Catania

Italy roundup: Sassuolo’s stunning escape complete, Juve tips Roma

Leave a comment

The relegation picture is crystal clear in Serie A after some season-long strugglers pulled off major Sunday wins to clinch safety in Italy’s top flight.

Catania couldn’t celebrate its 2-1 road win in a relegation six-pointer against Bologna, as the three points they gained kept them in the final relegation slot. Wins in successive weeks could not save the Sicilian club, who is now four points back of No. 17 Chievo.

That’s because Chievo Verona and Sassuolo saved their seasons with big wins. In the case of the latter club, it punctuated a stunning turnaround that will see them in 16th after being mired in the drop zone for most of the season.

Dario Dainelli headed a corner kick home in the 72nd minute, and his goal stood as Chievo Verona secured safety with a 1-0 win at Cagliari.

Sealing the bottom three’s fates was Antonio Floro Flores. The 30-year-old’s brace — on 8 shots — started and finished Sassuolo‘s scoring a 4-2 win over visiting Genoa.

This sends Bologna and Catania down, with Livorno also headed to Serie B after a 1-0 loss to visiting Fiorentina.

Elsewhere

  • Inter Milan 4-1 Lazio – Rodrigo Palacio scores twice as Inter overcome conceding in second minute to crush visitors.
  • Verona 2-2 Udinese — Legends Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale part of the points share with goals.
  • Atalanta 2-1 AC Milan — Europe seems a distant hope for AC Milan after a Franco Brienza marker in the sixth minute of stoppage time gives the home team all three points.
  • Sampdoria 2-5 Napoli —  Four different players score for Napoli, which also gets a Sampdoria own goal to pile on the hosts.
  • Torino 1-1 Parma – Ciro Immobile scored again for Torino, ensuring the final Europa League spot won’t be settled until the last day of the season.
  • Roma 0-1 Juventus — Southampton outcast Dani Osvaldo’s first Juve goal holds up as winner.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 37 32 3 2 77 23 54 18-0-0 14-3-2 99
Roma 37 26 7 4 72 24 48 15-3-1 11-4-3 85
Napoli 37 22 9 6 72 38 34 12-4-2 10-5-4 75
Fiorentina 37 19 7 11 63 42 21 9-3-6 10-4-5 64
Inter Milan 37 15 15 7 61 37 24 8-9-2 7-6-5 60
Torino 37 15 11 11 56 46 10 9-6-4 6-5-7 56
Parma 37 14 13 10 56 46 10 8-7-3 6-6-7 55
AC Milan 37 15 9 13 55 48 7 10-4-4 5-5-9 54
Verona 37 16 6 15 61 63 -2 10-3-6 6-3-9 54
Lazio 37 14 11 12 53 54 -1 9-6-3 5-5-9 53
Atalanta 37 15 5 17 42 49 -7 11-3-5 4-2-12 50
Sampdoria 37 12 8 17 45 59 -14 7-5-7 5-3-10 44
Udinese 37 12 7 18 43 54 -11 9-3-6 3-4-12 43
Genoa 37 10 11 16 40 50 -10 7-5-6 3-6-10 41
Cagliari 37 9 12 16 34 50 -16 8-4-7 1-8-9 39
Sassuolo 37 9 7 21 42 70 -28 5-2-12 4-5-9 34
Chievo 37 9 6 22 32 53 -21 5-2-11 4-4-11 33
Catania 37 7 8 22 32 65 -33 6-6-6 1-2-16 29
Bologna 37 5 14 18 28 57 -29 3-8-8 2-6-10 29
Livorno 37 6 7 24 39 75 -36 4-5-10 2-2-14 25

 

Italy Roundup: Ex-Man City stars decide Milan derby; Relegation a mess

Leave a comment

While the very top of the table’s been a bit of a yawn — in fitting fashion Juventus clinched the league while waiting to play on Monday — the relegation fight and scrap for fourth remains interesting.

Juve, Roma and Napoli will finish 1, 2, 3 barring a brutal collapse from Napoli and a red-hot finish from Fiorentina. After that, though, there’s plenty to be settled. Five teams remain in play to be relegated, while a hand full can still settle into a Europa League spot.

But we begin with the Milan derby, where AC Milan made the best of a mess of a season by trumping visiting Inter 1-0 in a dirty affair. A pair of former Manchester City players keyed the win, with Nigel de Jong heading home Mario Balotelli’s pass in the 65th minute.

