The weekend Serie A witnessed the continuance of AC Milan at the top of the league, along with comfortable wins for Juventus, Catania and Napoli. The shock of the week came from the Cheivo-Inter Milan match, when Eto’o was filmed headbutting Chievo defender Cesar. 27 goals were scored this weekend; Eto’o emerged as the leading goal scorer with 9 goals, closely followed by Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on 9 and 7 goals respectively.
Roma 2-0 Udinese
AC Milan 1-0 Fiorentina
Genoa 0-2 Juventus
Brescia 1-2 Cagliari
Catania 1-0 Bari
Cesena 1-2 Palermo
Chievo 2-1 Inter Milan
Lecce 2-3 Sampdoria
Parma 1-1 Lazio
Napoli 4-1 Bologna
Milan at the top
League leaders AC Milan continued their run at the top with a fine victory over Fiorentina. With this victory they go 3 points clear off the second place in the table. A solitary strike from in-from Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was enough to settle the game and also set the tune for their midweek Champions League tie with Auxerre.
Milan went on the offensive from the very onset; just after 50 seconds from the start, Bonera had a shot at goal, only to be denied by Boruc. Fiorentina fought back into the game, and D’Agostino’s curled a free-kick which Abbiati managed to fist away. Ljajic and Cerci had their chances on goal, only to be denied by a determined Abbiati, who also kept out a header from Kroldrup. At the stroke of half-time, Ibrahimovic scored from a slightly misjudged overhead kick. Minutes before the end of the match, Per Kroldrup received his marching orders after a second yellow card.
Inter Milan slip once more
The Serie A defending champions suffered their second successive defeat under Rafael Benitez. Chievo began as the more attacking team, and Thereau tested the Inter goal keeper Castellazzi from the edge of the box. The game settled down slowly, and Inter came very close to scoring when Goran Pandev hit the post. Sorrentino was able to keep out Sneijder and Santon’s shots on goal; overall, he had a decent outing under the bars, saving a total of 6 shots. Inter enjoyed a lion’s share of possession, but was unable to convert them into goals. Cheivo opened the scoring in the 28th minute, when Pellisier headed home home Nicolas Frey’s cross.
Inter came out rejuvenated after the break. Both Sneijder and Stankovic came close to opening Inter’s account. Moscardelli doubled Chievo’s lead on the 82th minute, scoring from a Thereau pass. Inter had to wait all the way till injury time, when Eto’o pulled one back with a superb individual effort after going past four Chievo players, but it was too late by then. Inter fell with a resounding thud to a distant 6th place, and even though owner Moratti claims Benitez’s job is not in danger, the writing can be clearly seen on the wall.
Eto’o faces a 2-match ban, after he was filmed headbutting Cesar in the chest in response to the Slovenian’s weak punch. Use of video evidence to ban players is already present in Serie A, as Alberto Gilardino would testify after he was banned for two games previously.
Old Lady cruising along
New coach Davide Ballardini tasted his first defeat as the coach of Genoa, as his side lost 2-0 to the Bianconeri. With this win, Juventus moved up to 3rd position in the table with the best goal difference so far in the league(12).
Genoa was undone first by an own goal by Eduardo in the 18th minute, and then again by Krasic, who dribbled his way past Criscito on the right and shot the ball into the far corner. Luca Toni received an yellow card when he used his hand to score a goal in the 33rd minute. Even though Genoa enjoyed more possession, lady luck deserted them in front of goal.
Lazio muster away draw
Lazio came into this match, hoping to bridge the gap between them and the current table leaders. However, they were left with a tinge of disappointment after being held at the Ennio Tardini stadium.
Former Rossoneri striker Hernan Crespo saw his goal neutralized, when Luca Antonelli scored before the break to bring Lazio back on level terms. The very first chance of the match went to Lazio striker Zarate, who failed to direct his shot. The first goal came in the 23rd minute, when Crespo latched on to a cross from Mariano Angelo to head past Lazio
goalkeeper Muslera. Perfect timing has been Crespo’s USP till date, and he didn’t disappoint here. The home side could have doubled their lead after the half hour mark, when Bojinov struck wide from just 10 yards and then Crespo’s attempt sailed over the bar.
The missed opportunities cost Parma dearly as Lazio equalised on the stroke of half-time. Floccari scored with a powerful header from the six-yard box. . A shot apiece from Candreva and Matuzalem were saved by both the goalies, and the game ended 1-1. With this result, Parma was able to chalk out their 7th point in the last 3 games, and climbed
up to 14th spot in the league.
Jeremy Menez and Marco Borriello scored a goal apice for AS Roma, as they convincingly won 2-0 against Udinese, despite Nicolas Burdisso seeing red in the 81st minute; this victory lifts Roma to the third position. Lecce and Sampdoria fought out an interesting match, which saw each team ending up with exactly 50% possession. Sampdoria were leading 2-0 after twin strikes from Pazzini, only to see their lead being reduced to 2-2 in the 83rd minute. Pazzini was able to score another in the 88th minute, thereby completing his hattrick.
Napoli were in the driver’s seat from the second minute of the match, when Maggio scored with a powerful header. A brace from Hamsik and another goal from Cavani saw Napoli emerge victorious over Bologna, who slipped to 16th position. Cessena and Bari remain glued to the bottom of the table, when they lost their matches 1-2 and 0-1 to Palermo and Catania respectively.
~ Amlan Chaudhury