10 April 2011


Lecce : Cagliari (H), Genoa (A), Chievo (A), Napoli (H), Bari (A), Lazio (H)

With 34 points and excellent recent form which includes wins over Juventus and Udinese Lecce are almost there.

Sampdoria : Milan (A), Bari (H), Brescia (H), Genoa (H), Palermo (H), Roma (A)

From Champions League to Serie B? Sampdoria's penny pinching president, Riccardo Garrone, has to be blamed for this mess. Sampdoria were a crap side that punched above their weight due to Cassano and Pazzini and of course Del Neri. The team are demoralised and struggle to score. I think they're doomed.

Parma : Inter (H), Udinese (A), Palermo (H), Bologna (A), Juventus (H), Cagliari (A)

The fixture list hasn't been kind to Parma. They're relying on the misfortunes of others. If they're brave they'll go all out against an Inter side that should be mentally and physically exhausted from chasing down four goals against Schalke.

Cesena : Bari (H), Bologna (A), Inter (H), Cagliari (A), Brescia (H), Genoa (A)

With home games against Bari and Brescia, Cesena are masters of their own destiny. If they win those two, they'll stay up.

Brescia : Genoa (A), Milan (H), Sampdoria (A), Catania (H), Cesena (A), Fiorentina (H)

As with Cesena they face direct relegation rivals. Brescia have suddenly become hard to beat with only two defeats, to Lazio and Juve, since January. The problem is turning those draws into wins.

Bari : Forget about it. They're done. Relegation will be confirmed by the end of the month.

JUVENTUS 3 (Rossi 50 og, Matri 63, Toni 83)
GENOA 2 (Bonucci 7 og, Flores 57)

Both teams traded ogs. Antonelli drove a centre into the box, Floro Flores took a touch to control before slamming a low drive in off Storari's right post. A Pepe centre flicked off Toni's heals and landed at Matri's feet, a sharp turn onto his right foot gave him a yard on fat boy Milanetto before he fired inside the right post. Toni held off a defender as he ran onto an Aquilani through ball then flicked the ball wide of Eduardo. Excellent finish. He missed a much easier chance minutes later.

Attendance : 23,137
Assists : n/a, n/a, Antonelli, Toni, Aquilani

BARI 1 (Gazzi 33)
CATANIA 1 (Maxi Lopez 44)

Gazzi headed Bari into the lead from a corner. Maxi Lopez scored a superb equaliser. He waved in and out between two defenders then curled the ball inside the right post. Bergessio should have won it for Catania but missed two absolute sitters. I'm not a fan of Argentinean top heavy Catania but they're almost certainly safe.

Attendance : 15,000
Assists : Rudolf (ck), n/a

NAPOLI 2 (Mascara 30, Hamsik 47 Pen)

Lavezzi flicked on a centre, Viviano scrambled across goal and spilled the ball to the onrushing Mascara, 1-0. It was a bad day for Viviano, he tripped over Lavezzi to concede the penalty. Like Viviano, Di Vaio had an off day. He shot wide with an open goal at his mercy and also missed the target from a couple of yards out.

Attendance : 33,092
Assists : n/a, Lavezzi (won pen)

CAGLIARI 1 (Cossu 22)
BRESCIA 1 (Caracciolo 61)

Astori pumped a longball into the Brescia box, of all people Cossu, who usually makes the bullets, not fire them, capitalised as Arcari was caught yards off his line and Cossu went past him before tapping into an empty net. Eder was shown a second yellow for diving but despite being a man down Brescia rescued a point. Caracciolo headed them level from another superb Diamanti set piece delivery.

Attendance : 10,000
Red Card : Eder 46 (Brescia)
Assists : Astori, Diamanti (fk)

LAZIO 2 (Hernanes 23, Floccari 77)

Hernanes got Lazio's Champions League push back on track with a fantastic goal. He controlled a Brocchi pass on his chest and fired off a shot BETWEEN two defenders which dipped over Mirante in the Parma goal. He made the second goal, against the run of play, with a superb lofted pass. Floccari pulled it down and picked his spot.

If Lazio get into the Champions League it will be Hernanes' last season for the club. He's good enough to grace any team on the planet. Lazio are a striker away from being genuine title contenders. Someone like Giuseppe Rossi would be ideal.

