Serie A Update – Di Vaio lifts Bologna’s misery while Inter stumble

by Richard Chambers

They say Italian football is an old man’s game and Bologna’s evergreen striker Marco Di Vaio is only promoting that common belief. The former Italian international continued his tremendous season against Lazio on Sunday.

It was yet another troubled week for the Rossoblu. Massimo Zanetti, whose consortium had acquired ownership of the club from the disastrous previous owners a matter of weeks ago, has already resigned as President. Bologna, already deducted three points this season, were in need of a result in order to move themselves away from the relegation struggle.

Once again Bologna depended on Di Vaio, who scored twice as his team beat Lazio 3-1. Di Vaio has endured a number of quick spells at clubs both inside and outside of Italy with limited success. Since joining the Rossoblu in 2008, he has gone on to score 60 goals for the Bologna, more than he has for any other club.

His first of Sunday afternoon, the goal which took Bologna into a 2-1 lead, came from a typically impressive burst into the penalty area, followed by a sharp turn and finish. Di Vaio added his second after hammering home Giuseppe Biava’s poor clearance.

Meanwhile, the match itself descended into a fracas. Lazio’s André Dias and Bologna substitute Henry Gimenez were both shown red cards before a scuffle erupted at the final whistle. Mauro Zaraté lashed the football at Albin Ekdal before attempting to punch a Bologna player but instead catching a linesman.

The Lazio forward, who is said to be wanted by Juventus, has received a three match ban for his part in the scuffles.

The result was particularly damaging for Lazio, who suffered the ignominy of elimination from the Coppa Italia and being overtaken by their city rivals, Roma in the same week.

Roma haven’t had it easy in recent weeks and have scraped wins with more than some good fortune against average opposition. This weekend’s fixture against a dangerous Cagliari side managed by Roberto Donadoni had appeared to pose more than a capable threat to Roma. The Giallorossi managed to raise their game and surged to a comfortable 3-0 win.

The drubbing served as some form of revenge for Claudio Ranieri’s men having suffered a 5-1 humiliated in Sardinia earlier this season.

Udinese produced the shock of the weekend as they ended Inter’s winning run under Leonardo, beating the Nerazzurri 3-1 in the Stadio Friuli.

Dejan Stankovic’s 15th minute goal was cancelled out just five minutes later by Cristián Zapata. The Colombian defender smashed a rising shot from just inside the penalty area past Luca Castellazzi at the goalkeeper’s near post.

Antonio Di Natale’s current goal rush shows no signs of slowing down. The Udinese captain curled in a wonderful freekick just four minutes after the equaliser, bringing his tally to 15 league goals this season. Maurizio Domizzi ensured that there would be no comeback for the Nerazzurri when he slid to beat Castellazzi to the ball and prodded home to round off the scoring.

The setback Inter suffered was not limited to the humbling they suffered at the hooves of the Zebrette. Yellow cards mean that Chivu, Cordoba and Stankovic will all miss the tricky upcoming match against Palermo through suspension. Honeymoon over, Leonardo?

Argentine strike Ezequiel Lavezzi finally ended his goal drought against Bari to lift the Partenopei back into second place ahead of Roma. Lavezzi, who hadn’t scored since November, ran across the path of Edinson Cavani’s low freekick and deflected it goalwards. The 2,000 Napoli fans who made the trip across the peninsula celebrated with almost as much relish as Lavezzi did. The man they call El Pocho treated the corner flag to something of a rodeo. Lovely.

The Lavezzi show continued in the second half and he created Napoli’s second. Lavezzi sprinted down the left flank before squaring for Edinson Cavani who turned the ball in from close range. The result heaped pressure on Milan, moving the Neapolitans just a point behind the frontrunners.

Thankfully for Allegri and co, their game in hand came against a Cesena side who showed little of their trademark resistance at the San Siro on Sunday evening. Cesena’s Maximiliano Pellegrino suffered the embarrassment of having scored two own goals in the space of a week after his sliding challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the ball into the net just before halftime.

If Ibra was disappointed that he was denied the opportunity of opening the scoring, the manner in which he sealed the victory for Milan will have more than made up for it. The Swede ran on to Robinho’s through pass and thumped a beautiful first-time shot across a forlorn Francesco Antonioli and just inside the far post. Job done for Milan, who are in action again on Wednesday against Sampdoria as part of a mouthwatering mix Quarter Finals in the Coppa Italia.

The pick of the games comes at the San Paolo where Napoli host the holders, Inter. Juventus,who struggled to a scoreless draw against Sampdoria this weekend, face Roma at Turin’s Olimpico while the inconsistent Parma travel to Palermo.

Scores:

Udinese 3-1 Internazionale
Bari 0-2 Napoli
Bologna 3-1 Lazio
Chievo 0-0 Genoa
Fiorentina 1-1 Lecce
Sampdoria 0-0 Juventus
AC Milan 2-0 Cesena
Palermo 1-0 Brescia
Parma 2-0 Catania
AS Roma 3-0 Cagliari

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