AC Milan continued their dominant run last weekend when they visited Genoa. Faced with a mid-week trip to Camp Nou in pursuit of their Champions League ambitions, Milan visited Genoa with the aim of collecting all three points on offer. After his impressive performance last time, Pazzini started the match in place of Balotelli with Niang and El Shaarawy keeping him company on the right and left respectively. The recipient of a Portanova foul, Pazzini limped off within the opening half hour, but not without scoring the first goal of the game.
His shot took a deflection off the underside of the crossbar but his celebration was not greeted well by the home fans. Balotelli replaced him soon and then began the attack of the mohawk-trident of Milan. Bovo made a nuisance of himself time and again throughout the match and his clash with Constant led to the second yellow for the latter. Milan were a man down with about half an hour to go but they managed to hold on to their two-goal lead (second goal courtesy of Balotelli) in the end. The win leaves them closer to second spot with only two points separating them from Napoli.
Udinese hosted Roma at Stadio Friuli in a match where everyone was looking to Totti to increase his already burgeoning goal tally in Serie A. Both the teams had an almost equal share of possession in the opening portions of the match but failed to make any real inroads. Di Natale was his usual self and intent on tormenting Stekelenburg all night. However, the keeper was up to the task and kept out all possible shots. Roma took the lead through Eric Lamela soon afterwards. Brkic pushed a header onto the crossbar and as the ball rebounded off it, Lamela was at hand to knock home the opening goal of the night.
Osvaldo replaced Totti in the second half and within a minute of this substitution, Udinese scored the equalizer through Muriel. His low shot found a way through Stekelenburg’s legs and as he celebrated this 5th goal of the season, Udinese sensed a comeback. Their brief resurgence came to an abrupt halt when Heurtaux was shown was straight red for a dangerous two-footed tackle. A man down, Udinese’s attack slowed down considerably after that while Roma were unable to take advantage of their man advantage.
Napoli’s lackluster run continued as they lost their away game to lowly Chievo. Chievo has been victorious over Napoli in the last three occasions and after a brilliant start to the season, the Napoli wagon seems to be slowly coming to a halt. First half goals from Drame and Thereau put Cheivo ahead in the first half itself while Paloschi’s header hit the bar. Napoli had a chance to come back into the game in the second half, but they really were dealt a huge blow when Cavani missed a penalty. Napoli never really came back after that as Paloschi tried his luck to increase the lead. Their loss leaves Napoli in second place with only two points separating them from third-placed Milan, who are hot on their heels and also a spot in next year’s Champions League.
Napoli’s loss meant that Juventus coulc take it easy against 8th placed Catania in their home match. Throughout the match, Juventus tried long and hard to make their possession count only to be thwarted by a determined Catania side, who are on the lookout of European action next year. Giovinco and Vucinic started the game, leading the Juventus forward line but they performed horribly on the night and were rightfully replaced by Matri and Quagliarella respectively in the second half. Pirlo was the architect of most of Juventus’ attacks but due to the non-performance of the forward line, Juventus failed to score. Giaccherini, who replaced Asamoah in the second half, eventually came to the rescue and his goal hardly a minute from time earned Juventus their 1400th win in Serie A.
Inter were dealt a cruel blow at home when Bologna defeated them by a solitary goal. Plagued with internal turmoil, player bust-ups and also the midweek loss to Tottenham Hotspur, Stramaccioni had a lot to prove in front of the home fans but he flattered to deceive this time too. After a good start to the season, slowly and steadily, Inter are on the decline and Stramaccioni needs to address this sooner rather than later.
The match saw the 600th appearance of Zanetti in the blue and black stripes and while a victory in the match would’ve been a perfect way to honor this legend, the loss left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths. Ex-Rossonero striker Gilardino marked a happy return to San Siro with the only goal of the game in the second half with an amazing volley. Cassano did come on in the second half and even though he was the most creative force in the field, Inter failed to capitalize on their chances. The loss leaves Inter in 5th place with 47 points.
The most amazing action of the weekend came when Parma hosted Torino. Faced with an 8-game winless streak, Parma recovered superbly but not before Torino had taken the lead at the Ennio Tardini. Santana’s goal seemed to wake up Parma and most notably, the ex-Juventus striker, Amauri. Torino had a goal disallowed in the second half as Bianchi’s effort was deemed offside. Amauri scored his first in the 77th minute and Parma sensed that this game was theirs for the taking. Sansone twisted and turned his way through the Torino defence before scoring Parma’s second and from there onwards, it was all Amauri’s show. His second and third goals led to his first-ever Serie A hat trick.
In other action, Fiorentina triumphed over Lazio while Palermo’s loss to Siena saw them at the bottom of the table. Cagliari emerged victorious over Sampdoria which led to 7 teams being separated by only three points.