Juventus prevail in Turin derby
Juventus eased the pressure on under-fire coach Claudio Ranieri with a vital 1-0 victory at home to Torino in the Turin derby on Saturday. Catania missed the chance to go top of Serie A, for 24 hours at least, as they drew 1-1 at Siena. Brazilian striker Amauri was the Juve match winner as the Italian giants ended a run of four Serie A matches without a victory and moved up into the top half of the table, until Sunday at least. Torino lost for the fourth match in a row and remain just above the relegation zone.
Juve celebrated wildly after the final whistle, hardly behaviour befitting one of the continent's giants following a 1-0 home success over a team fourth from bottom. Coupled with Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, it's been a good week for the Old Lady of Turin. "It's been a great week and now the winning goal in the derby," Amauri said. "It feels like a dream. I'm happy that Juve are back to their old selves again. Now we can't slacken one bit, if you slacken the others will jump all over you. We have to stay on track to achieve our objectives which are (winning) the title and hopefully the Champions League."
Juventus had the better of a largely uneventful first half with Marco Marchionni twice denied by Alex Calderoni in the visitors goal. Even so, the best chance of the half fell to Torino's Rolando Bianchi after a mistake by Juve goalkeeper Alex Manninger, but the former Manchester City forward failed to find the target. Juve sprang out of the traps early in the second half with Amauri out-pacing his marker before shooting under Calderoni's body from an angle.
Catania were lucky to escape with a point in a game the hosts dominated throughout. Siena took a deserved lead on 75 minutes when Emanuele Calaio ghosted between two defenders and headed home a deep cross from Cristiano Del Grosso. But just five minutes later Siena were stung on the counter-attack as Michele Paolucci broke from the halfway line before being brought down by Gianluca Curci after he had rounded the goalkeeper.
Giuseppe Mascara made no mistake from the spot, sending Curci the wrong way. Catania coach Walter Zenga, a former Italy and Inter Milan goalkeeper, made no apologies. "For me the cup is half full, when you take home a point on a night like this it means the team is reacting, suffering and continuing to fight for its survival," he said. "Siena played really well, they were very good tonight, we perhaps waited too much for them to do something but we did well. "A point at Siena is very important against one of our direct (relegation) rivals."
Catania goalkeeper Albano Bizarri twice denied former Middlesbrough forward Massimo Maccarone before the break, the second time acrobatically tipping a chip over his bar. After the interval Frenchman Abdel Kader Ghezzal waltzed through the Catania backline but shot straight at Bizarri. The keeper denied Ghezzal again and saved an effort from Moroccan midfielder Houssine Kharja as Siena pushed for an opener. Catania equalised with a rare foray into Siena territory and move up to second in the Serie A table, behind champions Inter Milan.
Ghezzal, who was playing for Crotone in the Italian third division before this season, claimed the point was a kick in the teeth for Siena. "I feel bitter. My team-mates and I tried to score a goal and win three points at home but unfortunately we didn't manage it," he said. "Given how we played tonight we deserved the three points, we'll try to play well on Wednesday." There is a full Serie A programme on Wednesday.