Serie A – Week 23 Review

by Chris Mann

BPF’s resident Serie A expert Chris Mann is back with a round up of the latest goings on in Italy as Inter continue to lead the way.


We’re only a little over half-way through the season, but it already looks as though Internazionale have got a fifth consecutive Serie A title all but wrapped up. With a convincing 3-0 victory over Cagliari at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon the Nerazzurri went eight points clear of Roma with a game in hand, an almost unassailable lead at the top. Goran Pandev and Walter Samuel both scored inside the first twenty minutes to kill the game off as a contest, Jose Mourinho’s charges putting in one of their best performances of the season to completely dominate their Sardinian opponents. Diego Milito added a third shortly after half-time to confirm Inter’s superiority, the Milanese outfit dispatching Massimiliano Allegri’s side with consummate ease and delivering a hammer blow to the title aspirations of Roma and Milan in the process.

Claudio Ranieri’s Roma, the league’s most in-form side, travelled to Florence on Sunday evening to face a Fiorentina side currently in freefall. Contrary to many people’s expectations, it was the Viola who dominated proceedings, constantly testing Julio Sergio in the Roma goal. However, the Giallorossi took advantage of their opponents’ wastefulness, once again demonstrating the newfound resolve which has served the team so well in recent times. With just eight minutes of normal time to play, Mirko Vucinic stole in at a corner, controlling well before lashing the ball into the roof of the net to seal the win. Roma may be unlikely to overhaul Inter in the race for the Scudetto, but they are playing some good football under Ranieri and have been a joy to watch over the last few months.

Meanwhile, Milan were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Bologna as their the club’s title challenge slowly peters out. Despite dominating the game at the Stadio Dall’Ara, with both Ronaldinho and Massimo Ambrosini hitting the frame of the goal, the Rossoneri were unable to break their lowly opponents down. Leonardo’s side did show glimpses of real style on occasion, passing the ball around with class and authority, Bologna never being afforded an opportunity to win the game, but the lack of a final product really hurt the San Siro outfit. Milan are now ten points behind Inter and look very much out of the race for the title. The long wait for a Scudetto looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Lazio’s wretched season continues, a 0-1 defeat to Catania at the Stadio Olimpico seeing the Biancocelesti slip into the relegation zone. Lazio, who were champions of Italy just ten years ago, have been poor all season and Catania took advantage of their hosts’ limp display to humiliate Davide Ballardini’s side. Maxi Lopez scored the only goal of the game on the hour, bundling in a cross Giuseppe Mascara to give the Sicilian side the lead. Although Lazio threatened towards the end of the game, Ballardini’s men could not find a goal and succumbed to yet another defeat. Ballardini has since been sacked and replaced at the helm by former Napoli boss Edy Reja. Fans of the Aquile will be absolutely desperate for their new man to turn the club’s terrible fortunes around.

Week 23 Results in Full:

Saturday

Palermo 2-1 Parma

Livorno 1-1 Juventus

Sunday

Atalanta 1-0 Bari

Bologna 0-0 Milan

Genoa 1-0 Chievo

Internazionale 3-0 Cagliari

Lazio 0-1 Catania

Siena 1-2 Sampdoria

Udinese 3-1 Napoli

Fiorentina 0-1 Roma

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