The weekend Serie A action was filled with a few intriguing results, that have affected the league table as we enter the business end of the season. The round kicked off with Bologna’s visit to the Stadio Olimpico stadium in Turin to face a Juventus side which had come off a disappointing defeat against Lecce. The Bianconeri’s inability to overcome smaller teams in the league table was on display agin, as they succumbed to 2-0 defeat to the Rossoblu. This was Bologna’s first victory against Juventus away from home in 30 years, casting doubts over Del Neri’s future; Marco Di Vaio bagged a brace against his former side, who failed to convert the chances they had. The Bianconeri now remains 7 points behind Lazio in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
Defending Champions Inter leapfrogged Napoli into second place with a vital away win against Sampdoria. The Nerazzurri never looked troubled, and took the lead in the 73rd minute through a stunning Wesley Sneijder free-kick. Samuel Eto’o then put the game beyond any doubt in stoppage time, slotting home past Gianluca Curci to take his tally to 16 goals in the league this season. Inter now have Milan in their sights, as they are five points adrift of the Rossoneri, while Sampdoria are in 14th place in the league table with 31 points.
Vincenzo Montella’s second game in charge of Roma ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Parma. Francesco Totti opened the scoring for the Giallorossi through a well-taken penalty, and Juan extended Roma’s lead after some teribble defending by Parma. However, Parma provided an amazing comeback in the second half. Former Juve striker Amauri got his name on the score-sheet through a brilliant back heel in the 74th minute. Five minutes later, he brought back Parma on level terms after some horrible defending by Roma. Parma ended the game with 10 men on the field, as Massimo Paci was sent off towards the end of the game. Roma remain in the race for a Champions League position, currently five points behind city rivals Lazio, while Parma are three points above the drop zone at 16th position.
Game of the Week
Palermo 0-7 Udinese
There were goals galore in the Renzo Barbera stadium on Sunday night. Udinese continued their rich vein of form when they humiliated Palermo 7-0 in Sicily, handing the Rosanero their worst ever Serie A home defeat. The Bianconeri, who are dubbed as the Italian Barcelona for their free-flowing attacking football, lived up to their name with a sound thrashing of a hapless Palermo outfit. Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Di Natale were the stars of the night, netting four and three goals respectively. Udinese hit the back of the net five times before the half time break, which also saw Palermo’s Armin Bacinovic sent off with two yellow cards. Matteo Darmain was also given his marching orders in the second half for a professional foul on Armero.
Antonio Di Natale opened the scoring with a glancing header from Pablo Armero’s accurate delivery in the 10th minute. Sanchez then doubled Udinese’s lead in the 19th minute, after a goal mouth scramble which saw Palermo fail to clear the ball. Sanchez then scored his second of the night in a blistering counter-attacking move, as he combined brilliantly with Di Natale to go clear on goal, before calmly rounding goalkeeper Sirigu to slot home into an open net in the 28th minute. Di Natale scored his second goal, after a fumble by Sirigu left him with an easy tap-in. Alexis Sanchez got his well-deserved hat-trick, after some poor defending by Palermo left him with acres of space to run into; he unleashed a powerful low shot past the Sirigu to score Udinese’s fifth. In the second half, the pacy Chilean scored his fourth goal with the outside of his right foot in the 49th minute, capitalizing on a mistake by Sirigu. Di Natale then completed the rout, as he comfortably beat Sirigu from the spot to get his hat-trick and Udinese’s seventh. Palermo manager Delio Rossi has been sacked after the result, and is replaced by Serse Cosmi.
Serie A Player of the Week
Alexis Sanchez (Udinese)
It is of little wonder that Alexis Sanchez is one of the most sought after players in Europe. Against Palermo, he provided another excellent display, scoring four goals in the game and exhibiting brilliant skills all the while. The young Chilean international again proved why he is so highly-rated,and his partnership with Di Natale was lethal throughout the game. He managed to score more goals in 50 minutes of football than any other Serie A side during the weekend, and also received a standing ovation by the Palermo supporters when he was substituted. As Udinese continue their march towards the fourth spot, Sanchez will have a significant role to play in. There is little doubt that Sanchez is one of the best, if not the best, young players in Europe at the moment, and will have many clubs vying for his signature come the summer transfer window.
Goal of the Week
Amauri vs Roma
Flop of the Week
Two losses against two teams, whom you would expect Juventus to overcome with consummate ease, puts Juventus in a tough position in their quest for a Champions League spot. The Bianconeri have underperformed post winter break, after finishing 2010 on a high. Juve were unable to convert the chances they created for themselves, and were poor defensively against Bologna. If they are to qualify for the Champions League next season, they will have to see through a grueling few weeks, and anymore slip ups will cost them dear. They now face a Milan side brimming with confidence on Saturday night, in a bid to rescue their season and give their fans something to smile about.
Race for the Capocannoniere: