Serie B 2012/13 Review: Week 24
Reggina 1 – 1 Verona
Saturday 2nd February
Brescia 0 – 0 Spezia
Cittadella 2 – 2 Crotone
Grosseto 1 – 1 Padova
Livorno 2 – 0 Pro Vercelli
Novara 0 – 1 Cesena
Sassuolo 1 – 1 Empoli
Ternana 0 – 0 Bari
Varese 2 – 0 Modena
Vicenza 1 – 2 Juve Stabia
Monday 4th February
Sassuolo’s lead at the top of Serie B has been cut to a solitary point after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Empoli while Livorno were busy claiming maximum points at home to Pro Vercelli.
The Neroverdi were force to play on a swamp of a pitch for the second weekend in succession and struggled to break through the Tuscan’s defence in a tight first half. The visitors thought they had broken the deadlock prior to the break when Francesco Tavano tucked in a neat finish, but he was wrongly adjudged to have been offside. Sassuolo edged in front with just over 20 minutes remaining, with Emanuele Terranova converting from the penalty spot after Francesco Magnanelli was felled in the area, but superb header from Vasco Regini ten minutes later saw Empoli claim a deserved point.
Livorno meanwhile were offered a stern test by a dogged Pro Vercelli side that at times threatened to spring an upset, but found Amaranto keeper Vincenzo Fiorillo once again in superlative form. With the match looking like ending in a frustrating draw for the hosts, Livorno finally edged in front through Paulinho’s precise header with just under 20 minutes left on the clock, before Luca Siligardi made sure of the points in the 82nd minute with a spectacular strike into the bottom corner.
It was a result that extended Livorno’s lead over third place Verona to four points after they too were held to 1-1 draw by Reggina in the Friday evening fixture. A week on from his superb headed winner against Spezia, Daniele Cacia repeated the trick to put Verona ahead inside half an hour, nodding home from six yards after Alessandro Agostini had whipped a teasing cross in from the left. However the home side threatened throughout, and after David Di Michele had crashed a warning shot against the crossbar, Gianmario Comi claimed a deserved equaliser with a looping 73rd minute header.
Varese’s own promotion prospects are firmly back on track thanks to a 2-0 win over Modena. The hosts were dominant from start to finish and deservedly took the lead ten minutes into the second half when Michele Franco slammed the ball home from close range. Pinto Ferreira saw a dipping long range effort rebound off the crossbar, before the lead was eventually doubled through Filipe Gomes’ long range effort.
Elsewhere, Juve Stabia moved up into fifth with a 2-1 win away to Vicenza. Marco Cellini broke the deadlock after half an hour, curling a beautiful right footed effort into the top corner from the edge of the area. Valeri Bojinov drew Vicenza level from the spot on the hour mark after Michele Murolo had handled in the area, but were reduced to ten men two minutes later when Nicolo Brighenti picked up a second yellow of the afternoon. They were made to pay moments later when Riccardo Improta restored the Vespe’s lead with a fine strike from the edge of the box.
Brescia meanwhile missed out on the chance to leapfrog Empoli into sixth following a disappointing goalless draw with Spezia. It was Brescia’s 12th draw of the season – more than any other side in the division – and one they should have won, with Ouasim Bouy somehow hitting the bar from six yards out with an open goal to aim at. Play-off chasing rivals Padova meanwhile salvaged a point against bottom side Grosseto, with Aniello Cutolo’s 96th minute penalty cancelling out Matteo Piccinni’s first half own goal.
Cittadella recovered from two goals down to rescue a point at home to Crotone. First half goals from Mirko Eramo and Lorenzo Crisetig looked to have set the visitors on course for three points, but a stunning strike from Eros Schiavon gave the home side hope with half an hour remaining, before Mohamed Coly turned the ball home from close range in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Further down the table, Cesena recorded back to back wins for the first time this season, bringing Novara’s recent resurgence to a halt in the process. Denis Tonucci grabbed the only goal of the game in the 28th minute with an audacious back heeled flick at the near post following Andrea Tabanelli’s corner. Finally, Ternana and Bari remain on the periphery of the relegation scrap after playing out a goalless draw.
Player of the Week: Francesco Tavano (Empoli)
An ultimately frustrating afternoon nevertheless saw the Empoli forward put in a terrific individual performance. Tavano was denied a perfectly legitimate opener from a neat finish having been harshly ruled offside, and he provided a constant headache for the Sassuolo defence throughout, and with Sassuolo keeper Alberto Pomini tested on more than one occasion.
Goal of the Week: Denis Tonucci (Cesena)
Though not quite as spectacular as Roberto Mancini’s famous back heeled effort for Lazio against Parma in 1999, Cesena’s Denis Tonucci gave a passable impression of the current Manchester City coach’s heroics in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Novara. With 28 minutes played, Tonucci raced towards the back post before turning in Andrea Tabanelli’s corner with an ingenious flicked back heel that left Novara keeper Francesco Bardi completely bemused.
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