Milan continued to cement their position at the top, as champions Internazionale lost once again. Roma let a two goal lead slip away against Chievo, whereas Juventus ruled supreme over Catania.
Lazio wallop Inter
Inter’s season just goes from bad to worse. It was only last week when their win over Parma suggested that they were out of the hole they found themselves in. Unfortunately, their misery keeps on increasing.
Lazio took this opportunity to go atop the table for a day. It started in the 26th minute when Giuseppe Biava got the opener for Biancoceleste. A header by Hernanes was blocked by Castellazzi, but the ball still headed goal wards. Esteban Cambiasso came to the rescue, only to find his clearance rebounding off the midriff of Biava into the goal. Lazio looked to finish off the game two minutes later with a good counter attack, only to be denied by Zanetti, who earlier had blocked Mauri. Already without Eto’o due to suspension, Inter were pushed further back 8 minutes after the restart when Zarate ran through the Inter defence and lifted the ball over Castellazzi. Mauri missed a sitter in the 57th minute, when he dragged his shot wide after being set up by Floccari. Goran Pandev was able to pull back a goal for the Nerazzurri but it was too little too late for them. Hernanes stamped his authority on the game when he scored the third with a direct free-kick. Although it took a deflection off the wall, the end result leaves Inter 10 points behind table-toppers Milan.
Chievo held at home
Cheivo and Roma both had to cope with extremely difficult playing conditions as the pitch was covered with huge patches of mud and sand. The game started with a 10 minute delay after referee Nicola Rizzoli consulted both the clubs prior to kick-off.
It became more of a game of anticipating where the ball would bounce and how it would come at you than the simple receive-and-pass. The Giallorossi found themselves in front when Fabio Simplicio scored in the 26th minute, effectively juggling the ball, once from Rigoni and then again from Sorrentino. He doubled the lead just before half-time, scoring with his shin in an effort to divert Cassetti’s low cross in off the post. A healthy two-goal lead would give any team satisfaction, but on this night, nothing was certain. Moscardelli scored in the 61st minute when the ball bounced awkwardly in front of Julio Segio. A bizarre incident led to the equalizer. The fourth official ruled that a Roma throw-in has been taken from on the field in the Chievo half. Cheivo took the throw-in, thereby sending the ball up the field where Granoche scored from a header. Roma endured more heartburn when De Rossi got a straight red for his two-footed tackle on Granoche in the 85th minute. In the end, both the teams had to be content with a point apiece.
Milan on top, once again
The Rossoneri continued their fine form since November as they trashed Brescia this weekend.
The game got off to an amazing start when Kevin-Prince Boateng got his first goal for the club in the 4th minute. His left footed shotfrom very close range to the bottom left corner was able to find its way through Matteo Sereni’s legs. An Andrea Caracciolo’s overhead kick was all Brescia could muster, although it was finely saved by Christian Abbiati. Milan doubled their lead when Robinho scored with a left footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner. Ibrahimovic effectively finished off the game in the 30th minute, scoring his 8th goal in the Serie A. He took his time inside the Brescia penalty area, before finally deciding to shoot into the top right-hand corner. Kevin-Prince Boateng’s right footed shot from the center of the box was saved in the 33rd minute. Pirlo and Abate continued to storm Sereni’s goal but they were well wide off the mark. Ronaldinho got some time on the field when he came on in the 70th minute, replacing Ibrahimovic. His off-target shot in the 72nd minute was the closest either side came to scoring, thereafter.
Juventus earn 3 well deserved points
Juventus showed the grit and determination that made them the most successful club in Italian history when they played Catania this weekend. This victory not only took them to 3rd position in the table but also helped them achieve the highest goal-difference (14) along with Milan.
The match started on a competitive note as Catania attacked from the word go. They created two chances inside the first 10 minutes but were unable to capitalize on them when Marco Biagianti shot over the crossbar and Ledesma found the side netting moments later. Juventus finally got hold of the game when Iaquinta beat the offside-trap to pull the ball back to Pepe, who volleyed his effort to put Juventus in front temporarily. Morimoto was able to capitalize on a failed clearance by Fabio Grosso as he equalized in the 37th minute. Quagliarella had his first attempt ruled out, but was able to put the Bianconeri in front just before half-time. His second goal in the 58th minute established Juve’s hold on the game, after they had failed to keep possession early on. Del Piero replaced Quagliarella in the 80th minute, but he missed a glorious chance to kill off the game.
Elsewhere, a brace from Stefano Guberti and a strike from Pazzini saw Sampdoria emerge victorious in a match where Samp shared a lion’s share of possession. They also had as many as 23 shots on goal and completely dominated the match. Hernan Crespo continued his goal-scoring form as his brace was able to settle Parma’s affair with Udinese. The match ended with each team sharing exactly 50% of possession. Bologna was on the road this weekend as they traveled to Cesena. The match ended in favor of Bologna as they won 2-0, the goals coming from Marco Di Vaio and Miguel Britos. A sole strike from Adrian Mutu saw Fiorentina emerge victorious over Cagliari. Lecce lost 1-3 and they remain rooted at the bottom of the table.
Interesting trivia this weekend
1) The highest shots on/off goal this week was 23 (Sampdoria), while the highest shots on goal was 8 (Lazio and AS Roma).
2) Parma had the highest ratio of shots on goal to total shots attempted (5 / 11).
3) A total of 28 goals were scored this weekend.
4) The matches Parma-Udinese and Chievo-Roma saw the teams involved equally share the possession.
5) Eto’o leads the goal scoring pack with 9 goals, even though he did not play this weekend.
6) The team that had the most fouls was Lecce with 20, while the team with the least fouls was Sampdoria with 11.
7) A total of 27 cards were shown, with Cessena, Bologna and Fiorentina being the worst offenders(3 bookings each).