Serie B 2012-13 Review: Week 20
Brescia 0 – 0 Livorno
Cesena 1 – 1 Bari
Cittadella 0 – 0 Empoli
Crotone 1 – 0 Varese
Grosseto 0 – 1 Reggina
Novara 2 – 0 Pro Vercelli
Sassuolo 2 – 0 Virtus Lanciano
Spezia 2 – 3 Padova
Ternana 1 – 2 Ascoli
Verona 1 – 0 Juve Stabia
Vicenza 3 – 3 Modena
There was a full fixture list in Serie B on Sunday, with league leaders Sassuolo kicking off the festive period with a richly deserved 2-0 home victory over Virtus Lanciano. A plucky performance saw the visitors dominate the opening exchanges without ever really threatening to take the lead, and they were behind after half an hour when Nicola Leali could only parry a Richmond Boakye effort into the path of Simone Missiroli, who scooped the ball home from close range. The points were made safe on the hour mark when Michele Troiano whipped a teasing cross into the area, where an unmarked Leonardo Pavoletti was waiting to nod home with ease. Carlo Mammarella struck the post with a long range free kick for the visitors, but Sassuolo held on for the points.
The Neroverdi are now five points clear of Livorno, who could manage just a goalless draw from their trip to Brescia. The hosts were gifted the chance of an opener in the eleventh minute when Daniele Corvia was felled in the area by Emerson, but Andrea Caracciolo’s weak spot kick was easily parried away by Vincenzo Fiorillo. Alessandro Budel struck the post with a free kick as the hosts continued to look likliest to open the scoring. However, with an hour played, Antonio Caracciolo pulled down Fabio Daprela in the box to give Livorno a chance to snatch all three points, but Michele Arcari produced a heroic double save to deny Federico Dionisi first from the spot before reacting quickly to push the Amaranto forward’s rebound effort away to safety and secure a valuable point for the hosts.
Livorno’s failure to win meant that Verona were able to close the gap on the top two to just four points with a 1-0 win over play-off hopefuls Juve Stabia. The Vespe almost took the lead against the run of play through Mezavilla, but Rafael produced a miraculous save to steer his effort away to safety off the upright. Another fine intervention saw an Antonio Zito volley tipped wide of the post as the Gialloblu held on at the break. Those saves proved crucial in the second half when Daniele Cacia slammed home the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to secure a vital three points for the home side.
Those points could prove vital come the end of the season after fourth placed Varese slipped to a surprising last minute defeat at the hands of Crotone, leaving them ten points adrift of the top three. Varese had won four of their last five heading into this weekend but, having been largely outplayed, they could have few complaints when Denilson Gabionetta headed home an 89th minute winner for the hosts.
No fewer than four sides are now level on 29 points with Varese following the latest round of fixtures. Modena came from behind three times to salvage a point from a remarkable game with Vicenza, Simone Gozzi heading home from close range with five minutes remaining of a breathless encounter to secure a 3-3 draw. Elsewhere, a first half brace from Diego Farias and an Aniello Cutolo strike saw Padova secure a narrow 3-2 win away at Spezia. Meanwhile Empoli slipped out of the play off places following a goalless draw with Cittadella,
Further down the table, Novara moved out of the relegation zone having picked up their third straight win courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Pro Vercelli. Romano Perticone put the Bianoazzurri ahead after 11 minutes, while club captain Pablo Andres Gonzalez made sure of the points from the penalty spot in the second minute of injury time. Bottom side Grosseto meanwhile were left eight points adrift of safety after a late Gianmario Comi effort gave Reggina a narrow victory.
Ascoli came from behind to secure a 2-1 win away at Ternana, with a Simone Zaza effort and a Riccardo Brosco own goal cancelling out the half time lead given to the hosts by Raffaele Angelo Nole. It finished all square between Cesena and Bari though, with Nicola Bellomo securing a point for the visitors in the second half of a game that saw no fewer than three red cards.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevertonFC_84