Published On: Sun, Dec 16th, 2012

Serie B 2012-13 Review: Week 19

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Friday 14th December

2 – 1

Saturday 15th December

Bari 1 – 3 Novara
2 – 0
Juve Stabia 2 – 2 Cesena
3 – 0 Crotone
1 – 3 Sassuolo
Pro Vercelli 0 – 0 Verona
3 – 0 Grosseto (Postponed after 82 minutes)
1 – 1

Monday 17th December

Ascoli –
Reggina – Cittadella

League leaders Sassuolo strolled to a comfortable victory against Padova on Saturday afternoon, restoring the three point advantage temporarily lost after Livorno had come from behind to beat Ternana on Friday.

It took the Neroverdi just 12 minutes to find the net, with Emanuele Terranova planting home a header from six yards out having met Francesco Magnanelli’s in-swinging corner. The lead was doubled just four minutes later, with Thiago Cionek turning Tomasso Bianchi’s wayward shot into his own net. Padova rallied and went close shortly before half time when Andrea Raimondi headed against the post, but more woeful defending on the hour mark allowed Simone Missiroli to pick out an unmarked Richmond Boakye in the box, who slammed the ball home to put the result beyond doubt. The hosts pulled one back through a fine strike from Diego Farias, before a miserable afternoon was compounded by the dismissal of Francesco Renzetti.

A sluggish start saw Livorno deservedly fall behind to Ternana after 23 minutes of their Friday evening encounter, with Pasquale Daniele Fazio reacting quickly to turn the ball in from six yards out following a drilled effort from Antonio Ragusa. A slice of good fortune saw the Amaranto draw level on the stroke of half time however, with Luca Siligardi’s mishit strike deflected into his own net by Riccardo Brosco. The visitors continued to impress during the second half and came close to reclaiming the lead when Ragusa struck the base of the post, but they were beaten by a moment of magic with 15 minutes remaining, as Siligardi curled a stunning free kick into the top corner.

It was a miserable week for Verona though. After failing to salvage anything from the rearranged final eight minutes of their trip to Cittadella on Wednesday, the Gialoblu were held to a hugely damaging goalless draw by Pro Vercelli, leaving them six points adrift of the top two. It was not for the want of trying however. Emil Hallfredsson saw a volley from the edge of the area tipped around the post by Alex Valentini, while Alessandro Carrozza should have done better with a free header from close range. The result could have been worse had Rafael failed to get fingertips to a blistering effort from Pietro Iemmello, but coach Andrea Mandorlini would surely have expected better from his side, whose form is dipping at just the wrong time.

Rapidly closing the gap on Verona are fourth place Varese, who were well on course for a fourth straight win before their clash with Grosseto was suspended due to fog with eight minutes remaining. Two close range headers from Loris Damonte underlined the home side’s dominance in the first half, while Daniele Martinetti added a third shortly after the restart to put the result beyond doubt. With visibility worsening, the decision was made to suspend play with eight minutes left on the clock, much to the frustration of the Varese players. A date has yet to be set for the resumption of the tie, but barring an extraordinary collapse, the result will take Fabrizio Castori’s men to within four points of Verona.

Modena moved back up to fifth with a resounding 3-0 win over Crotone. A goal in either half from Matteo Ardemagni and a third from Dejan Lazarevic set the Canarini on course for the three points, although goalkeeper Simone Colombi certainly played his part with a string of fine saves. Elsewhere, Empoli moved into a play-off place for the first time this season with a 2-0 win over Vicenza. The Tuscan side failed to win any of their opening nine fixtures of the campaign, but second half goals from Lorenzo Tonelli and Franco Signorelli secured an eighth win in 10, and such impressive form should see Maurizio Sarri’s side continue to push for promotion during the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, Juve Stabia’s play-off aspirations were dealt a blow by Cesena, who twice came from behind to secure a valuable point in their own quest to beat the drop. A half-volley from Adriano Mezavilla put the Vespe ahead four minutes into the second half, with Davide Succi levelling from the penalty spot 15 minutes later. Mezavilla headed his and Juve Stabia’s second of the match 14 minutes from time, only for Succi to secure his own brace two minutes later. It finished all square too between newly promoted sides Virtus Lanciano and Spezia, with a second half strike from Spezia’s Stefano Okaka cancelling out Nadir Minotti’s earlier effort.

Finally, Novara secured back to back wins for the first time this season thanks to a 3-1 away win over Bari. The Piedmont outfit’s performances have improved dramatically in recent weeks, and having created the lion’s share of the chances in the first half, they deservedly went ahead early in the second when Daniele Buzzegoli whipped a stunning free kick into the top corner. Agon Mehmeti doubled the advantage on the hour mark with a fine strike from inside the area, and though Bari soon pulled one back through Francesco Fedato, Pablo Andres Gonzalez made sure of the points with a composed penalty 15 minutes from time.

Player of the Week: Matteo Ardemagni (Modena)

Almost a decade has passed since Modena last played in Serie A, but the Canarini are looking well placed for a sustained promotion push as the winter break approaches, thanks in no small part to the goals of Atalanta loanee Matteo Ardemagni. The 25-year-old has bagged 11 goals during the current campaign, and the two he claimed during his side’s 3-0 win over Crotone were of the highest quality. Controlling with his left before steering in with his right to open the scoring, Ardemagni all but secured the points for his side with a clinical second half strike that also secured him a second brace of the season.

Goal of the Week: Luca Siligardi (Livorno)

Former Inter midfielder Luca Siligardi is proving himself a goal scorer of some distinction with a string of superb strikes this season, the latest of which came courtesy of a stunning free kick against Ternana. His game clinching free kick against Ternana was a combination of power and precision, as he curled a powerful left footed effort into the top corner from distance that left Ternana keeper Alberto Brignoli rooted to the spot.

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevertonFC_84

About the Author

- A lifelong, twenty-something Evertonian, I fell in love with Calcio in the late nineties thanks to Channel 4’s superlative coverage. Essentially neutral as far as Italian sides go, I have however always held an affection for both AC Milan and Fiorentina, and as a supporter of a perenially struggling side, an empathy towards any 'one season wonders' battling heroically to stay in Serie A against the odds - a tradition dating back to Salernitana's ill-fated 98/99 campaign. I recently gained an NCTJ accredited qualification in journalism, and am hoping to one day break into the world of sports writing as a profession.

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