Serie B 2012-13 Review: Week 16
Novara 0 – 1 Livorno
Saturday 24th November
Ascoli 0 – 0 Vicenza
Cesena 1 – 1 Spezia
Cittadella 2 – 1 Verona (Postponed after 82 minutes)
Crotone 0 – 1 Padova
Grosseto 2 – 2 Brescia
Juve Stabia 1 – 2 Empoli
Sassuolo 3 – 1 Reggina
Ternana 2 – 2 Virtus Lanciano
Varese 2 – 0 Pro Vercelli
Sunday 25th November
Bari 2 – 0 Modena
Another weekend of high drama in Italy’s second tier saw Sassuolo and Livorno each secure victory, while Verona’s trip to Cittadella was suspended with eight minutes remaining due to thick fog, with the Gialloblu trailing 2-1.
Whether or not that will prove to be a blessing remains to be seen, with second half goals from Eros Schiavon and Robert Maah cancelling out Simon Laner’s headed opener and setting Verona on course for a rare defeat. The two sides will need to reconvene to play out the final eight minutes, and the visitors will be hoping they can catch Cittadella cold and salvage at least a point.
If not, they will find themselves six points adrift of leaders Sassuolo, who survived a tricky first half at home to Reggina to emerge as 3-1 victors. The Neroverdi took an 18th minute lead through Richmond Boakye, who neatly controlled a Simone Missiroli through ball before stabbing the ball beyond the reach of Paolo Baiocco. The Amaranto’s response was instant though, with Fabio Giovanni Ceravolo profiting from poor defending to steer home from close range. Sassuolo edged back in front after half an hour with Gennaro Troianiello firing in off the crossbar, and when Boakye drilled in a third from the edge of the area shortly after the restart, there was only going to be one winner. In truth, how Sassuolo failed to add to their tally was a mystery, and Leonardo Pavoletti will spend the rest of his career wondering how he failed to miss from three yards out with an entire open goal to aim at.
It was a far less comfortable weekend for Livorno though, who needed an injury time strike from Paulinho to see off a stubborn Novara on Friday evening. It looked as though a routine win would be on the cards when Francesco Bardi was forced into a fine save by Emerson’s free kick, but in truth this was one of Novara’s better performances of the season. Pablo Andres Gonzalez was a constant menace and forced a fine first half save from Vincenzo Fiorillo, while Ahmed Apimah Barusso almost broke the deadlock with an acrobatic overhead kick that sailed just wide. Matthias Lepiller saw an effort hit the base of the post as Novara sensed an unlikely victory was on the cards, but they were broken with virtually the last kick of the game as Paulinho steered in Simone Salviato’s cross.
Elsewhere, Padova moved into fourth with a hard fought 1-0 win over Crotone, Diego Farias firing the only goal of the game into the bottom corner from 25 yards out in the first half. Dropping a place into fifth were Juve Stabia, who despite taking an early lead through Fabio Caserta’s terrific half volley were deservedly beaten by a superior Empoli side, with Francesco Tavano and Riccardo Saponara grabbing the late goals that gave the Tuscans a sixth win in seven.
Sixth place Brescia endured a frustrating afternoon having twice been pegged back away to bottom club Grosseto. Andrea Caracciolo slammed the visitors in front from the penalty spot inside the opening two minutes, with Ferdinando Sforzini’s excellent header restoring parity ten minutes later. Alberto Scaglia rifled home from close range in the 18th minute to restore Brescia’s lead, before a Pompeu Ronaldo free kick into the area found an unmarked Samuele Olivi at the back post, who headed in with ease. Grosseto almost claimed all three points in the second half, with Daniele Quadrini’s ferocious free kick from distance rebounding off the crossbar.
Varese moved level on points with Brescia thanks to a 2-0 win over Pro Vercelli. A debatable straight red shown to Francesco Cosenza for a foul on Daniele Martinetti saw the visitors reduced to ten men inside the opening three minutes, although Osarimen Ebagua’s poor penalty was well saved by Alex Valentini. However, Varese’s incessant first half pressure paid off when Enis Nadarevic volleyed home on the stroke of half time, while Ebagua spared his own blushes by bundling home his side’s second in the 65th minute.
An entertaining encounter between Ternana and Virtus Lanciano finished all square, Gianluca Litteri heading the hosts in front before Domenico Di Cecco levelled shortly before half time. Luigi Vitale looked to have secured victory for the hosts with a 73rd minute penalty, but a stunning late equaliser from Luigi Falcone saw the points shared. Elsewhere, Ascoli were unlucky not to take all three points from their goalless draw with Vicenza, with both Marco Fossati and Maurizio Peccarisi hitting the woodwork in the second half.
A late equaliser from Davide Succi saw Cesena claim a point at home to Spezia, who took an early lead through Marco Sansovini before dominating proceedings, only to be punished for their profligacy in front of goal. Finally, two second half penalties from Francesco Caputo gave Bari victory over Modena, who were hampered by the dismissal of goalkeeper Simone Colombi.
Player of the Week: Richmond Boakye (Sassuolo)
It is often all too easy to forget that Juventus loanee Richmond Boakye is only 19-years-old, given just how commanding a presence he is at the heart of the Sassuolo forward line. The Ghanaian has been giving Serie B defences a torrid time throughout the current campaign, and Saturday’s performance against Reggina was no exception, with his two goals demonstrating power, control and a lethal eye for a finish.
Goal of the Week: Luigi Falcone (Virtus Lanciano)
With seven draws so far this season, Virtus Lanciano are proving to be stubborn opposition for a number of sides this season, and the goal that secured a late point against Ternana came courtesy of a touch of genius from Lecce loanee Luigi Falcone. With Ternana defending desperately and with goalkeeper Stefano Ambrosi stranded, Falcone lifted a first time effort over no fewer than eight Ternana players and into the top corner.
Save of the Week: Alberto Pomini (Sassuolo)
Sassuolo’s relentless form this season is as much down to a solid defence as it is a rampant forward line, with just eight goals conceded in 16 matches, and with a goalkeeper of the quality of Alberto Pomini, it is not hard to see why. With the score at 0-0, Pomini produced a masterful diving save to deny a point blank header from Gianmario Comi, allowing Boakye to put them ahead moments later.
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