Stadio Olimpico since January 13 when they were defeated 2-1 by Genoa, controlled the game from start to finish but their failure to make the most of their chances cost them dearly. The result sees Lazio climb to 12th in the standings, two points clear of Siena with five games left to play.

[Saturday 12 Apr] - [Sunday 13 Apr]

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