Football FanCast columnist Scot Munroe reflects on the weekend action from Serie A.
Could it get any worse for Juventus, up steps Catania to add to the woes and potentially put a final nail in the coffin of Ciro Ferrara’s reign as Juventus manager? On the last game off 2009 and the last game before the winter break, they just crumbled at home to lowly Catania. Juventus started the game without Gigi Buffon, Momo Sissoko, Giorgio Chiellini, Vicenzo Iaqunita and Mauro Camoranesi, also the suspended Christian Poulsen. Before the game kicked off the home team bus was pelted by eggs as it arrived at the Olimpico. Juve fans demonstrated at the beginning of the game as they turned their backs in protest due to the awful performances since the Inter win. Catania started the better team with Taka Morimoto causing Nicola Legrottagile problems with a penalty claim, which was dismissed by the referee. The home side did give away a foolish penalty as Tiago Mendes brought down Spolli Jorge Martinez who duly tucked away the penalty before the referee had already blown for encroachment. Cue Frank Lampard against West Ham, Martinez netted the 2nd attempt off the spot kick with such accuracy Manninger had no chance. Thirty-two minutes into the game and lacking confidence Felipe Melo was substituted and replaced by Hasan Salihamidzic. Juventus fans clearly not happy and hanging banners ‘Andrea Agnelli for President.’ Silvestre blocked a Fabio Grosso tap in and with his back to goal, Amauri picked up the ball from Diego and shot wide just wide of the near post. Catania threatened again thanks to Morimota, as he fired off target on where he should have squared it to a teammate. Twenty minutes into the second half Juventus got the goal that Ferrara wanted as the substitute Salihamidzic placed a perfect half-volley from nine yards out past Andujar. Ferrara chucked on Del Piero and Giovinco for Amauri and Tiago to get the result. Trezeguet was in the wars after clashing with Andujar he had a chance to put Juventus 2-1 ahead but spurned the chance and had a dizzy spell and collapsed again. Juventus was caught out on the counter attack four minutes from the end as Plasmati placed a defence splitting pass and Mariano Izco was able to lift the ball over Alex Manninger and succumb Juventus to another defeat.
Inter Milan stretched the lead at the top of the table in Serie A to eight points thanks to a 1-0 win over Lazio. Samuel Eto’o scored the only goal of the game after fourteen minutes thanks to a Dejan Stankovic cross to the back post and Eto’o header was saved by Muslera but nothing could be done to prevent the follow up. Lazio always threatened during the game with Rocchi, Lucio and Ivan Cordoba all going close. Kolarov had another chance to equalise but sent his screaming left foot drive across the face of goal, while in the dying embers of the game former Inter striker Cruz had a chance to make it all square but drilled his effort wide from distance. Lazio have had a lot of problems with scoring goals this season and this performance proved it.
It was 5th versus 4th at the Olimpico as Roma took on Parma. Roma clearly took the game to Parma and won the game 2-0. Ranieri fielded the 4-2-3-1 formation which suits Roma style of fast paced, one touch football. The 1st half was all Roma they peppered the Parma goal with Mirante pulling off some wonderful save. Juan was the first one to take aim at the Parma goal with his weak header easily dealt with by Mirante. Matteo Brighi stung the hands of Mirante on the half hour when his effort was tipped over the bar. After half time the deadlock was broken by an unlikely scorer when Nicholas Burdisso scored from David Pizarro’s corner. Francesco Totti nearly made it 2-0 moments later his right-foot chip was palmed away and again he was frustrated by Mirante when he was denied again when a 25 yard effort was tipped on to the post. Stefano Okaka replaced Totti who took a knock on his knee and then Okaka picked up a hamstring injury and then was replaced by the beast Julio Baptista. Baptista impressed and was denied by Mirante when he unleashed an effort from outside of the area and Mirante acrobatically tipped over the bar. Parma was reduced to 10 men late into the 2nd half as Paci was dismissed for two yellow cards. Roma took advantage into stoppage time as Brighi made it 2-0 with a curling effort from inside of the area, thanks to a Mirko Vucinic assist.
Livorno made it two wins in the last two weeks as they beat Sampdoria 3-1 at the Stadio Picchi. The Lithuanian Tomas Danilevicius was the star for Livorno. Sampdoria took the lead fifteen minutes into the game thanks to Italy outcast Antonio Cassano’s magnificent solo effort. Nelson Rivas equalised for Livorno after thirty-eight minutes when he met a Candreva set-piece and Rivas headed home from six yards out. Danilevicius made it 2-1 to Livorno straight after the break when he swept home a Raimondi knock down from 6 yards out. Marius Stankevicius foolishly got sent off for Sampdoria for two yellows and as Sampdoria was looking forward for the equaliser they found themselves 3-1 down deep into stoppage time as Danilevicius unmarked six yards out to hammer the ball into the top corner.
Napoli beat Chievo 2-0 at the Stadio San Paolo. Marik Hamsik and Fabio Quagliarella netted the goals for the home side as they saw off a very plucky Chievo. Marik Hamsik opened the scoring after seven minutes when Sorrentino fouled German Denis and up stepped Hamsik who sent the goal keeper the wrong way for his 8th goal of the season. Fabio Quagliarella added the 2nd goal of the game for the home side with four minutes remaining as Quagliarella sprung the offside trap placed a left footed drive into the bottom corner.
Palermo beat Siena 1-0 at the Stadio Barbera, thanks to Uruguayan striker Edison Cavani. The goal came five minutes before half time as Federico Balzaretti crossed from the left and Cavani to flick in at the near post with the outside of his boot.
Sadly 4 games were called off due to the weather. Games called off
Bologna v Atalanta
Fiorentina v AC Milan
Genoa v Parma
Udinese v Cagliari