The three points mean AC Milan can still find the Europa League, while Inter is extremely unlikely to catch Fiorentina for fourth, with Viola four points ahead with a match in hand to be played on Tuesday. Inter looked lifeless for much of the game.

Catania pushed Livorno into the basement with a 4-1 thumping of Roma. Argentine playmaker Mariano Izco scored a brace within eight minutes to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. The goals were just his second and third of the season, and boosted Catania — still winless at home — to within three points of safety.

Bologna picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Genoa to temporarily stay ahead of the drop but will have wanted more with Sassuolo yet to play this week. Chievo stayed in danger with a 1-0 home loss to Torino, while Livorno played a thrilling 5-3 match with Udinese… but thrilling means little in a loss.

Down in Serie B, if you’re wondering, only Palermo has clinched promotion.

Elsewhere

  • Catania 4-1 Roma – Francesco Totti’s 37th minute goal was the only moment of fun for the visitors.
  • Chievo 0-1 Torino — Only a 54th minute Gennaro Sardo own-goal broke up the malaise in Verona.
  • Genoa 0-0 Bologna — If you find matches with only three combined shots on goal pretty exciting, this one was for you.
  • Udinese 5-3 Livorno – It was 5-2 at halftime, with Paulinho striking twice for Livorno and a brace for Antonio Di Natale leading three Udinese goal scorers. Only Djamel Mesbah scored in the second half as Livorno slipped to 20th.
  • Parma 2-0 Sampdoria – Cassano scored early (8′) and Schelotto scored late (90′) as Parma stayed alive for Europe.
  • Juventus vs. Atalanta – Monday
  • Lazio vs. Verona — Monday
  • Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo — Tuesday
  • Napoli vs. Cagliari — Tuesday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 35 30 3 2 75 23 52 17-0-0 13-3-2 93
Roma 36 26 7 3 72 23 49 15-3-0 11-4-3 85
Napoli 35 20 9 6 64 36 28 11-4-2 9-5-4 69
Fiorentina 35 18 7 10 59 38 21 9-3-5 9-4-5 61
Inter Milan 36 14 15 7 57 36 21 7-9-2 7-6-5 57
Torino 36 15 10 11 55 45 10 9-5-4 6-5-7 55
Parma 36 14 12 10 55 45 10 8-7-3 6-5-7 54
AC Milan 36 15 9 12 54 46 8 10-4-4 5-5-8 54
Lazio 35 14 10 11 49 47 2 9-5-3 5-5-8 52
Verona 35 16 4 15 56 58 -2 10-2-6 6-2-9 52
Atalanta 35 14 5 16 40 47 -7 10-3-5 4-2-11 47
Sampdoria 36 12 8 16 43 54 -11 7-5-6 5-3-10 44
Udinese 36 12 6 18 41 52 -11 9-3-6 3-3-12 42
Genoa 36 10 11 15 38 46 -8 7-5-6 3-6-9 41
Cagliari 35 9 12 14 34 46 -12 8-4-6 1-8-8 39
Chievo 36 8 6 22 31 53 -22 5-2-11 3-4-11 30
Bologna 36 5 14 17 27 55 -28 3-8-7 2-6-10 29
Sassuolo 35 7 7 21 34 65 -31 4-2-12 3-5-9 28
Catania 36 6 8 22 30 64 -34 6-6-6 0-2-16 26
Livorno 36 6 7 23 39 74 -35 4-5-9 2-2-14 25

Italy Roundup: Milan look set to sneak into Europe

Leave a comment

Italy still being the good Catholic nation that it is, on Easter weekend, all Serie A matches take place on Saturday. That means we here at Pro Soccer Talk have an early round-up of how clubs on the peninsula fared:

Saturday’s Results

AC Milan 3-0 Livorno
Quite possibly the biggest result in Serie A this weekend. Mario Balotelli, Adel Taarabt and Giampaolo Pazzini all scored to give the hosts all three points. Milan’s win, combined with results from Lazio, Torino and Parma, puts the rossoneri close to Clarence Seedorf’s dream of edging into Europa League. As for Livorno, well, they remain second from bottom, three points from safety. That’s what happens when you pick up just one point from six matches.

