Italy: Milan increase lead at top thanks to Strasser
Little known Rodney Strasser scored the decisive goal just six minutes from the end as AC Milan finally got the better of hosts Cagliari in the latest round of Serie A matches. Earlier in the day Juventus were thumped at home by AC Parma whilst Lazio could only draw away at Genoa. Champions Internazionale had an easy 3-1 win against Napoli in the San Siro in the night game.
AC Milan had a three point lead going into the winter break and today saw the return to action in Italy’s Serie A with the Rossoneri hoping to gain three points away at lowly Cagliari. The game seemed to petering out into a goalless stalemate until a move involving Robinho and Antonio Cassano eventually ended with the latter’s through ball to 20 year old Sierra Leone international Strasser, played onside by Alessandro Agostini, who struck from around the penalty spot guiding it past Cagliari keeper Michael Agazzi to secure a much needed win which cements Milan’s position at the top.
Felipe Melo was sent off early on as Juventus suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at home to AC Parma with Sebastian Giovinco bagging a brace for the Gialloblu with Hernan Crespo (penalty) and Raffaele Palladino scoring the others. Parma’s four goals were sandwiched by Juve’s lone riposte from Nicola Legrottaglie meaning that the home side missed the chance to temporarily go into second place whilst the visitors climbed up to 11th place on the back of a great result. It also proved a frustrating afternoon for SS Lazio who were unable to break the deadlock in their game against Genoa with both teams having to contend themselves with a point following a 0-0 draw.
It was a different story for Lazio’s city rivals AS Roma who managed to claim all three points in a tough encounter at home to Catania. On-loan striker Marco Borriello and Mirko Vučinić both grabbed two goals apiece as the Giallorossi eventually managed a 4-2 win having been behind at half-time. The win took AS Roma above Juventus into fourth place and last season’s runners-up now lie seven points behind the league leaders. Defending champions Internazionale FC won at home to SS Napoli by three goals to one with Thiago Motta scoring twice and Esteban Cambiasso getting the other one as the Nerazzurri got back to winning ways under new coach Leonardo, a surprise appointment following the sacking of previous coach Rafael Benitez.
At the other end of the table there was a battle between the bottom two teams which ended in a vital 1-0 win for AS Bari whose win took them to within a point of their opponents US Lecce but who still remain in last place. The two teams directly above the bottom two, Brescia and Cesena, also battled it out with the latter getting the three points away from home thanks to a 2-1 win. Luis Jiménez and Luca Ceccarelli scored the goals for Cesena who are in 17th place three points ahead of Brescia who remain in the relegation zone. Two of the bigger names in Italian football, Bologna and AC Fiorentina, find themselves in the bottom half of the standings and they fought out a 1-1 draw which was a result that did neither team much good. The two other matches in the league saw wins for Udinese and US Palermo who got the better of Chievo (2-0) and Sampdoria (3-0) respectively.
SERIE A – TOP SIX (Games/Points)
1. Milan 18/39
2. Lazio 18/34
3. Napoli 18/33
4. AS Roma 18/32
5. Juventus FC 18/31
6. US Palermo 18/30