Balotelli scores but Milan are held
A review of the weekend's action in the Italian Serie A, with AC Milan held despite another Mario Balotelli goal.
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Cagliari picked up a crucial point in their battle against relegation at the expense of an AC Milan side whose recent resurgence was stalled by a 1-1 draw at the Is Arenas.
Victor Ibarbo gave the Sardinians the lead on the stroke of half-time before Mario Balotelli responded from the penalty spot after Cagliari had Davide Astori sent off.
But, despite a late siege on the Cagliari goal, the Rossoneri were unable to find a winner leaving the home side four points clear of the drop zone.
Inter Milan eased the pressure on coach Andrea Stramaccioni with a routine 3-1 win over Chievo which enabled them to leapfrog city rivals AC Milan into fourth place.
Goals from Antonio Cassano, Andrea Ranocchia and Diego Milito were enough to see off a Chievo side for whom Luca Rigoni had earlier cancelled out Cassano's opener.
Aurelio Andreazzoli started life on the Roma bench with a defeat as his Giallorossi side were beaten 3-1 at Sampdoria.
Andreazzoli, who was placed in charge following the dismissal of Zdenek Zeman earlier in the week, saw the size of the task in hand as Samp showed more hunger and desire to get three points which move them further away from the relegation zone.
Marcelo Estigarribia gave the home side the lead in the 56th minute and Gianluca Sansone doubled their advantage after Roma's Pablo Osvaldo missed a penalty and Erik Lamela had a goal disallowed.
Lamela did reduce the arrears in the 75th minute, but Mauro Icardi sealed the win for the Blucerchiati just two minutes later.
Robert Pereyra's seventh-minute goal gave Udinese all three points as they made it 11 games in a row at home without defeat by beating Torino 1-0 at the Stadio Friuli.
Pereyra put a buoyant Udinese in front while Torino were still getting to grips with the game, and Francesco Guidolin's side remained in control of the game without needing to score a second goal to take the points.
Torino struggled to create chances and rarely made Udinese sweat as the Bianconeri climbed up to seventh in the Serie A table, four points adrift of a place in Europe next season.
Relegation-threatened Siena claimed a point from a 1-1 draw n their visit to Bologna but could consider themselves fortunate after being pegged back for much of the match by the hosts.
Nigerian striker Innocent Emeghara put the visitors ahead at Renato Dall'Ara with a 33rd-minute effort only for Panagiotis Kone to level matters five mintues before the break.
Bologna had virtually all of the remaining chances but were unable to find a winner, handing second-bottom Siena a point in their battle against the drop.
Andrea Bertolacci struck the post twice in the second half as Genoa were denied what would have been an important win in the battle against the drop as they drew 0-0 at Parma.
A goalless draw suggests a game of little attacking invention but there was no shortage of chances in an open match.
Bertolacci went closer than most when he hit the woodwork in the 48th and 57th minutes, but neither side could find the net.
Catania dominated but squandered a series of chances as they were unable to make the breakthrough against Atalanta at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
Lucas Castro and Alejandro Gomez both missed golden opportunities to score for the visitors in the first half before Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli made a great save after the break to ensure his side a point and a valuable clean sheet.
Palermo came from behind to avoid what would have been a painful defeat at home to fellow relegation strugglers Pescara, with Alberto Malesani securing a point from a 1-1 draw on his debut on the Rosanero bench.
Malesani, appointed earlier this week to replace Gian Piero Gasperini, saw his new side fall behind to a goal from Birkir Bjarnason in the 73rd minute.
But Diego Fabbrini levelled 10 minutes from time and a strong finale to the game gave the bottom side in Serie A hope of climbing to safety, even if the point still left them rooted to the foot of the table.
On Saturday, first-half goals from Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri sealed a comfortable 2-0 win for leaders Juventus over Fiorentina.
In the lead-up to the game, Juve boss Antonio Conte had played down talk of a fierce rivalry between Turin and Florence and there was precious little evidence of competition on the pitch as Vucinic was left unchallenged to slam home the opener.
Matri lost his boot when swinging at Arturo Vidal's canny pass but his socked foot guaranteed Juve all three points before what turned out to be an insipid second half.
Napoli lost valuable ground on Juve - but it could have been worse as Hugo Campagnaro salvaged the latest of draws at Lazio.
Walter Mazzarri's men needed to win in Rome to stay in touch with Juve, who had opened a six-point gap at the top with victory over Fiorentina.
But Napoli looked like being sucked towards third-placed Lazio when Sergio Floccari opened the scoring early on.
The game grew more and more frantic as time ticked away, with Campagnaro emerging as a key figure all over the pitch, and the Napoli defender would have the final say with an audacious finish three minutes from time.