Sampdoria 1-0 Napoli

Italian football news – Serie A Week 38 – 16/5/10 – Stadium Ferraris –
Ref: Rizzoli
Sampdoria 1-0 Napoli
Pazzini 51 (S)

Sampdoria: Storari; Zauri, Lucchini, Gastaldello, Ziegler (Cacciatori 64); Semioli (Guberti 63), Palombo, Tissone, Mannini; Cassano (Pozzi 87), Pazzini
Napoli: De Sanctis; Santacroce, Cannavaro, Grava; Maggio (Hoffer 63), Cigarini (Maiello 86), Pazienza, Dossena, Zuniga (Bogliacino 69); Denis, Quagliarella

Giampaolo Pazzini’s lone header proved enough to send Sampdoria into the Champions League, but they had quite a few scares.

There were mixed emotions at Marassi, as the Blucerchiati knew a victory would secure fourth place, but also realised Gigi Del Neri was likely to join Juventus next season. Samp had lost just once in over two months and hoped to maintain their unbeaten home record. Napoli were already sure of sixth position and missed Marek Hamsik, Hugo Campagnaro and the suspended Ezequiel Lavezzi, but it was a return for ex-Blucerchiati men Fabio Quagliarella, Christian Maggio and Walter Mazzarri.

In the opening minute there was an interruption, as a fan rushed on to the pitch wearing a t-shirt that read ‘Cassano for the Nazionale.’ Daniele Mannini wore a protective mask with the message: ‘They broke my nose.’

Gianluca Grava used his chest to stop a dangerous Antonio Cassano cross making its way into the six-yard box, while Morgan De Sanctis smothered a fierce Tissone snapshot from outside the box.

News filtered through that Palermo were winning in Bergamo, so Samp needed a victory to recapture fourth place. However, Napoli had some great chances, as Luciano Zauri effectively needed a goalline clearance to keep out a German Denis cross-shot that beat the goalkeeper and Paolo Cannavaro volleyed off target.

Quagliarella nearly ruined the party for his former club, as a towering header from a corner forced Marco Storari into a fantastic reaction save!

Cassano was the only one giving Samp some inspiration and dribbled between four Napoli shirts before he was eventually held back.

Sampdoria took the lead six minutes after the restart with Giampaolo Pazzini. It was a Reto Ziegler free kick from near the corner flag that found ‘Pazzo’ for a towering header from five yards, as he got away from Fabiano Santacroce. A win here would guarantee Champions League qualification.

Quagliarella went so close to an equaliser, as he dribbled between two defenders for an angled drive that Storari beat away with his outstretched foot.

Napoli so nearly made it 1-1 on 67 minutes, as a free kick found Dossena at the back post for a volley that Storari turned on to the upright from six yards.

There was panic at the 87th minute, as a Santacroce hopeful ball forward was flicked on and almost resulted in an own goal, Storari scrambling back with Hoffer to see it whistle wide.

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Villa close on signing for Barcelona

David Villa will be Barcelona’s player from next season, according to Spanish press.

As reported by Marca, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has declared that David Villa’s signing for Barcelona is a matter of hours away. “The negotiations have begun with Valencia. We are in the process and I would say that things are beginning to wrap up. There are just a few details left”.

However, Laporta refused to give a more concrete timetable for Villa’s transfer. “We will see. We have the basic elements of the agreement in place and are talking to find a solution. We have not become fixated on a date but we hope to be done before the World Cup.

Laporta went on to remark on Cesc Fabregas’ interest in playing for Barcelona. “If the technical secretary believes we should sign him then we should make a push”.

Laporta further went on to comment on Thierry Henry’s transfer to the United States. “It is something we are working on. He is at a stage in his career that it is interesting for him to leave for the United States”. (Source)

Transfer news update

– Cesc Fabregas could become Barcelona player in two days
– Almeria’s goalkeeper Diego Alves on target of Juventus and AC Milan, that means Juve could sell soon Gianluigi Buffon to Manchester City
– Wolfsburg close on Marko Arnautovic (striker), who is currently on loan at Inter Milan from Twente (new coach of Wlf was previous coach of Twente), that means Dzeko could be on his way out
– AS newspaper: Jose Mourinho already signed for Real Madrid
– Rafa Benitez could be the next coach of Inter Milan
– Berlusconi: If the right offer comes, I will sell AC Milan

Bari 2-0 Fiorentina

Serie A, Week 38 – 16/5/10 – Stadium San Nicola
Strikers: Stellini 36′ (Bari), Rivas 95′ (Bari)
Referee: Giancola – Sent off: Gamberini 91 (Fiorentina)

Fiorentina end the campaign with a whimper, but it’s a celebration for Bari who finish in 10th place.

The mood was very different in the two camps. Bari felt jubilation at finishing mid-table after so many years in Serie B and wanted to thank the San Nicola crowd. Fiorentina’s failure to qualify for Europe and continuing uncertainty over Cesare Prandelli’s future meant they were simply eager for the season to end.

The Viola were decimated by injuries to Juan Vargas, Mario Alberto Santana, Alberto Gilardino, Manuel Pasqual, Cristian Zanetti, Gianluca Comotto and the suspended Per Kroldrup. Stevan Jovetic took on a new centre-forward role. Bari missed Riccardo Meggiorini, Mariano Donda, Andrea Ranocchia, Antonio Langella and the banned Belmonte.

Jovetic did put the ball in the back of the net after 11 minutes, but he was offside when the Adem Ljajic assist came in.

Ljajic was impressive and his long-range strike tested Jean-Francois Gillet, but Bari had a great chance when Vlada Avramov got down to parry Paulo Barreto’s snapshot.

Massimo Gobbi was stretchered off after a crunching tackle from ex-Fiorentina flop Nacho Castillo. Marco Marchionni’s effort took a deflection that lifted it inches off target.

Andrea Masiello almost scored an embarrassing own goal, as the ricochet hit his leg and bounced back over the bar.

It was Bari who broke through after 36 minutes. Castillo knocked down a corner for Cristian Stellini’s half-volley from six yards at the back post.

Riccardo Montolivo drilled a screamer just wide from distance, but it was so nearly 2-0 before half-time when Leonardo Bonucci ran on to an Edgar Alvarez through ball to hit the side-netting.

Avramov needed a desperate double save on the hour mark to deny Alessandro Parisi and the Sergio Almiron follow-up. Castillo should’ve doubled Bari’s lead, but incredibly fired wide when one-on-one with Avramov.

Jovetic wasn’t entirely convincing as a centre-forward, although he did threaten on 75 minutes when testing Gillet from point-blank range.

In stoppages substitute Alessandro Gamberini saw red for a crazy protest, as he pushed the referee in the chest with his finger, so the dismissal was inevitable.

Moments later Bari sealed the 2-0 scoreline with Emmanuel Riva tapping in Kamata’s assist from close range.

Bari: Gillet; A Masiello, Stellini, Bonucci, Parisi; Alvarez, Gazzi, Almiron (Donati 69), Rivas; Barreto (Rivas 83), Castillo (Kamata 91)
Fiorentina: Avramov; De Silvestri, Natali, Felipe, Gobbi (Gamberini 30); Donadel (Agyei 48), Bolatti, Montolivo; Marchionni, Ljajic (Carraro 65); Jovetic