Sports

Serie A Recap, Week #29: Roma rejoice and Lazio flop

230033917-12f2bbf8-8bbc-4ec5-a703-efea579fd75bJuventus remained on course to defend their Serie A title with a 2-0 away win to Bologna as challengers Napoli stayed nine points behind with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Atalanta on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Francesco Totti scored Roma’s second, and his 226th in Serie A, to help his side to a 2-0 home win over Parma and a jump up two places to sixth and ahead of depleted city rivals Lazio. Totti’s goal means he is alone in second place in the all-time list of scorers in Serie A, one ahead of retired AC Milan great Gunnar Nordahl (225) but still 48 short of Silvio Piola.

Lazio’s torrid month continued, meanwhile, with a 1-0 reverse in snow-hit Turin where a late goal by Jonathas secured what was only Torino’s eighth win of the campaign. The visitors were handicapped when French defender Michael Ciani saw red following a sliding challenge on Brazilian striker Paulo Barreto before the quarter hour. In difficult conditions, Vladimir Petkovic‘s men failed to take the few chances they created and were punished in the end. Lazio have now won only once since a 2-0 defeat of Atalana in mid-January.

Juve’s 20th win of the campaign on Saturday, after second-half goals from Mirko Vucinic and Claudio Marchisio, was overshadowed by a spat after Bologna accused coach Antonio Conte of going over the top with his celebrations. Conte, however, hit back criticising the hostile welcome his club received on their arrival in Bologna.

“I know it might annoy some people when we win but there was no disrespect,” he said. “And let’s discuss more serious matters — people who welcomed us with stones and sticks, people with children in their arms shouting obscenties. These people should be ashamed, not me. If we’re leading the Scudetto race I don’t see why I should not celebrate with my fans.”

Conte said nothing is won yet and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani confirmed that by ending his recent goal drought with a brace in a hard-fought win at the San Paolo which took Napoli to within nine points.

Cavani calmed pre-match nerves with a fourth-minute penalty after a foul on Juan Zuniga by Luigi Giorgi, only for Atalanta to level on the half-hour when Fabio Cannavaro put into his own net.

The Uruguayan struck his second in the 65th minute, his 20th of the season, after pouncing on a loose ball in the area. Napoli were pegged back again when German Denis latched on to a long through ball, held off defender Valon Brehami and rounded Morgan De Sanctis to send the ball past the head of Cannavaro on the goalline. But less than 10 minutes later Goran Pandev sealed the win when he scored Napoli’s third from close range.

“I’m happy for Cavani and for Pandev after their goals but also for securing the three points,” said Mazzarri, who also replied to speculation, reported Saturday by La Gazzetta dello Sport, that Cavani’s failure to score since the end of January was due to relationship problems.

“People’s private lives need to be left well alone,” added the coach. “If he’s doing something which is affecting his job then the club has to intervene, but the lad turns up on time every day to training, works hard and is attentive when we’re discussing tactics.”

Elsewhere, Mario Balotelli scored twice, once from the spot, as AC Milan beat Palermo 2-0 at the San Siro to send the Sicilians back to the bottom of the table. “I’m working well, I’m improving and by working hard I’m sure I can improve a lot,” said Balotelli, who since his move from Manchester City has scored seven goals in six games. “We want to win all our matches from here to the end of the season. I’m here to win and I have to do all I can to make sure this team wins.”

Fiorentina are in fourth place after a 3-2 win over plucky Genoa at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, while Chievo claimed a 2-0 away win at Pescara.

Inter Milan’s trip to Sampdoria was postponed due to harsh weather conditions.

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