Round 24 of the Serie A saw Napoli cut short Milan’s lead to a mere three points, as the latter were held to a 1-1 draw against Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Meanwhile, their arch rivals Inter Milan leapfrogged Lazio to third position on the table, after coming out victorious in a goal fest at San Siro against Roma, despite a late fight back by Ranieri’s men.
Earlier on Saturday, Matri’s brace against his former club Cagliari helped Juventus to collect three crucial points, which allowed the Bianconeri to stay within touching distance of a place in Europe next season. Matri had put the Turin club in the lead in the first half and then again in the 75th minute, after Acquafresca had maintained parity just after the commencement of the second period. Luca Toni’s header sealed the victory for the away side six minutes from the stipulated ninety minutes. This was his first goal for Juventus and his 100th in the league.
Sampdoria were made to taste defeat at the hands of Udinese, after both their in form strikers Sanchez and Di Natale scored goal apiece in the first forty minutes in the first match of the round. This goal would have meant a lot to Toto (Di Natale), as it was his 100th goal for Udinese in Serie A and 16th of the season.
Milan dropped points yet again this week, as they picked up their fourth draw this year. Pato had put the Rossoneri in front from a simple tap in, but the home side equalized just seconds before the half time whistle through Floro Flores. After receiving a number of favours from Genoa in this year’s transfer market, Milan received no such gifts from them on the pitch, and Allegri’s players didn’t do justice to their talent in the last forty five minutes at all. Cavani is having unarguably his best year in Italian football so far, as the on loan striker netted his 18th goal of the season against Cesena. Jose Sosa’s injury time strike guaranteed three points for the Naples side, who now find themselves breathing down the neck of the Rossoneri. Lazio had to be content with only a single point, as they were held by Chievo to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Hernanes had put the host in the lead at half time via a scorching free kick, but the visitors equalized just a little over an hour mark. A single goal was enough for Bologna to walk away with a win over Catania, who see themselves on the brink of the relegation zone, with just one point keeping them in the safe zone. Brescia took on Bari in the clash of the bottom two teams. Riding on Diamanti’s and Caracciolo strike in either halves, Brescia jumped on to the 18th position on the table with twenty one points, as Cesena suffered a loss against Napoli.
Lecce lost to Palermo in a six goal encounter after being in the lead, not once but twice, in the match. After being named in our team of week last weekend, Lecce’s keeper Rosati went onto become a zero from hero by leaking four goals in a home encounter. Jeda brought the home team back in the lead in the 50th minute after the first half had ended 1-1, but Lecce seemed to have hit the self destruct button near an hour mark, conceding three goals in the space of five minutes. The score sheet read 2-4 at the 62nd minute, and it finished at the same scoreline.
Match of the week: Inter Milan v/s A.S Roma (5-3)
Like Lecce v/s Palermo, the encounter between Inter Milan and A.S Roma also seemed to have been inspired from the goal fest happening in north of Italy, as the ball had to fetched eight times from inside the net by both the goalies involved. The defending champions showed their intent in the very beginning, as Wesley Sneijder scored within three minutes from the edge of the box via an unbelievable volley. Simplicio restored parity from a tap in after just ten minutes after Vucinic had opened up the home side’s defense. Roma then came close to taking the lead, but Julio Cesar made three remarkable reflex saves to keep the Romans off.
Eventually it was Eto’o who took the hosts to the lead once again around the 35th minute, after Risse, who had a terrible game, failed to throw a tackle in at the right time. Inter got a penalty and Roma went a man down at the hour mark, after Pazzini was brought down by Burdiso inside the box. Samuel Eto’o didn’t hesitate to net in the penalty, and provided a two goal cushion to the defending champions. Sneijder later picked up an assist, as Motta scored from his cross to give more breathing space to his team. Vucinic ignited a late come back of sorts for Roma, after he reduced the gap to two with quarter of an hour left to play. It was when Loria had scored with just nine minutes to go, that things got really exciting. An extra man finally came to the aide of Internationale, as Cambiasso scored the fifth goal minutes before the final whistle, which brought an end to a pulsating encounter.
Player of the week: Javier Pastore (Palermo)
Palermo’s President Maurizio Zamparini had stated earlier last week that Pastore is worth 100 million Euros. Now no one really agrees to that price tag for him, but over the the weekend the youngster did prove that he is one of the key reasons behind the club’s success. He was the chief architect for Palermo and played a pivotal role in their win on Sunday. It was his equalizer in the 57th minute which kick-started their comeback in the match, after Lecce had gone ahead for the second time in the match barely five minutes into the second half. The comeback was completed in the 62nd minute after Pastore had set up Ilicic up for Palermo’s fourth goal, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Lecce and halted their four match unbeaten run in the league.
Flop(s) of the week: Risse and Burdiso (Roma)
John Arne Risse never looked confident throughout the match in his left back position. He failed to keep a check on the attacking mid field of Inter, which resulted in home side going ahead within first three minutes. Later, he was unable to mark Eto’o, who scored the second goal for the Nerazzurri.
Former Inter player Nicolas Burdisso got his marching orders in the second half when he made a desperate tackle on Pazzini inside the box, resulting in a penalty for Inter which was easily converted. The one man disadvantage eventually came to haunt the visitors, as Sneijder opened up their defense once again to hand Inter their fourth goal. In the end, it was Inter Milan’s one man advantage which helped them to score their fifth one, as Cambiasso sealed the victory for Leonardo’s men.
Goal of the week: Hernanes (Lazio)
Race for the Golden Boot
Di Natale 16
Udinese 2- 0 Sampdoria
Cagliari 1- 3 Juventus
Genoa 1- 1 Milan
Bologna 1- 0 Catania
Parma 1- 1 Fiorentina
Napoli 2- 0 Cesena
Brescia 2-0 Bari
Lecce 2 – 4 Palermo
Lazio 1- 1 Chievo
Inter 5- 3 Roma
Team of the week: 3-4-3