19 May 2013


Attendance : 21,000
Assists : n/a

CAGLIARI 1 (Dessena 75)

Petkovic has done a remarkable job in his first season in Serie A with, as usual, very limited resources. Lazio's chairman is notoriously cheap and Lazio's youth team hasn't produced anyone of note since Nesta. It's hard to see Lazio rising above their usual flirting with Champions League football before tanking in the second half of the season.

Attendance : 4,000
Assist : Cossu (fk)

INTER 2 (Juan Jesus 12, Rocchi 64)
UDINESE 5 (Pinzi 50 seconds, Domizzi 10, Di Natale 41, Silva 52, Muriel 66)

Juan got a through ball tangled in his feet and Pinzi pounced to begin another highly embarrassing day for Inter. Basta headed a Di Natale free kick across goal and Domizzi headed in at the back post. Ironically Juan Jesus scored a carbon copy of Pinzi's goal, shooting past Brkic after Guarin got the ball tangled in his feet. Di Natale spun around onto Gabriel Silva's back heel before curling a shot inside the right post. Absolutely brilliant goal. Muriel released Silva on the overlap and the defender showed great composure to lob over Handanovic and score his first Serie A goal. Rocchi poked home a Palacio centre. Muriel bulldozed his way through Juan Jesus and Nagatomo to chase down a ball and as Nagatomo got into a mix-up with Handanovic he tapped in his 10th goal of 2013 and 11th of the season.

From Champions of Europe to Serie A laughing stock. Inter have returned to the abject failure that has characterised much of the Moratti era. This team have no plan, no identify and without the allure of Champions League football face an awfully difficult rebuilding job. Stramaccioni hasn't been helped by injuries and a poorly assembled squad but given he won the inaugural Champions League for U21s his failure to bring through any of the clubs youngsters is inexcusable.

Udinese have put together a strong run in the second half of the campaign with Di Natale once against incredibly breaking the 20+ goal mark. Muriel, one of the most talented youngsters in the World, could and should have joined him had he not tossed away the first half of the season by turning up overweight but nevertheless now there can be no dispute that he was a one season wonder and when he leaves Udinese for a bigger club he's going to become a superstar. My namesake Mehdi Benatia has established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A and the player most likely to be cashed in by Udinese's money grabbing president.

Attendance : 46,000
Assists : n/a, Basta, Guarin, Silva, Muriel, Palacio, Pinzi

PALERMO 1 (Miccoli 75)
PARMA 3 (Gobbi 38, Valdes 41, Belfodil 46)

In a first half dominated by the hosts Gobbi scored one of the goals of the season. Ampuero touched a free kick to Valdes, he hit an inswinging cross, Gobbi arrived out of picture and caught the ball with a stunning left foot volley that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. Belfodil launched a counter attack and played in Valdes, he checked inside Paletta as he dived in with a sliding tackle, he touched the ball past von Bergen as he tried to make a challenge then curled a shot into the top left corner. Brilliant goal. Another counter attack finished off Palermo. Belfodil ran in between two defenders and with a great first touch pushed the ball past Aronica then blasted a shot into the right corner. Not to be outdone Miccoli scored with a brilliant free kick. Four high quality goals.

Attendance : 18,000
Assists : Valdes, Belfodil, Amauri, Miccoli (won fk)

PESCARA 1 (Vittiglio 77)
FIORENTINA 5 (Ljajic 16, Ljajic 24, Fernandez 28, Jovetic 54, Ljajic 59)

Valero danced on the ball, saw Cuadrado making a run on the overlap, passed, Cuadrado pulled back a centre and Ljajic tapped in at the back post. With a lovely first touch Ljajic took a pass inside two defenders before shooting under Perin. Fernandez blasted in the third from the edge of the box. Jovetic pounced on a fortuitous bounce to score the fifth and Ljajic completed his first career hat-trick when he beat Pescara's offside trap onto Jovetic's through ball. Lupatelli parried Togni's free kick and 19 year old Pescara born defender Marco Vittiglio tapped in the rebound to score his first Serie A goal.

Rookie coach Montella has done a remarkable job in taking his exciting, young Fiorentina side to within ten minutes of the Champions League in his second season as coach. All the more impressive when you take into account the absences of the clubs star player Jovetic, who is expected to leave at the end of the season. Given the strength of Fiorentina's scouting they should be able to find a replacement. Giuseppe Rossi, who returned following an 18 month lay-off, has never convinced me at the highest level.

