Yesterday saw a full mid-week programme of Serie A fixtures which resulted in several high-scoring games and wins for all of the clubs in the league’s top three.
The most enthralling game of the day came during the evening kick-off as Leonardo’s Milan comprehensively defeated Genoa 5-2 at the San Siro with goals from Ronaldinho, Thiago Silva, Marco Borriello and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. David Beckham returned to the Milan line-up for the first game of his second spell with the Rossoneri and enjoyed an effective 75 minutes in front of the watching Fabio Capello before being replaced by Marek Jankulovski. The highlight of the match came after 55 minutes when Luca Antonini beat the Genoa offside trap with a sublime chipped pass which was emphatically finished by a Marco Borriello overhead kick to make it 4-1 to il Diavolo. Leonardo will doubtless be encouraged that his side’s good form has not dissipated over the Christmas break as Milan continue to keep a modicum of pressure on Inter at the top of the table.
In what was perhaps the most significant game of the day, Juventus scraped a 1-2 victory away at Parma to give Ciro Ferrara a stay of execution in the Bianconeri hot seat. An early strike by Hasan Salihamidzic had been negated by a Nicola Amoruso equaliser for the home side before a disastrous own goal by Parma’s Paolo Castellini proved the decisive intervention. Juve held off some late Parma pressure after the dismissal of Martin Caceres and saw the game out to claim a priceless away victory, alleviating some of the pressure on Ferrara and keeping the Old Lady of Turin in touch with Milan.
José Mourinho’s Internazionale kept up their relentless pace at the top of the league with a 0-1 away to Chievo. In the game which saw Goran Pandev’s debut for Inter, it was Mario Balotelli’s strike which proved the difference between the two sides at the Stadio Bentegodi. Although Chievo enjoyed periods of dominance in the game, ultimately it was Inter’s superior speed and strength that won out and saw the reigning champions maintain their eight point lead at the top of Serie A.
The only club in the top four to slip up on Wednesday was Roma, who could only draw with Cagliari who scored two goals in injury time to leave the game all square at 2-2. Goals from David Pizarro (a penalty) and Simone Perrotta looked to have sealed the win for the Giallorossi, but Diego López pulled one back for the Rossoblu on the stroke of ninety minutes, setting the stage for Daniele Conti to equalise for the Sardinians deep into extra time. Roma drop down to fifth as a consequence of the result, Cagliari moving up one place to eleventh.
In Wednesday’s other results, Lazio continued the upturn in its fortunes by convincingly beating Livorno 4-1 at the Olimpico, Napoli won 0-2 away at Atalanta to move into fourth above Roma, Bari continued to impress with a 2-0 victory over a struggling Udinese side, Catania beat Bologna 1-0 in the relegation six-pointer at the Stadio Massimino, Sampdoria tied 1-1 with Palermo and Fiorentina thrashed Tuscan rivals Siena 1-5 to stay within three points of the Champions League places.