Serie A Update: Redenzione

by Richard Chambers

Redenzione – A change of pace for Serie A Update this week. This week we’ll focus on the team’s in the bottom half of the table (with a few exceptions), starting with Fiorentina, who scraped past Cagliari at the Stadio Franchi.

To say it has been a tough year for Adrian Mutu would be the mother of all understatements. The former Chelsea striker served a drugs ban between January and October, before being ordered to pay Chelsea €17 million for breach of contract in June.

Sunday might have served as a small helping of redemption for Mutu. Fiorentina’s turbulent season looks that bit brighter after their win over Cagliari, a victory they owe to the Romanian international. Fiorentina were deadlocked with the Sardinian club after a poor first half. They took the lead just six minutes into the second half when Mutu broke clear of his marker to head Gaetano D’Agostino’s freekick in at the near post. The celebrations were acceptably jubilant. Mutu was mobbed by his team mates and shared a warm embrace with Sinisa Mihajlovic on the sideline as he marked his first Serie A goal since January.

After the match, Mutu dedicated the goal to his manager and spoke about how he “couldn’t wait for 2010 to end.”

Those sentiments will probably be shared by Bologna. A similar tale of redemption played out for the Rossoblu, as they overcame their off-field difficulties to beat Cesena, 2-0. Bologna became the first Serie A club to be deducted a point for unpaid taxes and their president, Sergio Porcceda, was banned for six months.

Veteran striker Marco Di Vaio opened the scoring with a powerful low shot from the edge of the penalty area before Miguel Britos made sure that Bologna earned their first away win of the season with the second.

Struggling Brescia have sacked baseball cap wearing manager Beppe Iachini and immediately replaced him with suave journeyman manager, Mario Beretta. The move followed the Little Swallows‘ 3-0 hammering at the hands of league leaders, AC Milan.

Brescia were outclassed by a Milan side which are looking ever more impressive. Zlatan Ibrahimvic (surprise, surprise) was once again heavily involved in the rout. His twinkle-toed build-up on the left set up Kevin Prince Boateng for the Ghanaian international’s first goal in Italy.

Robinho added the second before Zlatan bagged his eighth Serie A goal of the season with a typically swaggering effort. The Swede teased the Brescia defence just inside the penalty area before somehow creating enough space for himself and unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

Their nearest challenegers, Lazio, downed Inter at the Stadio Olimpico, 3-1 in what could ultimately have decided the fate of Rafael Benitez. It was genuinely shocking to see the European Champions dismantled with such ease.

Lazio raced into a two goal lead and looked very comfortable even after Goran Pandev pulled a goal back against his old club. Hernanes’ late freekick sealed the win and may finally herald the end of Inter’s five season monopoly on the Scudetto.

On current form, Inter may struggle to even qualify for the Champions League next season. Two teams which are very much involved in the fight for a place in Europe’s top club competition were in action on Monday night as Napoli hosted Palermo.
The flair exhibited by both of these teams in the early stages of this season led many to speculate that this could be one of the games of the season. It wasn’t.

Napoli were much the better side throughout and it looked as though Palermo were about to escape from the Stadio San Paolo with a valuable point until Christian Maggio broke the deadlock in the fourth minute of injury time. Edinson Cavani, a former Palermo hero himself, broke clear and rolled the ball into Maggio’s path.

Maggio slipped but still managed to shunt the ball across the line with what was to be the last kick of the game. The San Paolo erupted as if Napoli had just won the Scudetto. Fans and observers remarked that it was the biggest outpouring of joy at the Naples venue since the Maradona era.

Napoli travel to Genoa next week as they look to press on in their quest for a return to the top tier of European competition. The pick of the rest of next weekend’s games comes in Turin where Juventus take on Edy Reja’s Lazio.

Scores:

Catania 1-3 Juventus

Cesena 0-2 Bologna

Chievo 2-2 Roma

Fiorentina 1-0 Cagliari

Lazio 3-1 Inter

Lecce 1-3 Genoa

Milan 3-0 Brescia

Napoli 1-0 Palermo

Parma 2-1 Udinese

Sampdoria 3-0 Bari

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