Attendance : 30,000
Assists : Brocchi, Hernanes

PALERMO 2 (Kurtic 5, Pinilla 36)
CESENA 2 (Parolo 92, Giaccherini 96)

Liverani spread the play wide with a fantastic first time pass over the Cesena defence, Balzaretti rolled the ball to the centre circle for Kurtic to score his first Serie A goal in only his second appearance. Balzaretti also made the second. Antonioli made a brilliant save to keep out a Pinilla header, Balzaretti fired the rebound back across goal and the Chilean stabbed over the line. Van Bergen was sent off for going through the back of Pinilla. Parolo beat Sirigu at his near post with a low drive. Palermo wasted two chances on the break to finish off Cesena and paid the price. A longball into the box was headed down by Bogdani then Parolo, Pellegrino flicked it on and as appeals went up for handball against a Palermo player Giaccherini swept first time into the bottom corner and the Palermo bench cleared. Zamparni must have blown a gasket.

Sirigu is not Italy material. He makes far too many mistake. Cagliari's Agazzi is a better goalkeeper and more worthy of the #3 spot (behind Buffon and Viviano).

Attendance : 22,375
Red Card : Van Bergen 74 (Cesena)
Assists : Balzaretti, Balzaretti, n/a, n/a

SAMPDORIA 1 (Maccarone 69)
LECCE 2 (Di Michele 39, Olivera 66)

Palombo got the ball caught in his feet after Sampdoria struggled to clear a corner, Di Michele picked his pocket before thrashing the ball past Curci. Olivera, who counts Sampdoria among his former clubs, had a shot charged down but scored on the rebound. Big Mac Maccarone gave Samp hope when Donati failed to make a routine clearance but Mannini ended it when he earned a second yellow for body checking Jeda.

Attendance : 26,621
Assists : n/a, n/a, Guberti

FIORENTINA 1 (Vargas 80)
MILAN 2 (Seedorf 8, Pato 41)

Ibrahimovic tried to release Seedorf with a reverse pass but the ball was cut out, Pato intercepted and headed down and the Dutchman who hit a rising shot into the top left corner. Lovely finish. Seedorf returned the favour but with only Boruc to beat, Pato shot straight at the former Celtic 'keeper. He wasted another easy chance but made no mistake at the third time of asking after good work by Ibrahimovic and Boateng. Milan should have been 0-4 up early in the second half but Ibrahimovic missed two sitters. He was picked out by a longball, drew out Boruc but shot wide of the target. Then after a one-two with Pato he blazed horribly wide from 6 yards. Shocking miss. Milan then sat back and resorted to longballs, handing the initiative to the hosts. Montolivo stung Abbiati's palms with a first time shot and Vargas scored via a deflection off Gattuso on the rebound. Ibrahimovic, who picked up an earlier booking which ruled him out of next week's game, was shown a straight red for swearing at a linesman. That's a three match ban.

Ibrahimovic won't be back until a daunting trip to the Olimpico to face Roma. I would expect he'll start on the bench. With Pato on fire since dating Barbara Berlusconi (release of fluids) and Inzaghi due imminently Allegri doesn't need him nor will he take the risk on a player who has lost the plot.

Attendance : 32,677
Red Card : Ibrahimovic 87 (Milan)
Assists : Pato, Boateng, n/a

9 April 2011

INTER 2 (Cambiasso 64, Maicon 84)

This was a fairly routine, is hard fought, win for the Nerazzurri. Constant should have given the visitors the lead but failed to connect from six yards. Maicon pulled back a centre and Cambiasso scored via a deflection. Milito was tackled in the box, the ball broke for Maicon who scored a rare tap-in. His goals are usually more spectacular.

Attendance : 61,456
Assists : n/a, n/a

UDINESE 1 (Di Natale 88)
ROMA 2 (Totti 57 Pen, Totti 94)

Pinzi tripped Pizarro to concede the penalty. Corradi flicked on a longball and Di Natale lost Juan to volley Udinese level. In the dying seconds of injury time Riise cut back a throw-in and Totti volleyed a heartbreaking winner into the roof of the net.

Totti became a dressing room cancer under Ranieri, under Montella he's back to being a hero. The result highlights Udinese's lack of depth. Sanchez was injured and in his place Denis started and he in turn he was replaced by Corradi. Two mediocre forwards. Udinese have a very hard run-in though Lazio's form has been poor so they're still in the hunt for fourth place. They'll need to invest big money on a forward if they want to make a mark in the Champions League, should they get there.

Attendance : 25,000
Assists : Pizarro (won pen), Corradi, Riise