Wow, 72 hours of scintillating action, 39 goals and a host of talking points. Week 28 saw Serie A rip up the rulebook to leave everyone breathless and stunned. From Inter Milan’s self destruction in Sicily on Friday night, to Clarence Seedorf’s last gasp winner at the San Siro on Sunday evening, this weekend had more twists and turns than the best of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest work. In 36 incredible second-half minutes at the Stadio Massimino on Friday night, Inter Milan’s title aspirations were left hanging by a thread as Gli Elefanti of Catania, led by the irrepressible Giuseppe Mascara, destroyed the Nerazzurri with some breathtaking football.
When Diego Milito knocked the ball into an empty net on 54 minutes, it seemed that the reigning champion’s lead at the top was going to be extended to seven points, but with 17 minutes remaining, Maxi Lopez grabbed a deserved equaliser for the hosts. Inter substitute Sulley Muntari featured for just 85 seconds, as his second yellow card saw him gift the islanders a penalty which was coolly converted by Mascara. Jorge Martinez put the game beyond the visitors reach with a wonderful solo goal in the dying seconds. The Massimino exploded with joy as the rain poured down, Jose Mourinho, who watched the full horror unfold from the warmth of the hospitality suites, due to his touchline ban, is facing the biggest crisis of his managerial career.
Saturday night saw Fiorentina score three times in the final eight minutes of the match against Napoli at the San Paolo, two of which arrived in injury time – Alberto Gilardino staked his claim for a seat on the plane to South Africa with two opportunist strikes. The hosts had been in front thanks to an Ezequiel Lavezzi goal on the hour mark, but the match was overshadowed by a controversial decision not to award the Vesuviani a penalty shortly after, which left President Aurelio De Laurentiis fuming – there will be recriminations, that is for certain.
Super Sunday saw Alessandro Del Piero and family celebrate his 300 and 301 goals for Juventus as the Bianconeri went two up inside the opening seven minutes at the Olimpico in Turin against basement club Siena. When an Antonio Candreva thunderbolt put the hosts three up after 10 minutes, the visitors must have feared the worst. Fortunately, Massimo Maccarone had not read the script and he pulled one back for the Robur just six minutes later. 30 minutes into the second period, a double strike from Abdelkader Ghezzal completed the most unlikeliest of comebacks to ruin Del Piero and Co’s big day.
Roma are back to their old selves after another 3-3 thriller, this time in Tuscany against Livorno. Cristiano Lucarelli scored all three for the hosts, Simone Perrotta, Luca Toni and David Pizarro netted for the visitors who led twice in the match but failed to hold their advantage. Oh yes, one other thing, Pizarro missed a penalty which has surely ended the Giallorossi’s title dreams once and for all.
A quiet day at the Luigi Ferraris in Genoa saw the Rossoblu despatch Cagliari 5-3 in a game were defences were certainly not on top. Each side received a penalty – in truth, the post match analysis showed that both teams should have had six more! Lazio’s home defeat to Bari saw more pyrotechnics in the stands, coach Eddy Reja is failing to stop the ship from sinking with his President Claudio Lotito, now fearing for his life.
Udinese halted the Palermo renaissance in another five goal thriller at the Stadio Friuli, Antonio Floro Flores grabbing a brace to ease their relegation worries. So to the San Siro on Sunday evening, in a game that was looking like being remembered for the sickening injury to David Beckham, which has ended his International career, the old warhorse himself Clarence Seedorf, on as second-half substitute for the out of sorts Andrea Pirlo, hit an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner in the dying seconds to give the Rossoneri three priceless points that they certainly did not deserve. At the final whistle, the Milan players danced with joy as the gap at the top was slashed to just a solitary point. For anyone who doubted, Serie A is alive and well, week 28 will live long in the memory, strap yourself in folks, its going down to the wire.