The international break may have deprived Europe from its top flight domestic football this weekend but Seire B was still there with a full complement of fixtures. Three teams all looking for promotion this year did nothing to harm their chances managing impressive victories that will certainly help their push towards Italy’s top division.
Livorno have not found life in Serie B easy after their demotion last year, although they have been scoring goals they have been conceding them just as quickly. Last week the Tuscan side demolished Ascoli in a game that saw them reach their full potential, this week saw them reach those heights again as they beat Cittadella 3-0. The first half of this match had been fairly quiet until Daniele Dalla Bona was sent off for the away team for his second bookable offence. This changed the game and on 44 minutes Romano Perticone connected with a flick on header to make it 1-0. The second was scored ten minutes after half time, this time it was Francesco Tavano’s turn and he took on and beat two defenders before calmly slotting home. The third and final goal was scored in bizarre fashion; a free kick from the left deflected off the wall to the edge of the box, Manuel Iori ran in and stuck the ball which in turn deflected cruelly off a defender and looped over the keeper into the net.
Padova versus Grosseto saw another 3-0 score line in a game that took Padova to an unbeaten record spanning five matches. Daniele Vantaggiato opened the scoring judging a through ball better than the defenders to race through one on one and power the ball home past Antonio Narciso. Two minutes before half time the second goal arrived through Davide Di Gennaro, after some good work holding the ball up in the box he was on hand to smash home from 20 yards out. The game had produced a lot of chances but nobody would have thought that only four minutes after the restart that Davide Di Gennaro would have scored again. This time he skipped past a defender and drove the ball hard towards the near post, the ball squirmed under a despairing Narciso and into the net. At three nil there may have been no way back for Grosetto but this was certainly confirmed on 69 minutes when Andrea Soncin’s penalty was saved by Federico Agliardi. This was a convincing win that see Padova move up to sixth place.
Novara have been the surprise package this season and currently lie amazingly second place, they did their promotion hopes no harm by hammering Portogruaro 5-1 away from home. The away side had suffered their first defeat in the league to Varese last week and were determined to bounce back. Only eight minutes had gone when Cristian Bertani’s cross was met with a close range volley from Pablo Andres Gonzalez for his first of the game. Gonzalez then scored again injecting a huge burst of pace to outrun a defender before delicately chipping over the keeper for two nil, just 14 minutes after his first goal. On 43 minutes he completed an amazing first half hat-trick and in some style, a loose ball on the edge of the box was side footed majestically into the top corner. The second half saw much of the same as Novara attacked from the off, although against the run of play the home side managed to produce one moment to be proud of when a 30 yard strike from Emiliano Tarana crashed against the bar and Cristian Altinier slid in to score from the rebound. Normal service was soon resumed however, as incredibly Novara’s fourth was scored by that man again Pablo Andres Gonzalez, again he outpaced two defenders before rocketing the ball into the roof of the net. The fifth and final goal came in the final minutes when Marco Rigoni converted from the spot.
These games have all showed off some of the best quality there is to offer in Serie B this year and as the push for promotion continues in these early days, results as convincing as these are certainly ones to build on. Livorno are already building a run after winning 5-1 and then 3-0 their trip to Varese next week will be filled with confidence as they will look to record another victory. Padova to have had the best possible spring board to send them into their tricky away match against top of the table Siena, if this result goes Padova’s way then by Monday we could see Novara top of Serie B should they navigate the testing visit of Atalanta. This year’s league is tough at the top and could be one of the closest promotion fights in years, it looks like mistakes can be ill afforded and big results will only be worth while if they can be built on.