14 December 2008

FIORENTINA 2 (Mutu 56, Gilardino 79)

Having pummelled the Catania goal Fiorentina took an overdue lead thanks to a superb piece of skill from Santana. The winger flicked a ball over Sabato as he turned and sent Kuzmanovic in space down the right, Kuzmanovic pulled back a centre and Mutu slammed a first time shot into the roof of the net. Gilardino plundered another goal after forcing a mistake from two defenders.

Attendance : 18,000
Assists : Kuzmanovic, n/a

GENOA 1 (Sculli 87)
ATALANTA 1 (Floccari 17)

Doni headed a goalkick towards Floccari, he flicked the ball against Greek defender Papastathopoulos who fell in a manner which suggested he was pulled back, he wasn't, Floccari rounded Rubinho and tapped into an empty net. Bellini was sent off for going through the back of Sculli. Milanetto followed him six minutes later. Atalanta midfielder Guarante ran into him, knocking him to the ground, Milanetto retaliated with an up-kick to his balls. Guarante had to be substituted and his replacement, Rivalta, was sent off for chopping down Palladino who was also unable to continue. Atalanta's brutality was justly punished when Sculli headed in the equaliser.

Attendance : 25,000
Red Cards : Bellini 57 (Atalanta), Milanetto 63 (Genoa), Rivalta 70 (Atalanta)
Assists : n/a, Criscito

INTER 4 (Maxwell 3, Stankovic 47, Ibrahimovic 79, Ibrahimovic 88)
CHIEVO 2 (Pellissier 51, Bentivoglio 65)

Stankovic played a ball out wide to Maxwell, with everyone expecting a cross he stepped inside a defender before slamming a shot into the roof of the net. Ibrahimovic nonchalantly touched back a Maicon cross for the onrushing Stankovic to smash first time past Sorrentino. Julio Cesar, who is suddenly playing like Dida, was beaten by a shot from 25 yards. The entire Inter defence were caught ball watching on a centre allowing Bentivoglio to score an unlikely equaliser. Inter's get out of jail card, Ibrahimovic, clawed back the three points. The giant Swede, who stands just shy of 6ft 4in, vaulted off Frey to head his team back into the lead. He scored a second and Inter's fourth with a fantastically violent first time strike.

Looking at this season and beyond Inter's rivals will need to find a player who can match Ibrahimovic's extraordinary consistency at domestic level if they are to wrest the title from the Nerazzurri.

Attendance : 45,000
Red Card : Morero 83 (Chievo)
Assists : Stankovic, Ibrahimovic, Italiano, Mantovani, Maicon, Stankovic

PALERMO 2 (Cassani 30, Simplicio 54)

Palermo defender Cassani scored a fluke goal to give his team the lead, his first time cross looped over Curci before bouncing in off a post. Simplicio forced a mistake from Siena defender Moti, Succi intercepted, vaulted over the defenders challenge and sent a cross into the box which Simplicio turned in with his chest.

The consistently brilliant Simplicio has done enough in his four Serie A seasons to warrant a Brazil call-up.

Attendance : 30,000
Assists : Simplicio, Succi

SAMPDORIA 2 (Bellucci 75 Pen, Padalino 81)

Cassano dived to win a penalty and turned his back to play as Bellucci took the spot kick. Imagine him during a penalty shoot out. Serie A's Casanova pulled down a crossfield pass and rolled a centre to the back post for Padalino to score his first Sampdoria goal.

Attendance : 11,000
Assists : Cassano (won pen), Cassano

ROMA 3 (Totti 39, Perrotta 77, Vucinic 90)
CAGLIARI 2 (Conti 58, Jeda 70)

Totti blasted Roma into the lead with a fantastic left footed strike from the edge of the box. Conti's equaliser was even better. Fini touched on a free kick and the midfielder hit an absolute crackerjack of a shot that rocketing into the top right corner, much to the dismay of his father, Roma legend Bruno Conti who was watching from the stands. Daniele obviously gets his height from his mother's side. Jeda made amends for a shocking miss with a crisp strike from the edge of the box. Totti tried to flick on a Vucinic cross, the ball bounced off a defender and as Marchetti came off his line Perrotta beat him with an overhead kick. Menez forced the winner. His cross wasn't effectively cleared and Vucinic steered a first time shot into the bottom corner. He removed shirt then his shorts, revealing pristine white briefs any mother would be proud of, as he ran towards the crowd to celebrate.

