Livorno kicked off the weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action as they hosted AC Milan on Saturday evening. Both sides are struggling for form and this showed in a turgid affair that saw Ronaldinho replaced ten minutes after the interval as Coach Leonardo finally lost patience with the Brazilian enigma. It seems he will start the midweek Champions League clash in Marseille on the bench. The game finished goalless and leaves Milan in tenth place.
The Saturday night game saw Juventus make a quick return to the capital, this time to face a resurgent Lazio. The Biancocelesti had obviously studied how Ciro FerraraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side had dismantled AS Roma two weeks previously, and they tried to grab a stranglehold on midfield in the opening exchanges.
Right on the stroke of half-time Lazio thought they had made the breakthrough as the ball was bundled into the net only for referee Andrea Gervasoni to give a free kick to Juventus for a dubious foul by Julio Cruz on Nicola Legrottaglie. The Bianconeri then lost their talisman Diego to an injury, which will keep him sidelined for two weeks.
Without captain Fabio Cannavaro it was left to the outstanding Giorgio Chiellini alongside Legrottaglie to repel all Lazio advances, which they did with some exceptional defending. Just 18 minutes from time, debutant Martin Caceres fired the Old Lady ahead and four minutes into stoppage time David Trezeguet sealed all three points for the Turin giants to keep their perfect start intact.
Sunday afternoon saw the debut of Claudio Ranieri on the AS Roma bench in Siena, and for 70 minutes he must have wondered what on earth he had got himself into. A wonderful counter attacking goal from Massimo Maccarone on 27 minutes was just reward for the Robur, as the Giallorossi looked rudderless and devoid of any ideas.
With the game slipping away, the Roman tactician introduced hot shot Mirko Vucinic, who is easing his way back after knee surgery and former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise, who replaced Brazilian centre-half Juan who was obviously not 100% fit.
The game then turned on its head – Vucinic immediately causing havoc down the Roma left and 17 minutes from time, Philipe Mexes leveled for the capital club. The pressure was lifted and a minute from time Riise gave Ranieri all three points with an explosive free kick to send the 1500 travelling tifosi delirious.
At the final whistle, Danielle De Rossi showed an extraordinary outpouring of emotion that proved just how important this victory was for all Romanisti.
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