Serie A – Week 22 Review

by Kevin Coleman

This was not a particularly glorious week in the history of Italian football. A total of nine games were played over the weekend, with all but three fixtures ending in draws and five producing two goals or less. To make matters worse, the most eye-catching game of week 22, the clash between Parma and Internazionale, was called off due to snow at the Stadio Tardini. The game has been re-arranged for the evening of February 10th.

Alessandro Del Piero of Juventus FC competes for the ball with Mobido Diakite of SS Lazio during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and SS Lazio at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on January 31, 2010 in Turin, Italy.

With Inter’s game being cancelled, Milan had a chance to close the gap at the top of the table as they played struggling Livorno at the San Siro. Frustratingly for Leonardo, the Rossoneri squandered what was a golden opportunity to re-ignite the title race, being held to a 1-1 draw by the Amaranto. Massimo Ambrosini had put Milan ahead towards the end of a turgid first half, capitalising on an error by Francesco Benussi, but the visitors refused to be rolled over by their more illustrious opponents, equalising through Cristiano Lucarelli ten minutes after the break. Serse Cosmi’s side held on for a valuable and unexpected point, further thwarting Milan’s title challenge in the process. Leonardo’s Scudetto dreams are quickly slipping away.

In Turin, Juventus began life under Alberto Zaccheroni in much the same fashion as had become commonplace during the stewardship of Ciro Ferrara, with a disappointing display against supposedly inferior opposition. Lazio’s visit to the Stadio Olimpico was meant to be the start of a positive new era for the Bianconeri, but a poor Juve side were held to a 1-1 draw by a thoroughly abject Biancocelesti in what was a truly awful game of football. Alessandro Del Piero finally broke the monotony in the 70th minute, winning a penalty with an embarrassingly blatant dive and converting the resulting spot-kick. Once ahead, it looked a certainty that Zaccheroni’s side would go on to win the game, Lazio having failed to create anything approaching a goal scoring opportunity, but, as has been the case for much of the season, Juventus contrived to throw away a winning position. Just ten minutes after the hosts took the lead, Mauri losing his marker to fire Mauro Zarate’s free-kick beyond Alex Manninger and consign the Bianconeri to yet another wretched result.

The team which benefitted most from the weekend was Claudio Ranieri’s Roma, the Giallorossi winning 2-1 against bottom club Siena. John Arne Riise put the home side ahead with a beautiful volley after half an hour as Roma looked to assert their authority, but Siena came back at their opponents impressively, Simone Vergassola equalising just before half-time to set up an intriguing second period. Roma had the best of the second half, Julio Baptista and Daniele De Rossi going close before Stefano Okaka scored a stunningly skilful winner in the 88th minute, his last goal for the club before joining Fulham. Ranieri’s side are now level on points with Milan and in a rich vein of form that might well see the Giallorossi become Inter’s main title rivals in the coming weeks.

Week 22 Results in Full

Parma P-P Internazionale

Saturday

Bari 4-2 Palermo

Napoli 0-0 Genoa

Sunday

Cagliari 2-2 Fiorentina

Catania 1-1 Udinese

Chievo 1-1 Bologna

Milan 1-1 Livorno

Roma 2-1 Siena

Sampdoria 2-0 Atalanta

Juventus 1-1 Lazio

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