It was a weekend when two Italian giants harbouring title ambitions clashed with the favourites suffering their first defeat of the season. And that was just Sky Sports’ shameful mafia-inspired coverage of Mancini v Ancelotti.
A similar outcome befell Internazionale at the Stadio Olimpico where Claudio Ranieri’s embattled Roma secured a late win. The goal came in the second minute of stoppage time courtesy of substitute Mirko Vucinic, who had earlier replaced a decidedly off-colour Francesco Totti. The Roma captain did not respond well to his substitution; the World Cup winner trudged down the tunnel and did not reappear. The result relieves some of the mouting pressure on Claudio Ranieri, who had failed to deliver a victory for the Giallorossi this season.
Inter’s defenders Christian Chivu and Maicon were quick to shift the blame onto the ‘egotistical’ attack-minded members of Rafael Benitez’s squad, with special attention given to in-form Samuel Eto’o.
Inter’s San Siro rivals AC Milan earned a 1-0 victory over fellow big-spenders Genoa. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the hero for Milan. The Swedish international latched onto a long pass from Andrea Pirlo and executed a perfect first-time lob over the onrushing Eduardo, in the process registering his second league goal for the Rossoneri. In truth, the margin could have been even greater for Massimiliano Allegri’s side. Milan, who started Robinho for the first time, squandered many goalscoring opportunities over the course of the game but will be encouraged at the speed with which their new signings are integrating.
Napoli staged an impressive late comeback to overcome newly promoted Cesena at the Stadio Manuzzi. Cesena, who had been enjoying a relatively fruitful start to life in Serie A, took the lead early in the second half. Ezequiel Schelloto dispossessed Cribari before squaring for Marco Parolo, who provided a composed finish. Napoli had dominated the game and equalised in the 74th minute via Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had missed a multitude of chances in the first half. Marek Hamsik’s penalty brought the Neapolitans into the lead before Edinson Cavani, who was introduced from the substitute’s bench, continued his sublime form to end Cesena’s challenge with two well taken goals. Cavani’s second, Napoli’s fourth, was of particular brilliance and saw the Uruguayan curl an exceptional effort past the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area.
Palermo were forced to come from behind to secure a 2-2 draw at home against Lecce. Lecce’s surprise lead was cut by Mauricio Ferreira Pinilla before former Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone rescued a point for the Sicilians in the 93rd minute.
Elsewhere, 18 year old Adem Ljajic continued his rise towards stardom as he masterminded Fiorentina‘s impressive 2-0 victory over Parma. Lazio ascended to second in the table after beating Chievo 1-0 in Verona. The goal was provided by the ever-improving Mauro Zárate, who may finally be living up to the lofty reputation awarded to him before he joined the Aquile in 2008.
Sunday’s evening kick-off proved to be another entertaining outing for Luigi Del Neri’s Juventus as they hosted Cagliari. La Vecchia Signora‘s win was once again spearheaded by Milos Krasic, who is quickly becoming a fan favourite in Turin. The Serbian winger, who signed from CSKA Moscow during the summer, scored his first goals for the club en route to a hat-trick. It is difficult to argue with Del Neri’s controversial evaluation of Krasic’s contribution to date. The former Sampdoria manager had stated that Juventus have relied on the 25 year-old to date. Despite the offensive prowess on show in the 4-2 victory, the relative frailty of their back-four was once again criticised by portions of the Italian media. The favoured centre-back partnership of Bonucci and Chiellini have failed to impress and are threatened with the prospect of facing down a resurgent Samuel Eto’o and Inter, who will be eager to atone for their defeat against Roma, in the Derby d’Italia this weekend.
Milan 1-0 Genoa
Roma 1-0 Internazionale
Cesena 1-4 Napoli
Catania 1-1 Bologna
Fiorentina 2-0 Parma
Palermo 2-2 Lecce
Sampdoria 0-0 Udinese
Chievo 0-1 Lazio
Juventus 4-2 Cagliari