Juventus reduced the gap at the top from AC Milan to two points as they thrashed Napoli by three goals to nil thanks to an exceptional second half performance. Former Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo was causing all sorts of trouble for the visiting side from Naples as he kept on bombarding their goal with his free kicks,; getting closer with every set play while Napoli kept on committing unnecessary fouls. Borriello came agonizingly close to open the scoring for the night but his header from the center of the box was off target.
Napoli stepped up their play as the match continued but they were handed a cruel blow in the twenty-fifth minute as Maggio had to be substituted after picking up an injury. Both the teams played a very physical game for the rest of the half as Juventus went into the break after picking three yellow cards in the last eight minutes of the half.
The half time team talk seemed to have worked wonders for the Bianconeri as they went into the top gear straight away once the referee started the second half. Conte’s men were paid rich dividends for keeping up their tempo as they scored within the first ten minutes of the second half but from an unlikely source – Bonucci. Vucinic picked up the assist as his shot took a deflection from Bonucci’s left leg catching De Sanctis wrong footed. Napoli steeped up the tempo immediately after conceding but it was the home team who went on to score fifteen minutes from time as Vidal shot one into the top right corner of the Napoli goal. Substitutes Del Piero and Quagliarella caught Napoli napping on a fast break and the later put the result beyond any doubt when he scored his first and Juventus’ third goal for the night in the 83rd minute. The situation got the better of Napoli’s midfielder Zuniga as the Columbian was given his marching orders when he elbowed Chiellini, barely minutes away from the final whistle.
Juventus continued to keep up their unbeaten run in the league and Napoli stay three points behind Lazio in the fourth place as Mazzarri’s men failed to capitalize on the loss suffered by both Lazio and Udinese earlier in the day.
Inter emerges victorious thanks to Diego Milito’s hat trick
Inter managed to scrape through in a nine goal thriller against Genoa ,which brought an end to the Nerazzurri’s two month-long jinx of not having won a single home match in the league.
Having sacked Ranieri earlier in the week after their team’s listless performance against Juventus in the Derby d’Italia, Moratti passed on the reins of Inter to their youth team’s coach Andrea Stramaccioni who had an eventful début to say the least as Inter’s head coach. Four of the nine goals in the match came from penalty kicks (Inter-1, Genoa-3) and besides that, both sides ended the game with a man sent off.
The hosts ran a riot in the first half and were up by three goals in less than forty minutes with the help of a Diego Milito’s brace but Genoa got one back barely seconds before the half time whistle through Morentti who deflected a Sculli’s shot past Julio Cesar.
Sculli was back in action as he earned the first penalty of the match at the stroke of an hour which was calmly converted by Palacio. Zarate restored Inter’s two goal advantage as the match entered its last quarter with a curling shot which sailed past Sebastian Frey.
Inter’s Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar received the marching orders in the 79th minute after he brought down Palacio and in the process gave the second penalty to Genoa. Gilardino scored from the penalty spot, just ten minutes from time.
Genoa would enjoy the one man advantage for only five minutes as Belluschi picked up a red in the 85th minute after fouling Guarin from behind. Inter were awarded a penalty for the tackle which Milito converted, giving him a hat trick for the match. There was one more twist remaining in the match which came in the last-minute of stipulated time. Sculli, involved in the first two goals for the Rossoblu was fouled by Lucio inside the box as Genoa were handed their third penalty for the night. Gilardino stepped up and converted from the spot giving a glimmer of hope for his side for an injury time equalizer. Sadly for Pasquale Marino’s men this would turn out to be the last goal of the match as Inter held on to win the match by the skin of their teeth with a scoreline of 5-4.
Yet another ghost goal comes back to haunt Milan as they are held by a gritty Catania side.
A tiring midweek Champions League game against Barcelona had taken its toll on an already bruised and battered Milan as Allegri’s men were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Catania side at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. The home side dominated the proceedings from the start but it was Milan who struck the first blow as Robinho combined with Ibrahimovic to give the Rossoneri a lead ten minutes from half time. Catania would have restored parity few minutes later itself but Gomez’s shot hit the woodwork giving a lifeline to the shaky Milan backline which looked world-class against Barcelona on Wednesday.
Catania returned with a lot more vigor after the half time forcing Milan to play second fiddle for at least the first fifteen minutes in the second half. The home side needed just those fifteen minutes as Spolli netted in the equalizer past Abbiati from a Gomez set piece couple of minutes before the hour mark.
Controversy struck in the 66th minute when Robinho’s weak left footed shot was cleared off the goal line by Giovanni Marchese. Milan players contested the decision made by the referee Mauro Bergonzi who was certain that the defender had cleared the ball before it completely crossed the line. Later on the ultra slow motion replays suggested that the ball might have just cleared the goal line but to be fair to the referee it indeed looked like a hard call to make as from naked eye it was not certain whether the ball had completely crossed the line or not.
Allegri introduced both El Shaarawy and later Lopez in place of a non-existent Aquilani in the 85th minute but still Milan were just not able to penetrate the defense of the hosts. The last chance of the match felt to Mexes but Catania keeper – Carrizo who was by far the best player on the pitch; made a miraculous save to keep his team in the match. This week’s result means that Milan’s lead over Juventus is cut short to only two points making the race to scudetto even more intense.
Fight for the last podium place intensifies as Roma blasts five past Novara
AS Roma picked up a crucial win over Novara as the newly promoted side look all set to return back to Serie B after just one season in the top flight of Italian football. The Giallorossi scored five different players to demolish the minnows after Caracciolo had given the early lead to the visitors at the Stadio Olimpico inRome. Filho cancelled out the goal by Novara while Osvaldo gave the lad to the home side in the first half itself before Simplicio and Bojan added two more for the Romans within an hour. Novara got one back but Lamela’s last minute strike restored their three goal advantage as Roma closed in on the last European spot after Lazio, Napoli and Udinese all dropped points over the weekend.
Parma picked up a very important win over third placed Lazio and now have some breathing space between themselves and the drop zone. Lazio on the other hand must have been kicking themselves, especially after their arch rivals from across the towns secured a clinical win and have closed in on them.
Floccari was the stand out performer for Parma as his strikes on either side of the half secured a well deserved win for the Gialloblù.
Meanwhile, Udinese suffered a shocking defeat from the hands of Siena after a Mattia Destro’s 70th minute strike secured a hard-fought win for Giuseppe Sannino’s men. Udinese had the lion’s share of possession but Siena keeper – Pegolo came up with an inspiring performance especially in the dying minutes of the match which helped his side to hold on to a priceless win over Udinese.
Allegri blasts Marotta
Milan’s coach Max Allegri was visibly furious after Robinho’s goal was disallowed against Catania and suggested Juventus’s general manager to “shut up” as Marotta continued to complain about the referring errors while according to Allegri it has been Milan who have suffered the most due to shambolic referring decisions in Serie A.