Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 18 News List

LEGA CALCIO: Udinese overpower hapless Roma to go top of the table

AFP , ROME

Genoa goalkeeper Rubens Fernando Moedim Rubinho, left, battles for the ball with Inter’s Julio Ricardo Cruz during their Italian Serie A match at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Udinese beat hapless AS Roma 3-1 at home on Sunday to underline their own title credentials, while increasing the pressure on Roman boss Luciano Spalletti.

Udinese are now top on goal difference above Inter, who drew 0-0 at home with 10-man Genoa and Napoli, 1-0 winners at Lazio.

AS Roma’s season is going from bad to worse, as they lost for the fifth time in eight Serie A matches against Udinese and now sit just one point above the relegation zone in 15th position.

Spalletti claimed a penalty should never have been awarded for the first goal, but blamed himself for his team’s failings.

“Obviously I haven’t done my job because everyone knows that Udinese are strong with balls over the top,” he said, referring to the next two goals. “I didn’t make myself understood well enough to my players. From now on I’ll use different methods.”

It is not difficult to pinpoint Roma’s problems — they now have the worst defensive record in the league.

Udinese were ahead on 10 minutes after Max Tonetto needlessly brought down Antonio Floro Flores just inside the penalty box and Antonio Di Natale smashed home the spot-kick.

If that was bad defending, worse was to follow on 22 minutes as Simone Loria hesitated under pressure from a long ball and allowed Floro Flores to make up 5m on him before rounding Doni in the Roma goal and slotting into an empty net.

Roma started the second period in the ascendancy, but left themselves hopelessly exposed at the back and after Loria got pulled out of position, Di Natale was given a free run on the counterattack to scamper away unchallenged before side-footing the ball past Doni for 3-0.

The visitors did get something out of the game when captain Francesco Totti scored a 74th minute penalty, although that was highly dubious as Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic had clearly got the ball in a challenge with Matteo Brighi.

Italian Serie A

Team
P
GD
PTS
1
Udinese
8
9
17
2
Inter
8
8
17
3
Napoli
8
4
17
4
AC Milan
8
6
16
5
Fiorentina
8
5
16
6
Catania
8
4
15
7
Lazio
8
4
13
8
Genoa
8
3
13
9
Atalanta
8
1
13
10
Juventus
8
1
12
11
Palermo
8
-2
12
12
Siena
8
0
9
13
Lecce
8
-2
9
14
Sampdoria
8
-5
7
15
Roma
8
-6
7
16
Cagliari
8
-6
7
17
Bologna
8
-6
6
18
Chievo
8
-6
6
19
Torino
8
-5
5
20
Reggina
8
-7
5


Inter lost the top spot after failing to break down 10-man Genoa, for whom Ivan Juric was dismissed for two yellow cards.

The champions dominated throughout, but Genoa defended stubbornly and picked up their first away point of the season.

“I’m not very happy because I always wanted to improve and I always want to win, when we don’t win things aren’t good,” Inter boss Jose Mourinho said. “Genoa deserved what they got and took away a precious point. They were very careful at the back.”

Napoli demonstrated that they too, like Udinese, could become serious title challengers as they won at previous high-flyers Lazio.

Ezequiel Lavezzi was the architect of the match-winner, showing great determination to reach the byline and fire over a cross from the left that cannoned off Sebastiano Siviglia and looped over Juan Pablo Carrizo for an own goal.

Macedonia forward Goran Pandev almost leveled things late on, but his deflected strike came back off the bar.

AC Milan moved up to fourth, just one point off the top, as world player of the year Kaka hit the winner in a 1-0 success at Atalanta.

Marco Borriello provided the pass to the Brazilian, who dinked a clever shot over goalkeeper Ferdinando Coppola 10 minutes from time.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted his team hadn’t deserved to win.

“On another day we would have lost this match,” he said. “Atalanta played better than us and they didn’t deserve to lose.”

Since losing their first two league matches, Milan have now won five and drawn one of their next six and are the form team in Serie A.

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