Juventus go clear as Balotelli lifts Milan
Two classy first-half goals gave Juventus a 2-1 win at Chievo yesterday, restoring their three-point lead at the top of Serie A as Mario Balotelli enjoyed a dream debut with a brace in Milan’s controversial 2-1 home win over Udinese.
Alessandro Matri volleyed home after 10 minutes and Switzerland defender Stephan Lichtsteiner finished a well-worked move three minutes before half-time for Juventus whose new signing Nicolas Anelka was left on the bench.
Balotelli, who joined Milan last week, took centre-stage on his debut when firing the Rossoneri ahead with a firm volley on 25 minutes.
Udinese hit back strongly and they deservedly drew level at the start of the second half through Giampiero Pinzi.
With the match seemingly heading to a draw, Milan grabbed the winner in the second minute of stoppage time in highly controversial circumstances.
Udinese’s Thomas Herteaux was harshly judged by referee Paolo Valeri to have upended Stephan El Shaarawy inside the area when TV replays clearly showed the defender had made contact with the ball.
Balotelli, who earlier came close from a free-kick, stepped up to take the penalty and cooly slotted the ball home to earn Milan a priceless victory that lifts them to fourth place, level on points with neighbours Inter.
Inter produced a dire performance in a 3-1 loss at table-propping Siena which left coach Andrea Stramaccioni fuming.
There were three goals in a four-minute first-half spell as Siena’s debutant Innocent Emeghara tapped in from close range, Antonio Cassano levelled almost immediately and Alessio Sestu put the hosts back in front with a long-range effort.
Siena wrapped things up 10 minutes after the re-start, Inter’s Cristian Chivu hauled down Emeghara, was sent off and Alessandro Rossina converted the penalty.
Lazio also lost touch after going down to Genoa in a thriller.
Marco Rigoni headed in from a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage-time to give Genoa a 3-2 win over third-placed Lazio, who slumped to their second successive league defeat despite coming back from two goals behind.
Marco Borriello and Andrea Bertolacci struck in a six-minute spell in the first half to put Genoa in control before Sergio Floccari pulled one back and Stefano Mauri levelled with an 82nd-minute penalty.
Siena’s win took them off the bottom of the table on goal difference from Palermo who lost 2-1 at home to Atalanta, despite fielding four new signings.
Both teams have 17 points, three adrift of Pescara who twice led but lost 3-2 at home to Bologna in a game of three penalties.
Vladimir Weiss won and converted the first for Pescara on the half hour mark Alessandro Diamanti replied four minutes later with another spot-kick and the third was converted by Gaetano D’Agostino for the hosts on the stroke of half-time with Weiss injured.
Second-half goals from Alberto Gilardino and Panagiotis Kone sent Pescara to a fourth straight defeat.
Matri 10; Lichtsteiner 42;
HT: 0-2. Att: 25,000.
Toni 27; Jovetic 50;
HT: 1-0. Att: 20,506.
Borriello 16; Bertolacci 22;
Floccari 58; Mauri 82 pen; Rigoni 90;
HT: 2-0. Att: 18,000.
Balotelli 25, 90 pen;
HT: 1-0. Att: 55,000.
Carmona 54; Denis 72;
HT: 0-0. Att: 23,306.
Weiss 30 pen; D’Agostino 45 pen;
Diamanti 34 pen; Gilardino 50; Kone 66;
HT: 2-1. Att: 11,000.
Emeghara 21; Sestu 25; Rosina 55 pen;
HT: 2-1. Att: 12,130.
Red card: Chivu (I) 55.
18 goals: Cavani (Napoli).
15 goals: El Shaarawy (Milan).
14 goals: Di Natale (Udinese).
11 goals: Osvaldo (Roma).
Saturday: 18.00 Juventus vs Fiorentina. 20.45 Lazio vs Napoli.
Sunday: 12.30 Parma vs Genoa. 15.00 Atalanta vs Catania; Bologna vs Siena; Cagliari vs Milan; Palermo vs Pescara; Sampdoria vs Roma; Udinese vs Torino. 20.45 Inter vs Chievo.
Prima Divisione ‘A’
AlbinoLeffe vs Cuneo 2-1; Cremonese vs Carpi 3-2; Lecce vs Treviso 2-1; Pavia vs San Marino 0-1; Portogruaro vs Como 2-2; Reggiana vs FeralpiSalo 1-4; Trapani vs V. Entella 0-0. Today – SudTirol vs Lumezzane
Leading standings: Lecce 37; Trapani 36; V. Entella, Carpi, San Marino 31; SudTirol 30; Lumezzane, Pavia 29; FeralpiSalo 27; Cremonese 25.
Prima Divisione ‘B’
Avellino vs Benevento 0-2; Catanzaro vs Paganese 2-1; Frosinone vs Prato 1-1; Nocerina vs Barletta 4-0; Perugia vs Andria 2-0; Pisa vs Gubbio 1-0; Sorrento vs Latina 1-2; Viareggio vs Carrarese 3-2.
Leading standings: Latina 40; Avellino 35; Nocerina 33; Frosinone 31; Perugia, Pisa 30; Prato, Viareggio, Benevento 26; Paganese 25.