Serie A Week 36 Round-upBy: Francesco | May 4th, 2008
Week 36 (I incorrectly said it was Week 37 in the preview) turned out to be an interesting week in this last part of the 2007/2008 season. Here’s what happened this weekend:
In the match everyone was looking forward to, the Rossoneri won their first derby in 2 years after playing Inter off the pitch for most of the match. Inter looked sluggish and out of sorts, and one has to question Mancini’s decision to start a very off form Crespo instead of a very in form Balotelli. Milan had big games from Nesta, Ambrosini, Kaka, and SuperPippo Inzaghi. Inzaghi scored his 9 goal in his last 5 games, and this is the first time Inzaghi has ever scored in 5 consecutive games in his whole career. He is really making a late push for the Euro 2008 squad. The most important thing about this win was that Milan surpassed Fiorentina in the table and now hold qualifying for the Champions League in their own hands. Inter’s loss meant that their Scudetto party was postponed to next week vs. Siena, and if they drop points there Roma may mount a serious challenge to take the Scudetto.
Livorno look all set for Serie B after falling to Atalanta 3-2. The Bergamo club took the lead after a nice Cristiano Doni chip (Doni is now the top scorer for Atalanta in Serie A of all time). Brazilian winger Ferreira Pinto made it 2-0 after dribbling outside the box and then taking a low shot which should of been saved by Marco Amelia but he let it slip through his hands. Livorno then mounted a comeback. Fausto Rossini scored an easy tap in to make it 2-1, and Simone Pavan made it 2-2 after he headed in a cross by Alessandro Diamanti. In the last minute of the game, a long goal kick was played to ex-U21 star Simone Padoin, who lobbed Amelia from outside the box to give Atalanta the three points and virtually condemning Livorno to Serie B.
Fiorentina had a bad week which could ultimately define their season. First came the loss in the UEFA Cup semi-final to Rangers. Everyone expected them to focus harder on reaching 4th place, but that seems to be on the rocks as well. Cagliari, who has been excellent at home under Ballardini, defeated La Viola 2-1 at the Sant’ Elia. Cagliari took the lead through a Jeda header, and double their lead after Matri rolled the ball across the goal for Daniele Conti to tap in. Fiorentina got one back through Santana, but couldn’t turn the result around. In stoppage time Mutu got sent off for dissent, and now Fiorentina won’t have their most influential player for their next game. Fiorentina is now 1 point behind Milan and has to win their remaining games and hope Milan slips up. Cagliari are now pretty much safe and really turned the season around and look forward to another year in Serie A.
Reggina win an important game against a fellow relegation contender. The side from Calabria really needed these three points and are on the right road towards salvation. Reggina took the lead through Nick Amoruso, who headed home a Francesco Cozza cross. They doubled the lead in the 90th through Amoruso again, this time on a penalty. Catania scored a consolation in stoppage time as Martinez had an easy tap in. Catania need to pick up some points in these last to games to be assured of safety.
Empoli lose a game at home where they had to get a result, and are now in danger of dropping to Serie B. Udinese on the other hand, collected a crucial win which saw the Friuliani surpass Sampdoria in the table and temporarily hold on to the UEFA Cup spot. The goal was due to a huge goalkeeping error. Fabio Quagliarella took a shot on the volley from 25 yards out, and it looked like it would be a routine save. However Daniele Balli dove and let the ball pass through his legs and into the net. Sebastian Giovinco missed a penalty which he had one (it was dubious to begin with), and the little fantasista hit the post in stoppage time after going on a slalom run.
Lazio’s disappointing season continues, while Amauri goes from zero to hero for Palermo. Lazio took the lead through a Goran Pandev penalty. Palermo were then awarded a penalty, but Amauri had his shot saved by young keeper Fernando Muslera (is that the first save he made all season?). Palermo came back late in the game. First Amauri headed in one Fabrizio Miccoli free kick. Then Amauri headed in another Fabrizio Miccoli free kick. (although on the second one Muslera was more than a little shaky)
Parma obtained a crucial win at the Tardini today against a Genoa side which is already safe and playing for nothing in this late part of the season. It was a scrappy game, and the goal came when Lucarelli initially headed a Reginaldo cross onto the crossbar, but it came back to him and he tried for a second time, this time heading the ball into the net. Parma needed this win, but they are still in the relegation zone and need to pick up points vs. Fiorentina and Inter.
This was “a tale of two halves”. In the first half, Antonio Cassano an Co. played Roma off the park, dominating at every inch of the pitch. They hit the bar twice and Doni was the only reason the game wasn’t 4-0 or 5-0 at the half. In the second half, the Giallorossi turned it around, and they dominated the whole second half. The only difference is that they turned their domination into a result. Roma scored three goals in 10 minutes to close out the game. Christian Panucci, a Genoa fan, scored against his hated rivals to give Roma a 1-0 lead. David Pizarro then made it 2-0 with a shot from outside the area beating Mirante. Cicinho then closed the game with the third goal, an easy tap in with the assist from Vucinic. Inter lost, so now Roma go to 3 points behind Inter, and all Roma fans are now Siena and Parma fans in these last two weeks of the season.
Siena won their first ever match vs Juventus in their history today 1-0. Juventus, already assured of finishing 3rd and with no chance of reaching 2nd, really is not playing for anything and didn’t put in a great performance. Siena took the lead in the 7th minute after Kharja lobbed Buffon from the top of the box. Juventus really didn’t create anything and now Siena have officially saved themselves from relegation. Berretta has the Tuscans playing excellent football, and I don’t understand why the club is thinking of hiring someone new for next season.
Report. Highlights. Player Ratings.
Torino is on the way to salvation after defeating Napoli at home 2-1. The Granata took the lead in the 27th minute through captain Alessandro Rosina, who slotted home a contested penalty kick. Napoli came back in the second half after Matteo Contini slammed home a ball from close range, but two minutes later David Di Michele put Toro ahead after receiving a pass and then calmly slotting home past debutant keeper Nicolas Navarro.
So, the Serie A Table now looks like this going into the last two weeks:
—–^ Champions League————
——-^ UEFA Cup—————————
——–^ Intertoto Cup—————————
*Currently, only the 5th and 6th placed sides get UEFA Cup qualification. However, if the Coppa Italia final is Inter-Roma, then the the 7th placed side would also get UEFA Cup qualification. It all depends if Inter defeats Lazio in the semi-final or not.
If you don’t want to watch all the highlights, here’s the video with all the goals from the 36th round: