The thirteenth round of games in Serie A, despite having had the potential to spring a few surprises, ended up going largely with the form book as the sides towards the summit of the table continued to assert their dominance over the early phases of the campaign.
Travelling to Bologna on Saturday, Jose Mourinho’s Internazionale ran out comfortable 1-3 winners at the Stadio Dall’Ara with goals from Diego Milito, Mario Balotelli and Esteban Cambiasso seeing off the home side who could only manage one strike in response, a powerful effort from Uruguayan striker Marcelo Zalayeta. Victory sees Inter retain their five point lead at the top, with the reigning champions looking strong as the season approaches the festive period and odds-on to retain their title.
The other Saturday game saw Parma produce what was probably the surprise result of the weekend as they beat Fiorentina 2-3 at the Artemio Franchi. Despite La Viola taking the lead through Alberto Gilardino after twenty-five minutes, Parma responded with goals from Nicola Amoruso and Valeri Bojinov to take the lead with forty minutes to play. Just ten minutes later Gilardino found the net again to raise the possibility of a Fiorentina comeback as the home side pressed for the win. However, the Ducali kept their cool and eventually hit the home side on the counter-attack as substitute Davide Lanzafame scored to seal a superb victory for his side and send Parma above their opponents into fifth place in the table.
At Turin’s Stadio Olimpico it was a Juventus side back to full strength following the returns of both Momo Sissoko and Alessandro Del Piero that triumphed against Udinese in what was a clash between two of the league’s most attractive teams. Despite missing a number of key players through injury, including talisman and leading goal scorer Antonio Di Natale, Udinese played in a defensively organised fashion and restricted the Bianconeri’s chances to a minimum. After opportunities for both Diego and Amauri it was eventually left-back Fabio Grosso who broke the deadlock from close range early in the second half. The full-back’s strike proved to be the only goal of the game and saw Ciro Ferrara’s side continue to keep a modicum of pressure on Inter at the top.
The game of the weekend saw Leonardo’s Milan scrape past Cagliari in a goal fest at the San Siro. After taking the lead early on through Clarence Seedorf, Milan found themselves pegged back just minutes later through a goal by the in-form Alessandro Matri, only to go behind on the half-hour as Andrea Lazzari smashed a drive into the bottom corner of Dida’s net. Two goals in two minutes from Marco Borriello and Alexandre Pato then sensationally restored Milan’s lead before half-time before a Ronaldinho penalty on the hour looked to have put the game beyond the plucky visitors. However, a goal from Cagliari’s Brazilian forward Nene took the score to 4-3 and kept Milan sweating right up until the final whistle in what was certainly not the Rossoneri’s most accomplished performance of the campaign so far.
From the game of the weekend to the performance of the weekend. Sunday saw the return of Francesco Totti to the Roma line-up after a month out with injury, the Giallorossi talisman marking his comeback with a spectacular hat-trick to inspire his side to a 3-1 win over Bari. It took Totti just six minutes to register his first goal as he dispatched a penalty to put his team on course for a comfortable victory. Just eight minutes later the Roma skipper smashed home a free-kick before completing his treble after just half an hour, firing home from a tight angle to put the result beyond any doubt. An unfortunate Marco Andreolli own goal on the hour salvaged some pride for the visitors, but this was an impressive performance from Claudio Ranieri’s charges and could be a sign of more positive things to come for i Lupi.
In the weekend’s other fixtures Sampdoria kept up their push for the Champions League places with a 2-1 win over Chievo; Livorno left it late to secure an unexpected 2-1 victory over Gian Piero Gasperini’s Genoa; the Sicilian derby ended in a relatively uneventful 1-1 draw between Palermo and Catania; Atalanta recorded an important 0-2 victory over relegation rivals Siena and Lazio’s problems continued as they struggled to a 0-0 stalemate at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo.
Week 13 – Results in Full:
Bologna 1-3 Internazionale
Fiorentina 2-3 Parma
Juventus 1-0 Udinese
Livorno 2-1 Genoa
Milan 4-3 Cagliari
Napoli 0-0 Lazio
Palermo 1-1 Catania
Roma 3-1 Bari
Sampdoria 2-1 Chievo
Siena 0-2 Atalanta