Atalanta 1-2 Verona
Verona, after experiencing a dramatic dip in form in the second half of the season, are suddenly back in the race for Italy’s final European place. Much of that’s due to Luca Toni, with the veteran scoring Verona’s second today, bringing his season total to 18 goals. Massimo Donati scored the visitors’ first, but thanks to Toni’s second, the late goal from Germán Denis was nothing more than a consolation for Atalanta.

Catania 2-1 Sampdoria
Ever since Siniša Mihajlović got himself thrown out in Sampdoria’s draw with Fiorentina, his side have been doomed to failure. Today they even lost to bottom side Catania. Sebastián Leto put in the first for the hosts, but Samp were able to equalize by the 61st minute through a goal from Stefano Okaka. The elefanti, however, were determined to get one last chance at staying in Serie A. Gonzalo Bergessio put in the winner just two minutes later, grabbing all three points for Catania…and keeping them five points back of safety.

Chievo 0-1 Sassuolo
This game had a much greater effect on the battle for safety. While many tables might currently show Sassuolo still in the bottom three, in Serie A, the tie-breaker is based on head-to-head record – and Sassuolo have taken four points off Bologna, with whom they’re even on points. Domenico Berardi, who hadn’t scored since putting four past Milan back in December, may have just saved his side from slipping right back down to Serie B. Which, actually, is where Chievo might wind up, as they’re just two points over the line.

Genoa 1-2 Cagliari
Cagliari were likely never going to be relegated, but with this win giving them an eight-point cushion, new head coach Ivo Pulga is likely to sleep better at night. It was actually the hosts that took the early lead, with Sebastien De Maio putting Genoa up inside five minutes. But the defender was at fault for the equalizer, falling asleep to allow an unmarked Marco Sau inside the area to grab the equalizer. Victor Ibarbo sealed the first isolani road win with his 82nd minute goal – and handed Genoa their fourth straight defeat.

Juventus 1-0 Bologna
It looked like Bologna were going to be able to hold on for a point, thus keeping the tiniest bit of distance between themselves and Sassuolo in the final relegation spot. But the rossoblu just weren’t up to the challenge of keeping out Serie A’s top side. Paul Pogba got on the end of a ball from Mauricio Isla, burying his shot in the 64th minute – and that’s all Juventus needed.

Lazio 3-3 Torino
Lazio and Torino combined well to make sure to blaze a clear path for Milan’s Europa League adventure. With both sides aiming for the three points that could’ve meant finishing the weekend in fifth, this match featured plenty of drama. Stefano Mauri opened the scoring late in the second half, but Jasmin Kurtić restored equality early in the second. A Lazio penalty, converted by Antonio Candreva, put the hosts back in front, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis equalized for Torino once more. It looked like the granata would come out on top after Diego Novaretti was sent off with ten minutes remaining – and, sure enough, Ciro Immobile put the visitors ahead in the last minute of normal time. But, amazingly, Candreva found yet another equalizer in the 93rd minute, leaving both sides with a lone point.

Parma 0-2 Internazionale
Parma’s quest for European football took a sad turn against Inter on Saturday. It all started when Antonio Cassano failed to convert a penalty against his former side. Thus, the two teams went into the break scoreless, but when Gabriel Paletta was sent off with a second yellow just after the restart, a nerazzurri win seemed inevitable. Sure enough, it took less than five minutes for Rolando’s header to put the visitors ahead, and Fredy Guarín’s late strike turned out to be unnecessary insurance.

Udinese 1-1 Napoli
Pepe Reina may have found himself out of a job thanks to this one, with the Napoli goalkeeper’s miserable pass allowing Giampiero Pinzi the chance to steal the ball, threading it through to Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese had no trouble scoring, canceling out José Callejón’s first-half opener.

Still to come…

Fiorentina vs. Roma
This should be the most exciting game of the weekend – key word, “should.” Both sides love to attack, and both have plenty to fight for. Yes, Juventus have almost surely won the scudetto, but Roma still want to keep things tight and make things interesting. But Fiorentina will be well aware of the fact that Napoli dropped points at Udinese, and know that they could close the gap on third place – and the final Champions League spot – to just eight points if they manage to get a win at the Artemio Franchi.

Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chicharito to Monaco, Shaw staying put

2 Comments

Things are getting nutty late in the window, with moves for Yohan Cabaye and Juan Mata coming into fruition amongst others, so what’s on the horizon?

