Serie A Analysis – Week 9 – Milan Halloween horror show gifts Lazio breathing space

Milan were the biggest losers on matchday nine, suffering a 2-1 defeat at home to Juventus on Saturday evening, an opportunity missed to leapfrog Lazio at the top of Serie A overnight and put pressure on the surprise high-flyers ahead of their clash with Palermo.

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The eagerly anticipated match between Milan and Juventus at the San Siro was perhaps surprisingly won by the visitors, who played without their suspended dangerman Milos Krasic. Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was wasteful early on and Fabio Quagliarella made the Swede pay when he headed Juve in front. Alessandro Del Piero doubled the lead in the second half, breaking the all-time goalscoring record in Serie A for the Bianconeri. Ibrahimovic netted a late consolation but Juventus prevailed and have risen to fourth.
The result gave Lazio the perfect opportunity to further their lead in the league, which they duly took. A brilliant Andre Dias goal earned them a 1-0 victory in Sicily, and though the visitors had Giuseppe Biava sent off, they hung on to go four points clear at the top.
A horrendous error by Genoa goalkeeper Eduardo gifted Inter a 1-0 victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. He failed to deal with a speculative long-range shot from Sulley Muntari, allowing Inter to compound Milan’s misery by overtaking their City rivals in the table to now lie second.
Roma finally got back to winning ways against Lecce at the Stadio Olimpico, easing the pressure on Coach Claudio Ranieri. Nicolas Burdisso and Mirko Vucinic ensured a 2-0 victory but it wasn’t all good news for the Giallorossi as skipper Francesco Totti was red-carded after scuffling with Genoa’s Ruben Olivera, who was also dismissed. Totti had to be restrained as he left the pitch, and will now miss next week’s derby against Lazio.
Chievo’s decline continued after being made to settle for a goalless draw against Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Both teams ended with ten men as Parma’s Blerim Dzemaili and Chievo’s Gelson Fernandes were sent off. The point takes Parma out of the relegation zone.
A late Ezequiel Lavezzi winner gave fifth-placed Napoli a 1-0 away win over Brescia, who have now lost five consecutive games, while an even later winner from Giampaolo Pazzini – in the 92nd minute – earned Sampdoria a 1-0 win at Cesena, who have dropped into the relegation zone. Sampdoria are now sixth but there is turmoil off the field after Antonio Cassano clashed with President Riccardo Garrone over the non-appearance of the striker at an awards ceremony last week. His future at the Club is in serious doubt.
At the bottom end of Serie A, Bari are now at the foot of the table after losing 2-0 at home to Udinese. Chilean duo Alexis Sanchez and Mauricio Isla scored the goals for the visitors. There was better news for Cagliari, who rose well clear of the bottom three with a 2-0 home win over Bologna thanks to Nene and Radja Nainggoian goals, but the visitors have slumped to 19th as a result.
Finally, Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic went back to his former club Catania to earn a 0-0 draw, continuing his side’s mini-revival. The Viola were further boosted by the return of Adrian Mutu, who started his first game since January following his nine-month doping ban.
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