Attendance : 30,000
Assists : Vucinic, Fini (fk), Cossu, n/a, n/a

UDINESE 3 (Di Natale 9, Quagliarella 15, Di Natale 55)
LAZIO 3 (Zarate 60, Diakite 73, Ledesma 84)

Quagliarella began this orgy of goals with a superb reverse pass into Di Natale, he timed his run through Lazio's offside trap to perfection before lobbing over Carrizo. Udinese doubled their lead from a Lazio corner. Del Nero swung the ball out to Dabo, he slipped and his pass to Ledesma was intercepted by Quagliarella, he sent his striker partner clear but having already scored from a Quagliarella pass Di Natale unselfishly returned the favour. Udinese scored a third on the break though Carrizo was entirely to blame for spilling a tame shot, Di Natale made no mistake with the rebound. Zarate began a remarkable comeback with a tap-in after Pandev drew a save from Handanovic. Panic set in among the Udinese defence when Diakite scored with a bullet header from a corner. Following a rash of substitutions Ledesma equalised when he fired a loose ball through a ruck of players.

Attendance : 14,000
Assists : Quagliarella, Di Natale, n/a, n/a, Lichtsteiner, n/a

JUVENTUS 4 (Del Piero 16 Pen, Chiellini 34, Amauri 41, Amauri 69)
MILAN 2 (Pato 32, Ambrosini 56)

Jankulovski fouled Del Piero from behind to concede a penalty as legit as Juve are likely to get. Del Piero finish emphatically to send the normally subdued tifosi into raptures. Ambrosini should have headed in an immediate equaliser but wasted Seedorf's cross. Del Piero lost possession in midfield and Kaladze spread the play out wide to Ronaldinho, Pato volleyed his centre over Manninger. Juve restored their lead two minutes later, Chiellini with a bullet header from a Del Piero corner that took a slight deflection off Ambrosini. Milan were further punished when Jankulovski and Kaladze failed to track Amauri, the Brazilian ran between them and leapt in the air to send a downward header past Abbiati.

Abbiati made a fantastic save down low to his right from Sissoko and at the other end Ambrosini had more luck with his long range shot, the ball took a deflection off Chiellini wrong footing Manninger in the Juve goal. Zambrotta was shown a second yellow for cynically taking out youngster De Ceglie. Juve's muscle combined for the fourth, Amauri played a one-two with Sissoko, headed the ball away from Kaladze then volleying into the bottom left corner. Juve should have scored a fifth but having brilliantly side stepped Ambrosini's red card tackle Del Piero saw his shot cannon off the inside of a post. Substitute Iaquinta missed an equally presentable chance, slashing the ball horribly wide after being sent clear by Del Piero.

When there are such obvious mistakes in tactics and squad selections, as has been the case under Ancelotti domestically for some time, results like this are the only way to force change from the top down. The spectre of Donadoni and Rijkaard looms large over Ancelotti.

Attendance : 24,862
Red Card : Zambrotta 66 (Milan)
Assists : Del Piero (won pen), Ronaldinho, n/a, De Ceglie, n/a, Sissoko

13 December 2008

BOLOGNA 5 (Pratali 48 og, Di Vaio 55, Di Vaio 62, Bernacci 69 Pen, Di Vaio 79 Pen)
TORINO 2 (Barone 7, Britos 53 og)

Walter Novellino's first match as Torino coach started well enough, Barone volleyed them into a 7th minute lead. Bologna, who were lucky to be only a goal down at the start of the second half, equalised when Volpi's cross took a massive deflection off Pratali and looped over Sereni. The jet healed Abate forced an own goal after he burst down Bologna's left and into the box, his centre deflecting in off Britos. Pratali gifted Bologna a second goal, he was slow to react on a corner and his poor attempt at a clearance was returned with interest by Di Vaio. The former Juve hit man showed great pace by outstripping the Toro defence onto Mingazzini's ball over the top to score his second though Sereni was unforgivably beaten at his near post. That mistake was nothing compared to the one he made minutes later. Bernacci chased down Sereni as he was given a back pass, he was tackled as he tried to dummy the striker and Sereni sacked him down to concede a penalty, he should have been sent off. The 24 year old converted to score his first Serie A goal. Pratali completed a rare hat-trick of assists for the opposition by pushing over Bernacci to concede another penalty and earn a red card. Di Vaio completed a hat-trick from the penalty spot.

Attendance : 27,000
Red Card : Pratali 78 (Torino)
Assists : Bianchi, n/a, n/a, Mingazzini's, Bernacci (won pen), Bernacci (won pen)

NAPOLI 3 (Hamsik 11 Pen, Pazienza 43, Denis 65)

As Lavezzi chased down a longball Benussi ran off his line and dived at the ball, he missed and got Lavezzi instead. Pazienza scored within minutes of replacing the injured Hamsik. He used his arm to bring Maggio's overhit cross under control then calmly nutmegged the 'keeper, surprising given he hadn't scored in his previous 130 Serie A appearances. Denis, who was once again woeful in front of goal took one of three 100% chances that came his way when he smashed home a Lavezzi centre.

Attendance : 35,000
Assists : Lavezzi (won pen), Maggio, Lavezzi