Balotelli scores another late penalty in Milan draw
Inter bounce back from Siena upset with 3-1 home win
Maverick forward Mario Balotelli’s impressive return to Serie A continued when he scored a late penalty for the second straight game yesterday to give new club Milan a 1-1 draw at Cagliari.
The Italy forward won the penalty after being pulled down by Davide Astori and sent Michael Agazzi the wrong way to make it three goals in two games for fifth-placed Milan since his move from Manchester City.
Astori, already booked for a previous foul on Balotelli, was sent off as the Sardinians faded in the second half after dominating the opening 45 minutes and taking the lead with a Victor Ibarbo header.
Palermo and Roma, who fired their coaches after losing their previous games, both failed to win, while the Atalanta-Catania and Parma-Genoa games ended goalless.
Pablo Osvaldo missed a penalty for Roma in their 3-1 defeat at Sampdoria as they remained winless in the new year.
Palermo stayed level on points at the bottom with Siena after drawing 1-1 to Pescara, who are also in the relegation zone.
Alberto Malesani, taking over as Palermo’s third coach of the season following the dismissal of Gian Piero Gasperini, saw his side fall behind to a 73rd-minute header by Birkir Bjarnason.
Diego Fabbrini, signed on loan from Udinese in January, levelled in the 80th minute for the Sicilians who have 18 points from 24 games, three behind Pescara who are 18th in the 20-team table.
Paraguay midfielder Marcelo Estigarribia gave Sampdoria the lead against Roma in the 56th minute as Aurelio Andreazzoli moved into the hot seat on an interim basis following the dismissal of old romantic Zdenek Zeman.
Osvaldo then won a penalty for Roma, insisted on taking it despite protests from the usual taker Francesco Totti and weakly sent it into the arms of Sergio Romero.
That was followed by three goals in five minutes as Gianluca Sansone curled in a free-kick for Sampdoria, Erik Lamela volleyed one back and 19-year-old Argentine Mauro Icardi restored the two-goal lead with a header.
Siena drew 1-1 at Bologna after going ahead through Switzerland midfielder Innocent Emeghara. Panagiotis Kone replied for 15th placed-Bologna, both goals coming in an eight-minute spell before half-time.
Genoa’s point kept them one point clear of the danger zone in 17th place.
Juventus, who beat Fiorentina 2-0 on Saturday, are top, five points clear of Napoli who drew 1-1 at third-placed Lazio, also on Saturday.
In last night’s game, Inter bounced back from their 3-1 upset to Siena by beating Chievo 3-1 at the San Siro.
Antonio Cassano provided the early tonic Inter so badly needed as he found the net after only two minutes.
Inter’s lead didn’t last long, though, as Chievo drew level on 21 minutes, Luca Rigoni heading home from Bojan Jokic’s cross.
Five minutes later, Inter were back in front thanks to defender Andrea Ranocchia who scored with a header after meeting Cassano’s corner.
Inter all but sealed their win with a third goal five minutes into the second half.
Diego Milito produced a fine finish after being set up by fellow Argentine Esteban Cambiasso.
With this win, Inter have leapfrogged city rivals Milan into fourth place on 43 points.
HT: 1-1. Att: 20,968.
Balotelli 82 pen;
HT: 1-0. Att: 15,000.
Red card: Astori (C) 81.
Cassano 2; Ranocchia 26; Milito 50;
HT: 2-1. Att: 37,886.
HT: 0-0. Att: 13,316.
Estigarribia 56; Sansone 73; Icardi 77;
HT: 0-0. Att: 22,822.
Missed penalty: Osvaldo (R) 69.
HT: 1-0. Att: 12,000.
18 goals: Cavani (Napoli).
15 goals: El Shaarawy (Milan).
14 goals: Di Natale (Udinese).
11 goals: Osvaldo (Roma), Lamela (Roma).
Friday: 20.45 Milan vs Parma.
Saturday: 18.00 Chievo vs Palermo. 20.45 Roma vs Juventus.
Sunday: 15.00 Catania vs Bologna; Genoa vs Udinese; Napoli vs Sampdoria; Pescara vs Cagliari; Torino vs Atalanta. 20.45 Fiorentina vs Inter.
Monday: 20.45 Siena vs Lazio.
Prima Divisione ‘A’
Carpi vs SudTirol 0-2; Como vs Reggiana 2-0; Cuneo vs Trapani 0-1; Lumezzane vs Cremonese 2-1; San Marino vs Portogruaro 2-0; Treviso vs AlbinoLeffe 2-1; Tritium vs Lecce 0-3; Entella vs Pavia 2-1.
Leading standings: Lecce 40; Trapani 39; SudTirol 36; San Marino, Entella 34; Lumezzane 32; Carpi 31; Pavia 29; FeralpiSalo 27.
Prima Divisione ‘B’
Andria vs Catanzaro 0-0; Barletta vs Avellino 2-3; Benevento vs Carrarese 1-0; Gubbio vs Paganese 1-0; Latina vs Viareggio 1-0; Nocerina vs Frosinone 1-0; Prato vs Sorrento 1-2. Today – Pisa vs Perugia.
Leading standings: Latina 40; Avellino 38; Nocerina 36; Frosinone 31; Pisa, Perugia 30; Benevento 29; Prato, Viareggio 26.