Attendance : 7,640
Assists : Cuadrado, Fernandez, Valero, Fernandez, Jovetic, n/a

ROMA 2 (Marquinho 47, Destro 58)
NAPOLI 1 (Cavani 84)

Marquinho leapt into the air as he ran onto a loose ball and thundered it past Rosati. Destro, who missed two chances from six yards in the first half, spun away from Rolando as he dived in with a tackle but once again finished horribly but fortunately for him Rosati failed to hold. Lobont flew off his line and punched a Napoli free kick against Castan and Cavani tapped in the rebound.

Roma embarked on another misguided project by hiring the fraud Zeman and to one's surprise it ended in disaster with Roma's amateur hour defending at the heart of some incredible collapses. If Allegri is confirmed as their next coach Roma will be title contenders proving their strengthen their one weak area - defence.

Big game bottler Mazzarri has resigned having taken Napoli as far as he can. Napoli remain one of the most exciting teams in the league but if they are to take the next step and actually win the scudetto they need more to their game than simply counter attacking especially if, as expected, Cavani leaves.

Attendance : 41,000
Assists : n/a, Lamela, n/a

SIENA 1 (Terzi 25)
MILAN 2 (Balotelli 84 Pen, Mexes 87)

Zapata got caught ball watching as Terzi pulled off his shoulder to head in a free kick. Ambrosini was sent off for a dangerous two footed foul on Calello. Terlizzi followed him two minutes later for a studs up challenge. In both cases their victims brushed off the fouls without a fuss which is refreshing to see. Felipe briefly yanked at Balotelli's shirt so he went down to win the equalising penalty and Mexes scored the goal that took Milan into the Champions League. He trapped a Montolivo cross on his chest and blasted a shot at Pegolo, he caught the ball but couldn't hold it and the Frenchman tapped in the rebound.

While Milan potentially have the best young forward line in Europe replacing Allegri, which has been strongly rumoured over the past month, could be one of the most stupid decisions of the Berlusconi era. To take this Milan team into the Champions League, given all the changes over the summer and inadequate replacements, is a staggering achievement.

Attendance : 19,952
Red Cards : Ambrosini 68 (Milan), Terlizzi 70 (Siena), Iachini 83 (Siena Coach)
Assists : Rosina, Balotelli (won pen), n/a

TORINO 2 (Cerci 53, Bianchi 84)
CATANIA 2 (Almiron 25, Bergessio 62)

Castro beat Torino's offside trap and pulled back a centre for Almiron. Cerci, who has been linked with everyone, tapped in the equaliser following some neat approach play. In fighting with Gomez for possession, Ogbonna ran into a team-mate and the ball broke for Bergessio who whipped a high shot up and over Coppola. Brilliant finish. Cerci dribbled in from the right flank before laying up the equaliser for Bianchi.

Attendance : 15,000
Assists : Castro, Brighi, n/a, Cerci

18 May 2013

SAMPDORIA 3 (Eder 31 Pen, De Silvestri 57, Icardi 75)
JUVENTUS 2 (Quagliarella 25, Giaccherini 91)

Sampdoria's reserve goalkeeper Da Costa was beaten by an awful shot. Gervasoni awarded Sampdoria a ridiculous penalty for no reason whatsoever. De Silvestri headed Sampdoria into the lead from a corner and Icardi tapped in at the back post from a counter attack. Giaccherini hammered in a late consolation goal but Sampdoria held on to become the first Italian side to do the double over Juventus.

Champions Juventus made a precession of defending their title largely due to a lack of challengers. Although neither Pirlo or the rest of the team were anywhere near as impressive with the added rigours of European football. Once again Juventus are chasing a crack centre forward to take them to the next level in Europe though I would suggest Conte's small team mentality had more to do with their anaemic displays against Bayern than the lack of a world class striker.

Attendance : 25,790
Assists : Pirlo, Icardi (won pen), Estigarribia, Estigarribia, Lichtsteiner

ATALANTA 2 (Stendardo 7, Giorgi 84)
CHIEVO 2 (Thereau 76, Thereau 93)

Stendardo headed Atalanta into the lead after Chievo failed to clear a corner. Thereau beat Polito at his near post from a ridiculous angle, shotting through his legs into the bottom right corner. Giorgi trapped a poor clearance on his chest before rifling past Squizzi. Atalanta goalkeeper Polito fought in traffic to get a loose ball but he dropped it as he collided with a team-mate and Thereau scored his 11th of the season with a tap in.

Thereau is one of the best kept secrets in Serie A. He was excellent last season and even better this. Had he found this form 2-3 years ago he'd already be at a bigger club but at 30 that ship may have sailed.

Attendance : 15,000
Assists : n/a, Stoian, n/a, n/a