Week 31 produced a number of interesting results which has made this seasons Scudetto grow ever more intriguing. While Juventus seem to be coping with the pressure that Napoli and Milan keep piling on them, it would seem to be the relegation battle that is heating up and taking centre stage.
Palermo bagged a mighty away win against a dispirited Sampdoria, with Josip Iličić being the difference in a game that has seen Palermo come back from the brink of certain relegation, although still with plenty to do, they will be hoping this current surge of form will propel them out of the relegation zone and to safety.
Siena will be kicking themselves for wasting an opportunity to take all three points from a pretty average Parma performance. With the tie ending in a 0-0 draw Siena will be the happier of the two teams as they climb out of the relegation zone into 17th place in the table.
Unfortunately one team’s good fortune normally comes with another’s misfortune, and that team was Genoa. Facing a tough tie away to Napoli this was always going to be a big ask, Napoli bossed the game throughout and two first half goals from Goran Pandev, and Blerim Džemaili was enough to knock the sails out of Genoa. Edinson Cavani also had a penalty saved in the second half. The result saw Genoa fall two places to 19th but level on points with both Palermo and Siena.
In the first of two Saturday evening games, top of the table Juventus hosted bottom of the table US Pescara, in a game that was relatively easy for the Bianconeri. Pescara only managed to score a consolation goal with a stunning strike from Emmanuel Cascione. Coming off the back of their abysmal defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Juventus needed this win as they march ever closer to that Scudetto title.
Fiorentina are determined to make the most of their season by making a final assault on the last Champions League spot, and a spirited display against Milan earned them a 2-2 draw. The game seemed over after goals from Riccardo Montolivo and Mathieu Flamini, but a 10 man Fiorentina managed to come back with two penalties. The result means La Viola have managed to edge another two points clear of Inter and Lazio.
Inter will be extremely disappointed at their failure to finish off a resilient and stubborn Atalanta side. A second half hat-trick from German Denis saw 10 man Atalanta come from 3-1 down to win the game 4-3. It would now seem that the Nerazzurri have missed their chance for Champions League football next year and may have to battle it out with Fiorentina for a Europa League place if they are to salvage anything from this season.
Udinese managed to come away with all three points against Chievo Verona, a quick fire two goals five minutes apart from Antonio Di Natale stunned the Flying Donkeys, who managed to pull one back in the 35th minute to keep them in the tie, however a close range goal from Mehdi Benatia in the 85th minute killed off any hopes that Chievo had of getting something from the game.
Bologna could be forgiven for thinking they earned all three points from their home tie against Torino, but Rolando Bianchi scored in the fourth minute of added time to rescue a draw. Both teams are within a point of each other in the league and fighting it out in the middle of the table.
Catania and Cagliari fought out an uninspiring 0-0 draw and Catania will suffer the most as, although unlikely, they are still within a shout of a European spot, and the result has dampened their chances.
In the final game of week 31, AS Roma and Lazio battled it out in the Derby della Capitale. The game ended in a close fought 1-1 draw, Hernanes put Lazio in the lead inside 16 minutes, but will remain unhappy with himself for having missed the opportunity to double his side’s lead in the second half by missing a penalty. Francesco Totti however didn’t miss his opportunity from the spot and brought Roma level. Roma failed to take advantage of having an extra man after Giuseppe Biava was shown the red card for a second yellow card and the game ended in a draw.
You can follow Arran Harrison on Twitter: @bluebuddha1
Serie A Week 31 Results :
|Monday, April 08, 2013|
|AS Roma||1||–||1||Lazio||Stadio Olimpico|
|Sunday, April 07, 2013|
|Fiorentina||2||–||2||AC Milan||Artemio Franchi (23,000)|
|Siena||0||–||0||Parma||Artemio Franchi (9,000)|
|Udinese||3||–||1||Chievo Verona||Stadio Friuli (16,000)|
|Internazionale||3||–||4||Atalanta||Stadio Giuseppe Meazza|
|Napoli||2||–||0||Genoa||San Paolo (38,000)|
|Saturday, April 06, 2013|
|Juventus||2||–||1||US Pescara||Juventus Stadium (41,000)|
Serie A table after week 31 :