Friday, April 03, 2020
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With Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all set to face Italian competition in the next phase of the Champions League, the English spotlight is now on Serie A - the Premiership’s predecessor as the richest and most powerful league in Europe.  

 

Whereas the English clubs get set for a busy festive schedule, their Mediterranean counterparts are off on their winters hol’s. This weekend’s action concluded the Italian league programme until January 10/11. 

 

One person not welcoming the break is Jose Mourinho, with the fiery Portuguese saying he cannot be happy without football. However, the fact that the three week sabbatical will interrupt Inter’s momentum of eight straight domestic victories, is more likely to be what's getting his goat.  

 

Saturday evening saw his side notch another somewhat fortuitous win at Siena.  

 

Although Siena are languishing in the lower regions of the table this is no way owing to their form at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.  

 

Inter’s victory came courtesy of a Maicon brace and was the Florentine side’s first home defeat of the season. Coupled with this, Maicon’s opener was the first goal they had conceded at home from open play this term. 

 

On Sunday Juventus ensured that although Inter are Winter Champions their lead is not unassailable, with a 3-1 victory at Atalanta.  

 

Alessandro Del Peiro continued his marvelous vein of form as he tapped in the opener after some woeful defending in the 29th minute.  

 

The Bianconeri extended their lead before the break, through Nicola Legrottaglie, but the introduction of the creaking joints of Christian Vieri at half-time proved a master-stroke as the aged-marksman rifled home a header just three minutes after the break.  

 

In spit of a couple of nervy moments the victory was sealed by Amauri in the 79th minute, as he nodded home a simple header from 6-yards.  

 

It was left to Milan to notch up the weekend’s most emphatic scoreline as they put paid to an Udinese side all at sea at the moment. The match at the San Siro began with the unveiling of David Beckham. The former England captain received a mixed reception with some less than welcoming banners draped about the stadium and polite smatterings of applause barely masking out the jeers.  

 

A frenetic start saw Milan 3-1 up with only 18 minutes played. It was a mixture of the old and new as the goals came courtesy of 19-year-old Alexandre Pato and 32-year-old Clarence Seedorf. A brace from the comparatively middle-aged Kaka sealed the 5-1 rout.  

 

Elsewhere, Roma’s run of eight straight victories came to an end in an ill-tempered affair at Catania. Animosity has been growing between the two sides and it was the corresponding fixture last season that ended Roma’s title hopes.  

 

The Giallorossi didn’t fare much better this time around and were 3-0 behind by the hour mark, thanks to the young Japanese striker, Takayuki Morimoto. The 20-year-old has been compared to a young (fat) Ronaldo in terms of his strength, speed and ability to finish; and he reinforced this notion by bagging himself a goal-poacher’s brace. 

 

Although Roma rallied late on to claw back two goals thorugh Jeremy Menez and Mirko Vucinic, it was too little too late.  

 

To add injury to insult the game saw Roma’s captain, Francesco Totti, strechered off with a thigh injury, making him a doubt for the Champions League tie with Arsenal. 

 

Results: Siena 1-2 Inter Milan, Lazio 1-0 Palermo, Torino 1-0 Napoli, Sampdoria 0-1 Fiorentina, Lecce 0-0 Bologna, Chievo 0-1 Genoa, Catania 3-2 Roma, Cagliari 1-1 Reggina, Atalanta 1-3 Juventus, AC Milan 5-1 Udinese

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