AC Milan plunged further into oblivion, while Juventus took one step closer to retaining the Scudetto. We take a look at another entertaining round of action of the Serie A.
Round 28 of the 2013-14 Serie A kicked off with fifth placed Inter visiting the high flyers from Hellas Verona. The hosts, who were without a win in six home games in the lead up to the fixture, lost further ground in the chase for Europa League qualification as Walter Mazzarri’s men ran out comfortable winners on the night courtesy goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Jonathan. But, the action had just begun.
After being knocked out of Europe by a rampaging Atletico Madrid in mid-week, Clarence Seedorf and his Milan went into the game against Parma with not much at stake. But this was a game the Rossoneri had to get three points from, especially after ending up on the losing side in their last three fixtures in all competitions. The Curva Sud gathered around San Siro in protest of a dismal campaign which has seen Milan’s decline touch new lows every other week. However, there was to be little respite as Roberto Donadoni piled up the misery on his former club as his team ran out comfortable winners on the day. Clarence Seedorf just can’t seem to find a break..
Elsewhere, Andrea Pirlo’s moment of magic gave Juventus another three points whereas Fiorentina picked up all three points against Chievo.
AC Milan v/s Parma
Parma have been one of the many rejuvenated forces of Serie A this season. Not having lost a game since November last year, Roberto Donadoni and his men have certainly becoming a reckoning force in the peninsula. With a possibility of Europa League qualification well on the cards, there was much to play for the visitors against a struggling AC Milan at the San Siro.
The travelling support could not have asked for a better start as Christian Abbiati was shown his marching orders just five minutes after kick-off after he brought down Ezequiel Schelotto who was released by Cassano’s through ball. The 31 year old then coolly sent Amelia( who was brought on for Michael Essien) the wrong way, scoring his 10th league goal of the season. The vision of Cassano and the raw pace of Schelotto gave Milan’s back-line plenty to think about as both Mexes and Bonera (the center-back pairing on the day) received cautions for their recklessness.
The second half started in similar fashion as the first with Antonio Cassano finding the back of the net again within the opening ten minutes of the half. Milan needed to respond; and respond quickly.
Adil Rami’s towering header in the 56th minute gave the home side a glimpse of hope. Twenty minutes later, the world was suddenly a better place for the Rossoneri. Mario Balotelli responded to his criticism from the Milan faithful by leveling matters with a well taken penalty. However, the belief was short-lived as Amauri’s flick brought the home side crashing down to reality. The mood around the stadium darkened even more as Jonathan Biabiany’s header put the final nail in Milan’s coffin.
Hellas Verona v/s Internazionale
Though the blue half of Milan isn’t really leagues ahead of the red half, the mood around the Nerazzurri camp is definitely much more lighter and relieved from that of the red half. Internazionale’s season is as good as over, much like their rivals albeit at a higher place in the Serie A Table. Walter Mazzarri’s talk of Champions League next season is definitely not anything more than wishful thinking but he is certainly not ready to give up the ghost. Unbeaten in their last five Serie A fixtures, the visitors took the field at the Marc’Antonio Bentagodi with the aim to the double over their opponents.
Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring in the 13th minute after some good work from Jonathan on the right flank. The Inter rear-guard were not really troubled in the first half with the exception of Luca Toni’s theatrics to earn his side a penalty. The visitors doubled their advantage through Jonathan, who reacted quickest to Rafael’s save from his initial effort. Hernanes almost extended Inter’s lead 12 minutes from time as he fired a shot which just whistled past the post.
The home side had a little flurry towards the end but it was all too late. Inter ran out comfortable winners on the evening.
Genoa v/s Juventus
The Old Lady strolled towards yet another scudetto, their third in as many years as they came out with all three points in a rather lukewarm clash against Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris. Conte’s men were largely un-troubled for the majority of the game except a saved penalty in the 70th minute by Gianluigi Buffon who did not have much to do otherwise. Andrea Pirlo’s moment of magic in the dying embers of the game handed the visitors the victory as they opened up an astounding seventeen point gap at the top albeit having played two games more than second placed Roma.
Conte was without his top goalscorer and talisman, Carlos Tevez who missed out due to injury and was hence replaced by Dani Osvaldo. The Italian was somewhat unlucky to not open the scoring as he found the net twice only to be flagged off-side. Genoa had a golden chance of their own to open the scoring in the 70th minute as they were awarded a penalty. Up-stepped substitute Emmanuel Calaio but his tame effort was easily saved by Gianluigi Buffon.
As the game moved towards its final stages, up stepped Andrea Pirlo to take the free-kick earned by Fabio Quagliarella who was bundled down at the edge of the Juventus penalty box. The veteran midfielder curled in a sublime shot which left Mattia Perin with no chance whatsoever. Though one could see what was coming, the set-piece was of sublime quality.
The Scudetto will find its home in the heart of the Black and White Jersey for one more season in all probability.
David Pizzaro missed a penalty but it wasn’t to have a huge bearing on the result as Fiorentina saw off Chievo Verona at the Artemo Franchi to consolidate fourth spot in the table. Mario Gomez continued to find his feet after a lengthy injury lay-off as he scored in the 89th minute to cap off the evening. Bologna dropped back into the relegation zone as they fell prey to Livorno at the Stade Armando Picchi. The visitors came into the fixture finding themselves two points clear off the bottom three but could not steer clear of danger falling behind courtesy of goals from Marco Benassi and Paulinho.
Sassuolo put in an impressive shift at home against basement side Catania as goals from Antonio Floro Flores and Juventus loanee Simone Zaza aided their hopes of staying in the top flight for another season. Eusebio De Fransesco’s men however lie three points from safety. As for Catania, the writing now is probably on the wall. Lazio came out with a hard fought win against Cagilari courtesy goals from Senad Lulic and Balde Keita. Atalanta continued their rich vein of form as they blew away Sampdoria at home with Giacomo Bonaventura, Carlos Carmona and German Denis all getting on the score-sheet. The loss leaves the visitors marginally above the bottom three whereas Atalanta maintain their position in the top 10.
Third placed Napoli visit Torino whereas Roma play host to Udinese. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Giallorossi can close the gap on leades Juventus and whether Rafa Benitez’ men can consolidate third place and give Roma a run for their money for second place.