Soccer roundup: Lackluster games stalemate top of Serie A
By CHRISTOPHER WARREN
ROME -- AC Milan failed to take advantage of Juventus’ 0-0 home draw against Siena, as the Milanese themselves were held to a goalless draw by Napoli in a game which saw top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off for violent conduct.
It was a poor first half display from the Rossoneri with the only real talking point being Mark van Bommel’s seventh booking of the campaign, meaning he will miss Milan’s match against Udinese next Saturday.
Milan’s best chance of the game came three minutes into the second half when Brazilian Robinho should have scored after he went through one-on-one with Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, but he could only pull a tame shot wide of the near post.
The home team continued to press and De Sanctis was called on again when he smothered an Ibrahimovic shot on the hour mark.
But four minutes later Ibrahimovic was sent off for violent conduct when he appeared to slap Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica.
Milan continued to dominate the possession despite the one man disadvantage but were unable to find the goal that would have taken them to the top of Serie A.
Juventus missed a great opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table as they could only manage a solitary point at home to Siena in a match they were highly tipped to win.
In a cagey contest at the Juventus Arena, it was an inspired performance by the away team’s goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo which earned Siena a well-deserved point and kept the title race wide open.
Meanwhile, third placed Udinese were beaten 3-2 away at Fiorentina.
Udinese scored after 14 minutes through top scorer Antonio Di Natale but Fiorentina levelled from the spot six minutes before half-time through Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic.
Fiorentina took the lead through a Mattia Cassani header eleven minutes into the second half, before Jovetic scored a second penalty six minutes from the end.
Udinese’s Romanian winger Gabriel Andrei Torje scored in the 89th minute, but it was not enough to prevent Fiorentina from winning and moving up to tenth in the table and leaving Udinese four points behind Juventus.
Meanwhile, Lazio dropped further behind in the title race as they lost 3-2 against Genoa in the early kick-off at the Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris.
Genoa took the lead through a goal from Argentine striker Rodrigo Sebastian Palacio after he cleverly flicked in a Bosko Jankovic corner kick ten minutes into the game.
It was Jankovic himself who scored Genoa’s second on twenty-five minutes, after good work by Giuseppe Sculli to make it 2-0 to the home team.
Jankovic slotted in his second after only nine seconds of the second half following a stumble from Lazio defender Javier Garrido which put the Serb through on goal to make it 3-0.
Lazio pulled a goal back eight minutes later from the penalty spot through Cristian Ledesma after Senad Lulic was brought down by Giandomenico Mesto.
The away side were beginning to show signs of frustration when Mobido Diakite was sent off nine minutes from time for abusing the referee.
Lazio made the last few minutes uncomfortable for Genoa when Alvaro Gonzalez bundled in to make it 3-2 in the 89th minute, but there was little time for the Biancocelesti to salvage anything from the game allowing Genoa to complete their first home win against Lazio in twenty years.
The defeat leaves Lazio six points behind leaders Juventus, while Genoa stay in ninth place.
Roma dramatically improved their chances of European football next season as they ran out 4-0 winners at home to Inter.
Playing 24 hours after initially scheduled due to heavy snowfall in the capital, Roma took the lead through Juan when he headed in a Francesco Totti corner kick after 13 minutes.
Fabio Borini doubled the home team’s lead just before half-time when he burst into the area before cutting past his marker and to blasting past Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Borini scored his second four minutes into the second half after he beat the offside trap after a pass from Juan before rounding Inter defender Lucio and slotting the ball past Cesar.
Roma completed their emphatic win in the last minute with a Bojan Krkic strike making it 4-0 to the Giallorossi.
Inter have picked up just one point from their last four matches and now lie nine points behind leaders Juventus and just two points ahead of Roma, who have a game in hand.
Elsewhere, Palermo won 2-1 at home to Atalanta, thanks to first half goals from Fabrizio Miccoli and Igor Budan, in a game where Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli was sent off.
Parma ran out 1-2 winners in Chievo while bottom club Novara earned a point at home to Cagliari in a 0-0 draw and Lecce draw 0-0 with Bologna.
Cesena’s home tie with Catania on Saturday was postponed due to the weather.
Full Serie A Results
Cesena P-P Catania
Genoa 3-2 Lazio
AC Milan 0–0 Napoli
Juventus 0–0 Siena
Chievo 1–2 Parma
Palermo 2–1 Atalanta
Fiorentina 3–2 Udinese
Lecce 0–0 Bologna
Novara 0–0 Cagliari
Roma 4-0 Inter