Mario Balotelli back with a bang, Zdenek Zeman out for the count and Siena do the Inter Double as Susy Campanale rounds up the interesting stats from Serie A Week 23.
Mario Balotelli took his Serie A tally to 22, his first goals since Inter 4-3 Chievo on May 9 2010. It was his third brace at San Siro, most recent against Palermo on October 29 2009. SuperMario has never missed a penalty in his career, converting seven between Serie A and the Premier League. Balotelli became the fourth different Milan player to take a spot-kick this season, as Giampaolo Pazzini scored all three, Robinho netted one and Alexandre Pato missed his attempt.
Milan have amassed 31 points in the last 15 rounds, more than any other club, and registered a fifth consecutive home win. They have suffered just one defeat in the last 11 games, winning eight. Udinese fell to a second consecutive away defeat and have just one win in the last seven rounds. Giampiero Pinzi marked his 19th Serie A goal, the second of the current campaign. This was the first time Stephan El Shaarawy has failed to score against Udinese after netting in the previous three encounters.
Referee Paolo Valeri has officiated 10 Serie A games this season, flashing 10 red cards and awarding eight penalties. In the last 10 editions of Udinese-Milan, there have been a total 47 goals.
Zdenek Zeman ended his Roma reign with an average of 1.48 points per game and was sacked for the ninth time in his career. Predecessor Luis Enrique had an average of 1.47 points. They are without a League victory since beating Milan 4-2 on December 22, followed by three defeats and two draws. The Giallorossi have conceded 42 goals, second only to Pescara with 48. The last time they conceded four at the Olimpico was a 4-1 defeat to Juventus in 2009, but Cagliari had already won 4-1 here in 1968.
Francesco Totti got his 223rd Serie A goal, the fifth for Marquinho, Radja Nainggolan’s fifth and the first for Francesco Pisano at his 176th appearance. Albin Ekdal played his 100th Serie A game, while it was Daniele Conti’s 400th match in a Cagliari jersey. Mauro Goicoechea’s comical own goal was the 600th of the Serie A season. The Giallorossi continued their remarkable opening half-hour spurts, scoring 19 and conceding 12 during this period.
Cagliari had also won at the Olimpico last season, a 2-1 result, so their Serie A record here is now four victories, 14 draws and 16 defeats. The Sardinians hadn’t netted four on their Serie A travels since January 25 2009, which was also at the Olimpico, but against Lazio.
Siena had never beaten Inter, home or away in all competition, before this season, but have now won both their Serie A encounters of 2012-13. Serse Cosmi was on the bench when Robur won 2-0 at San Siro on September 23. The Nerazzurri had won four consecutive trips to Tuscany. Inter have picked up just one point from their last six Serie A away games. This was the first time this season that Siena managed to score twice in the first half.
Innocent Emeghara scored on his full Serie A debut. Alessio Sestu had only ever netted once before in the top flight, in 2009 for Reggina against Fiorentina, while it was Alessandro Rosina’s 25th goal. Antonio Cassano’s 93rd Serie A goal was his first since October 21 against Catania.
Javier Zanetti’s 592nd Serie A game put him on a par with Gianluca Pagliuca, second in the all-time charts. Only Paolo Maldini has managed more on 647. The Inter captain’s debut was a 1-0 home win over Vicenza on August 27 1995, when he was 22 years old.
Siena captain Simone Vergassola marked his 300th League game for the club, having made his debut on January 18 2004 against Juventus.
Chievo were unbeaten at the Bentegodi under Eugenio Corini with four wins and as many stalemates. The Flying Donkeys have beaten Juve only once in 20 meetings, home and away, including 13 defeats. Angelo Alessio has won nine of his games on the Juventus bench standing in for Antonio Conte, losing two and drawing two.
Juventus ended their winless streak of two draws and a defeat in all competition. Alessandro Matri took his Serie A tally to 60 goals and netted for the second game in a row, something he hadn’t achieved since October 2011. Stephan Lichtsteiner netted his eighth, the third of the current campaign setting a new personal best. Juve have lost just one of their last 29 top flight away matches, falling to Milan in November 2012, along with 18 wins and 11 draws.
Napoli are on 49 points after 23 rounds, just one point shy of the record in 1989-90, calculating three points for a win. The Partenopei have scored in each of their last 20 home League games for a total 48 goals.
Marek Hamsik has now scored against every single club currently in Serie A, as he hadn’t previously netted against Catania. The Slovak international has provided 11 assists this term, so only Andres Iniesta of Barcelona has managed more with 12 in the top five European Leagues.
Paolo Cannavaro’s 11th Serie A goal was his first since April 22 against Novara, but six of them were netted at the San Paolo. It was his 259th game for Napoli, on a par with Diego Armando Maradona.
Catania failed to set a new club record of four consecutive Serie A victories, while they haven’t won two away games on the bounce since 1960. The Sicilians have only conquered the San Paolo once in the top flight, 1-0 back in January 1961, along with one draw and 10 defeats.
Luca Toni has scored nine career goals against Parma, making them his favourite victims, and this was his 108th in Serie A. Fiorentina finally celebrated their first win of 2013 after four defeats and a draw in all competition. The Ducali have lost eight of their last nine visits to Florence, winning 3-2 in November 2009. Vincenzo Montella had never previously beaten Roberto Donadoni with two draws between them.
Lazio also lost 3-2 at Genoa last season, so their record at Marassi in Serie A is of nine wins, eight draws and 26 defeats. In fact, the Biancocelesti have lost their last four official meetings with Genoa, home and away. Marco Borriello’s 65th Serie A goal was his fourth in the last five rounds. Andrea Bertolacci went up to nine and Marco Rigoni 14, though he had already netted this season for Chievo. Sergio Floccari’s 56th goal was his fourth in the last five official games.
Atalanta marked only their fifth ever top flight victory away to Palermo, along with two draws and 12 defeats. The Orobici had lost three on the trot in Sicily, as their last win was 3-2 in October 2006. Stefano Colantuono’s men had not won on their travels since a 2-1 at Sampdoria on November 4, followed by six consecutive defeats in all competition.
Palermo have scraped just three draws from their last 10 official matches, one point from four League games at the Stadio Barbera. Nelson scored on his Serie A debut. Carlos Carmona’s third Serie A goal was his second of the campaign. German Denis went up to 41, eight for this season and his first in 2013.
Pescara had not scored any penalties this season, missing the only attempt with Ante Vukusic, but converted two in one game against Bologna. The Rossoblu had only previously won once in Pescara in all competition, 1-0 in Serie B in September 2006, along with six losses and three draws. The Delfini ended their goal drought after 299 minutes of football and for the first time this season scored twice in the first half. Gaetano D’Agostino’s 27th top flight goal was his first since Siena’s 2-1 defeat at Inter in April.
Alberto Gilardino marked his 400th game and 156th Serie A goal, catching Gigi Riva, Roberto Mancini and Pippo Inzaghi in 19th place in the all-time charts. Alessandro Diamanti’s 24th Serie A strike was his sixth of the season. Bologna earned their first away victory of 2013 after three defeats in all competition.
Torino have played five goalless draws this season, more than any other team in Serie A or in the top five European Leagues. Sampdoria kept a second consecutive clean sheet, which they hadn’t managed in the top flight since November 2010. The Blucerchiati hadn’t earned a draw in Turin since September 1995, followed by four defeats and a victory in all competition.