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino still says Luke Shaw isn’t leaving St. Mary’s, neither in January nor the summer, but can the fear of his departure stop the Saints hierarchy from accepting Chelsea or Manchester United meeting their 25 million pounds transfer price? He’s 18 and contracted through 2018, but it’d be conventional to think this ends in a move or a new deal for the back… and Chelsea is making noise.

Noted goal poacher fox in the box slash super sub Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could be moving to France as a short-term replacement for injured Radamel Falaco, as AS Monaco could splash some cash for the Manchester United man. Also on Monaco’s radar is Dani Osvaldo, who may have head-butted his way out of Southampton. And he’s in demand by West Ham, too, as we previously told you. By the way, if you missed it, Falcao may have hope for Brazil

Toni Kroos could handle staying at Bayern Munich, obviously, but he isn’t crossing any options off his list as Manchester United is among those looking to take the midfielder into their side. The 24-year-old has already said ‘No’ to a new deal with his current club and David Moyes is interested.

Sampdoria is taking Maxi Lopez back from Catania, meaning West Ham has lost out on the Argentinian forward. Meanwhile, Sky Sports reports that Osasuna is quite angry with the Irons after West Ham pulled out of a bid for Raoul Loe very late in the goings.

“I cannot understand how a club at that level can negotiate and work in a two-faced way like that… Raoul had a bad Saturday night,” said Osasuna sporting director Petar Vasiljevic.

Sky also reports that Fulham is interested in a move for Olympiakos striker Kostas Mitroglou. He’s 25 and was rumored to join Arsenal or Liverpool in the summer before reaching an extension with the Champions League side. Olympiakos faces Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16, so don’t expect him to be going anywhere unless crazy money changes hands.

Tom Ince to Stoke? The Blackpool attacker has been linked with nearly every PL club in England at some point, but Sky says he’s meeting with the Potters now.

And Gus Poyet nudges his way into the news late, with this coming from The Telegraph:

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has confirmed he is close to landing Argentinian striker Ignacio Scocco. The Internacional frontman is expected on Wearside to undergo a medical during the next 24 hours or so after the two clubs agreed a fee. Poyet’s exact words when asked if the deal was likely to go through were: “I hope so. It’s not done, but we are very, very close.”

Scocco has played and scored for clubs in several countries as well as in his only cap for Argentina, twice and again in penalties against Brazil back in the 2012 Superclasico de las Americas.

Antonio Cassano doesn’t do authority, Part 78: Italian star, head coach nearly come to blows

Leave a comment

Antonio Cassano got into a fight with Inter Milan head coach Andrea Stramaccioni. This is the kind of stuff he does.

The 30-year-old Italian international has had contentious departures from Roma, Real Madrid, and Sampdoria, and now he’s becoming a hornet’s nest for the Nerazzurri. It’s all part of the bargain.

According to reports out of Italy, Cassano and his Inter boss nearly came to blows after Friday’s training session. Midfielder Dejan Stankovic and team manager Ivan Cordoba separated the two before the confrontation climaxed.

The young head coach confirmed the news on Saturday, albeit in muted words:

There was no physical contact, it was just a discussion. It annoys me that it was reported outside the training ground, as these things should stay behind closed doors. Antonio is one of the players I have used the most.

He won’t be using him on Sunday. Stramaccioni confirmed he has decided to drop Cassano for the team’s trip to Catania. The playmaker will, however, be back in the team mid-week:

Cassano will be called up for the Europa League game with Tottenham next week. This is my decision and he is not being punished, nor frozen out. Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez are crucial to cover the gaps at the moment.

For Stramaccioni, a 37-year-old in his first full year on the job, the dressing room confrontation was less noteworthy than the fact news of it got out:

Leaving Cassano out was my decision. It happened in the locker room and we shouldn’t make a big deal of it. Whoever leaked this story outside clearly does not want what’s best for Inter. The locker room is sacred.

Not sacred enough to avoid going after your coach, but as Stramaccioni initmated, this is not the first time a player and coach have almost come to blows.

And it’s not the first time Cassano’s famously bad temper has gotten the best of him. Inter knew what they were acquiring when they traded Giampaolo Pazzini to get him last summer.

No use excoriating either party. Not that Cassano doesn’t deserve some censure. It just won’t do any good.