Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

The big news at the top was Torino’s come from behind win away at Sampdoria on Friday night, a result that saw them leading the division along with Padova after their 4-2 win at Empoli. Empoli fired coach Alfredo Aglietti after the match, replacing him with Giuseppe Pillon.

Il Toro inflicted Sampdoria’s first defeat of the season in a tight game that was decided by Rolando Bianchi’s third goal of the season. Andrea Costa had put the hosts in front but Romanian Under-21 player Sergiu Suciu scored his first goal for the club to level before half-time. Cristian Bertani’s move from Novara in the summer continues to puzzle after another excellent performance by the 30 year old; he failed to add to his five goal tally but was a constant threat.

Torino won it after Alessandro Parisi played a quick ball up the left flank to Mirko Antenucci who cut in to feed Bianchi. Sampdoria paid the price for Costa’s poor defending in the lead up to the goal, while Giampiero Ventura’s Torino continues to look favourites for automatic promotion.

The sixty-three year old coach’s former side, Bari were in action on Saturday, beating Livorno 1-0. The Galletti continue to hold a hoodoo over the Tuscan side, recording their 13th home win in 19 meetings. Despite the sunny weather the lead up to the match was shadowed by a financial cloud that will see Bari penalized two points for failing to pay income tax and player’s wages between April and June of this year. Claudio Garzelli, managing director of Bari said on Friday, “We weren’t able to fulfill the obligations imposed by the League. Despite working hard over the past two months, we were unable to find the necessary funding.”

Online publication ‘Bari Today’ felt the failure from the Matarrese family who own the Puglian Club was a clear indication they wanted to sell, and described the situation as, “a total lack of corporate planning…without any clear goal or solution.”

Just over 5000 fans turned up to the 58,000 seater San Nicola to watch Bari record successive victories for the first time this season, and it was no less than the hosts deserved after a sub-standard performance from Livorno.

One point of interest was Simone Barone’s part in the game, the Livorno midfielder was a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, contributing thirty-eight minutes to the Azzurri’s fourth trophy. The 33 year-old was playing for Palermo when added to Italy’s squad, but his fortunes have slipped dramatically since that memorable night in Germany.

Barone moved to Torino for the start of the 2006/7 season and went on to make 68 starts in three seasons for Il Toro scoring two goals, before the club was relegated at the end of 2008/9. A move to Cagliari followed last season but Barone managed only six starts despite making the matchday squad for the entire campaign. As his ability to influence the game waned so did his value and subsequently joined Livorno on a free this summer.

On Saturday he was subbed off after 54 minutes following an anonymous display in the cavernous San Nicola in an atmosphere generously described as flat. Not that life in Serie B is so bad, though five years ago Barone had his hands on the World Cup after, granted, watching his teammates play in front of 69,000 in the Olympiastadion in Berlin. The heart wrenching tale of a professional footballer eh?

This week is really two weeks as there were mid-week games for all the sides in the second tier so here’s a slap-dash, crash-bang-wallop round up.

Padova lost their first of the season away at Albinoleffe, tut tut. Brescia scored a late equalizer at home to newly promoted Gubbio while Pescara followed up their 5-3 win with a draw at Sassuolo. Sampdoria couldn’t score a second against Verona and shared the points, while Bari made it three in a row away at Crotone. Financial trouble? Pish! Win Win Win. Unbelievably, joining Bari at the ménage à trois buffet were this column’s favourite, Juve Stabia. Piero Braglia won’t be getting too excited, but the coach has banked a valuable nine points after wins against Pescara at home then successive away victories against Reggina and Nocerina.

Torino went three points clear at the top after a turgid match at the Olimpico. Grosseto, unbeaten before the game showed their ambition, defending with ten men in their own half for 78 minutes, desperate not to lose, until our good friend Giampaolo Calvarese sent off substitute Luigi Consonni. From the resulting free-kick Angelo Iorio scored a splendid diving header, but unfortunately for the centre-half it was in the wrong net. Grosseto lamented and cursed, but perhaps it was the footballing gods teaching them if you’re going to drag 30 fans 500 kilometres up to Turin on a Wednesday night you should at least dignify them with an attack.

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