Published On: Sun, Nov 18th, 2012

Serie B 2012-13 Review: Week 15

Friday 16th November

Verona 1-1 Cesena

Saturday 17th November

Empoli 3-2 Grosseto
Livorno 2-0 Varese
Modena 1-1 Ascoli
Padova 3-1 Cittadella
Pro Vercelli 0-2 Crotone
Reggina 1-1 Ternana
Spezia 2-3 Juve Stabia
Vicenza 2-1 Novara
Virtus Lanciano 0-3 Bari

Sunday 18th November

Brescia 1-1 Sassuolo

Verona kicked off the weekend on Friday evening hoping to go level on points with league leaders Sassuolo, but a second half Damjan Djokovic equaliser saw them held at home by lowly Cesena. There was no mistaking these side’s respective league positions during the opening exchanges, with Verona piling on the early pressure and deservedly taking the lead through Emanuel Benito Rivas’ clinical finish. However, once Andrea Cocco saw a close range effort ruled out for a debatable offside decision, a seemingly galvanised Cesena took advantage and Djokovic curled a delightful effort from distance into the top corner. The Gialloblu then pushed for a winner that ultimately failed to arrive, leaving them to rue two vital dropped points.

The result meant that Livorno could draw level with Verona with a victory on Saturday afternoon, and they duly obliged with a 2-0 win at home to Varese. A terrific run and cross from Pasquale Schiattarella presented Luca Belingheri with the chance to head in an early opener and set the Amaranto on course for a tenth win of the campaign, but keeper Vincenzo Fiorillo had to be at his best to deny Daniele Martinetti an almost certain equaliser from point blank range. With the visitors pushing for a point, a swift break up field saw Luca Siligardi tap home in the first minute of stoppage time having been played in by Belingheri, securing a valuable win for the hosts.

Sassuolo therefore went into their Sunday afternoon encounter with Brescia knowing that a win would see them edge five points clear at the top of the table. That looked to be on the cards once a dominant Neroverdi edged into a 26th minute lead courtesy of Richmond Boakye’s clinical strike from the edge of the area, but Alessandro Calori’s men have improved markedly in recent weeks and they levelled just three minutes later through Daniele Corvia’s close range tap in. Sassuolo keeper Alberto Pomini claimed with some justification to have been fouled by Corvia during the build up to the goal, but there could be few arguments that Brescia were not deserving of a point,  with both sides pushing for all three during an entertaining second half. Nevertheless, it finished all square, with the home side surely the happier of the two.

While the top three continue to pull away, the battle for a play-off place is also gathering pace with just five points separating Juve Stabia in fourth and Spezia in tenth, and a terrific encounter between those two sides was only settled in the Vespe’s favour thanks to a late winner from Stefano Dicuonzo. It was the visitors that drew first blood five minutes before the break, with Tomas Danilevicius glancing a header beyond the reach of Alessandro Iacobucci. The home side drew level through Marco Sansovini’s acrobatic overhead kick shortly before the hour mark, only for Danilevicius to steer Juve Stabia back in front from close range. Mirco Antenucci looked to have secured a point for Spezia with a composed finish five minutes from time, but it was Dicuonzo who had the final say, reacting quickest during a goalmouth scramble to snatch all three points.

Elsewhere, a defensive calamity saw Simone Zaza put Ascoli ahead against the run of play away to fifth placed Modena, with the home side deservedly levelling on the stroke of half time through Biagio Pagano. Matteo Ardemagni could have given the hosts all three points in the second half, but his weak penalty was easily saved by Enrico Guarna. It was a much better afternoon for Padova though, who secured a 3-1 win at home to Cittadella with two late goals from Andrea Raimondi. An impressive finish from Aniello Cutolo put Padova ahead inside the opening five minutes, but they were pegged back by a Niccolo Giannetti strike in the second half. However, a stunning strike in the last minute of normal time and a close range effort in the 95th from Raimondi gave Padova the points in thrilling fashion.

A run of five wins from the last six has seen Empoli go from relegation fodder to an outside bet for the play-offs, with the latest triumph coming courtesy of a 3-2 win at home to bottom of the table Grosseto. They were caught cold by the visitors though, with Arturo Lupoli tapping in to give the Grifone a shock second minute lead. The Tuscan side drew level through Francesco Tavano moments after the restart, while a fierce strike from Davide Moro and another composed finish from Tavano looked to have secured the points with half an hour remaining. Angelo Antonazzo’s close range header made it a nervy last 20 minutes for the hosts, but they held on to go within four points of a play-off place.

Further down the table, it was another dreadful week for Novara, who fell to a 2-1 defeat against Vicenza despite taking an early lead through Pancrazio Farogo’s strike from the edge of the area. Vicenza deservedly drew level on the hour mark through Luca Castiglia, before Matteo Gentili headed what proved to be the winner in the 69th minute. Elsewhere, goals from Francesco Migliore and Giuseppe Torromino saw Crotone pile further pressure on third from bottom Pro Vercelli, who continue to find life difficult at this level.

It was a similarly miserable afternoon for Virtus Lanciano, who were dispatched quite comfortably by visitors Bari, with a Daniele Sciaudone volley and a Francesco Caputo double doing the damage well before the final whistle. Meanwhile, a late equaliser from Alessio Pasquale Viola saw Reggina claim a valuable point at home to Ternana, who had taken a second half lead through Riccardo Maniero, and who are now slipping towards the relegation dogfight following a promising start to life at this level.


Player of the Week: Andrea Raimondi (Padova)

With Padova heading for what would have been a seventh draw of the season at home against Cittadella, Andrea Raimondi weighed in with two crucial late goals for what could prove to be one of the most pivotal wins in the club’s season. The 22-year-old’s first was a truly majestic strike from distance that flew into the top corner, while his second came courtesy of some neat footwork and a tidy finish. It is not the first time this season that he has secured all three points for his side, having emerged from the bench to snatch all three points against title chasing Verona back in October.

Goal of the Week: Marco Sansovini (Spezia)

In the week that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic make global headlines with an audacious overhead kick during Sweden’s win over England, it was inevitable that there would be a number of copycat attempts to do the same during the weekend that followed. Marco Sansovini’s effort during Spezia’s defeat to Juve Stabia may have been nowhere near as impressive as the enigmatic Swede’s, but his lightening quick reactions and acrobatic strike from six yards out were still a marvellous sight to behold, and easily the most impressive goal in the division this weekend.

Save of the Week: Vincenzo Fiorillo (Livorno)

Livorno’s Sampdoria loanee continues to make the headlines with a string of fabulous performances, and he was once again instrumental in his current side’s latest victory at the weekend. Leading 1-0 through Luca Belingheri’s early header, Varese looked certain to equalise after Daniele Martinetti cunningly evaded the offside trap. However Fiorillo stood his ground before diving to his left to punch away Martinetti’s point blank effort, and keep his side on course for three valuable points.

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevertonFC_84

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