Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mid-Week Action in Serie A

Match Day 21 in the 2008/09 Serie A season took place today, and it was anything but dull.

Close to home, Roma Captain Francisco Totti made his first appearance of 2009, playing for 84 minutes in today's match against Palermo, and scoring a goal in the 24th minute. The Sicilian side's Edison Cavani got the equalizer in the 31st minute, but a Matteo Brighi goal in the 45th minute gave Roma the winner and another 3 points in their effort to finish in the top four and secure a spot in next year's Champions League. Speaking of the Champions League, the return of Totti is great news for the Eternal City's side as they prepare to take on a flailing Arsenal in the knockout stage.

Meanwhile in Milano, David Beckham proved his worth to A.C. Milan when he scored a goal in the 33rd minute in today's 1-1 draw with Genoa. This was Beckham's second goal during his "loan" from the L.A. Galaxy to Milan, and only heightens the speculation that the loan will turn into a true transfer before the MLS season starts. The good news for Beckham and his quest to be on England's 2010 World Cup squad was the fact that Fabio Capello, coach of The Three Lions, was at the San Siro for today's match. However, Beckham did incur a abductor injury today, but he does expect to be match ready this Sunday when the Rossoneri travel to Roma to take on S.S. Lazio.

After a rough start to 2009, table leaders Internazionale a/k/a Inter Milan had an impressive 2-0 victory down in Sicily against Walter Zenga's Catania Calcio. Inter's Dejan Stankovic got proceedings started early when he scored in the 5th minute and the always dangerous Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the icing on the cake when he found the back of the net in the 71st minute. Oh yeah, the Special One a/k/a Jose Mourinho was banished to the stands today for arguing with the referee during Inter's lackluster 1-nil victory over Sampdoria on Sunday. With today's win, Inter picked up some breathing room in the race for the Scudetto thanks to Udinese's 2-1 victory over Juventus.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Cagliari continued its good form in a 1-nil victory over Siena; Chievo Verona and Lecce settled for a 1-1 draw; Sampdoria crushed Lazio 3-1; Fiorentina picked up 3 points against a stumbling Napoli thanks to a 2-1 victory; Bologna rebounded from last week's loss to Milan with a 1-nil victory against Atalanta; and Torino's effort to avoid relegation was barely helped by today's nil-nil draw with bottom of the table Reggina.

After Match Day 21, Inter still reigns supreme on the table with 49 points, but Juve is only 6 points behind. Milan has a firm hold on third place with 41 points, while Genoa's hold on fourth place is threatened by Roma, who are only one point behind.

Today's matches, this weekend's matches, and other news out of Serie A and Italy will be discussed in this coming week's episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A.

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