Serie A: Juventus Extends Lead to 3 Points!
Well another weekend has past in the Serie A and it is one step closer to the Scudetto for Juventus. The fixture with rivals AS Roma could not have gone any better for the Old Lady of Italian Football as she ran rampant all over the Giallorossi winning with authority, 4-0. Within 8 minutes, Chilean star Arturo Vidal unleashed two powerful strikes that Roma ‘keeper Maarten Stekelenburg had no chance stopping. At this point, it was all Juve – pure dominance from beginning to end. Andrea Pirlo added the third off a rebound from a saved spot kick while Claudio Marchisio popped in the fourth in the second half. Juventus remain unbeaten in 33 matches dating back to the final game of last season. Roma now fall five points off the final Champions League spot.
AC Milan took on Bologna at the San Siro with the objective to keep Juventus under pressure. However, it was Bologna who took the lead on 26 minutes when Rossonero midfielder Mark Van Bommel coughed up the ball in the middle of the park for a Rossoblu counter attack that ended with Uruguayan International Gaston Ramirez to slide in for the 1-0 lead. In the second half, the Diavoli fought back and will feel hard done by as there was a controversy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic sprang the offside trap and lobbed a precise ball over Agliardi – the Bologna ‘keeper – only for Bologna defender Cherubin to clear off the line. However, the play was stopped early for an incorrect offside. Video replays show that the ball crossed the line entirely as well. The Rossoneri are now three points behind the Old Lady in the race for the title: Juventus 71, Milan 68 with 5 games remaining.
Genoa was slaughtered at home against Siena 4-1. In the second half after the fourth goal was scored, the Ultras rioted and protested against the Genoa players. The games was stopped for 40 minutes as the leader of the Ultras demanded Malesani’s men to surrender their jerseys as the players were deemed ‘unworthy’ of the clubs colours. Genoa captain Marco Rossi gave into the demands as he collected all the shirts while Genoa winger Giuseppe Sculli confronted the Ultras informing them that the side has been and will do everything they can to remain in Serie A. The game was allowed to continue at this point. Italian Players’ Association president, Damiano Tommasi and FIGC president Giancarlo Abete deem the situation as unacceptable. It is confirmed today that the Genoa Ultras have been dealt a five-year ban from Genoa home games.
Other results: Catania 2-0 Atalanta; Cesena 2-2 Palermo; Chievo 0-0 Udinese; Fiorentina 0-0 Inter; Lazio 1-1 Lecce; Napoli 2-0 Novara; Parma 3-0 Cagliari.
Preview of Week 33
Week 33 will be recovered in midweek due to the on-pitch death of Piermario Morosini.
Five matches remaining in the Serie A: three points separating the title contenders, three teams fighting for the third and final Champions League spot, and six teams tussling to survive relegation. This is what the Italian League is all about!
Week 33 starts off at the San Siro where AC Milan welcomes Genoa. The Rossoneri will aim to continue to put Juventus under pressure as a win here will temporarily tie the men in black and red stripes to first place with Juventus who have the advantage due to a better head-to-head record. Genoa occupies the fourth relegation spot and will hope to provide stiff competition for their counterparts as the Grifone continue their battle for safety.
The other Saturday game has Udinese hosting Inter. A lot is at stake here for these two sides as both clubs are in a battle for a third spot finish, currently held by Lazio. With both in need of the three points, this is promising to be an exciting affair to view. Udinese has only lost one game in their stadium, which came at the hands of Milan. Inter has been very inconsistent this year, but new and young head coach, Andrea Stramaccioni will want to prove that he can handle the Inter hot seat with a Nerazzurri resurgence.
Inter and Udinese will have an eye on the Lazio and Novara game. The Biancocelesti are under real pressure battling desperately to hold third place. Novara will most likely be relegated back to Serie B.
Lecce welcomes Napoli to the Stadio del Mare. Recently, Lecce have really turned on the jets as the side is currently on a 3-game undefeated streak with surprising victories over Roma and Catania. The Puglia side are hoping to stay out of the relegation zone. Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli is desperately looking to collect the 3 points and now needs help in order to finish third, which looks really unlikely to happen.
Roma will be up against ACF Fiorentina at the stadio Olimpico in the Sunday afternoon game. The Giallorossi of Roma is also in striking distance of the final Champions League position. The Viola, also aiming to remain in Serie A next season, are coming off a huge win at the San Siro against the Milan and 2 consecutive scoreless draws against Palermo. Will Fiorentina get the three crucial points? Will Fiorentina survive relegation?
Finally and absolutely not least, current table leaders Juventus FC travel to Cesena. This will be a match-up between top and bottom of the standings as Juventus have no intensions of losing any points to Serie B-bound Cesena. However, this is not an encounter to scuff as it is these teams that have nothing to play for that will be dangerous in this part of the season.
Other fixtures: Atalanta v Chievo; Siena v Bologna; Palermo v Parma
….and THAT’S THE LAST WORD.