It was a surprise to many to see David Beckham’s name in the starting line-up for AC Milan against Roma on Sunday as part of a three-man midfield wiht Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo.
David Beckham played nearly the full 90 minutes on his AC Milan debut but could not inspire them to victory as the Rossoneri were held to a 2-2 draw at Roma. The England midfielder, signed on a short-term loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy, impressed after Mirko Vucinic put Roma ahead in the 22nd minute, helping Milan turn things around early in the second half. Alexandre Pato struck twice in the space of eight minutes, but Vucinic levelled the scoring in the 73rd minute to deny Milan their first away win since October 26.
Juventus moved to within four points of leaders Inter Milanthanks to a 1-0 win over Siena. A trademark free-kick from Alessandro Del Piero in the 34th minute was enough to earn the Bianconeri all three points.
Napoli’s impressive home form continued as they claimed a narrow but nevertheless dominant win over Catania at the Stadio San Paolo. Cristian Maggio tapped home the only goal of the game for the hosts 10 minutes from time to spare the blushes of Marek Hamsik who had earlier missed a penalty for the Partenopei.
The result sees Napoli move into fourth place in the standings, ahead of Fiorentina who were beaten 2-1 by lowly Lecce, ending the Gigliati’s unbeaten run at home this season. The visitors took the lead through Guillermo Giacomazzi only for Felipe Melo to equalise, but Jose Castillo struck the winner for the Salentini, with all the goals coming inside the opening half-an-hour. Viola substitute Pablo Osvaldo was dismissed for dissent late on.
Goran Pandev hit a hat-trick as Lazio edged an entertaining encounter 3-2 against struggling Reggina. Reggina went ahead in the fourth minute with former Lazio forward Bernardo Corradi converting a dubious penalty but Pandev struck in the 14th and 22nd minutes. Reggina responded with Francesco Cozza equalising in the 68th minute, but Pandev pounced to complete his hat-trick and earn Lazio all three points.
A late Edison Cavani winner spared Palermo’s blushes after the Sicilians let slip a two-goal lead against Atalanta. Palermo were 2-0 up by the break, Fabrizio Miccoli and Mark Bresciano the goalscorers, before the Bergamaschi began their comeback. The influential Miccoli was forced off just before half-time and Atalanta took advantage with Sergio Floccari pulling one back five minutes after the hour mark and Ferreira Pinto levelling matters 12 minutes before the end. But the hosts re-established their lead within three minutes when Cavani took advantage of a fine ball by Fabio Liverani to seal a 3-2 win.
Udinese and Sampdoria shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Friuli, leaving both sides lingering in mid-table. Gennaro Delvecchio put the visitors ahead in the 57th minute but Maurizio Domizzi replied within five minutes.
Bologna missed the chance to pull themselves clear of the bottom three after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to cellar-dwellers Chievo. The rock-bottom side shocked their hosts two minutes before half-time when they took the lead through Sergio Pellissier but Marco Di Vaio levelled from the penalty spot just before half-time. The hosts ended the game with 10 men after Gaby Mudingayi received a red card eight minutes from time for a terrible challenge on Luciano.
On Saturday, Inter Milan got the new year off to a stuttering start after mid-table Cagliari ended their eight-game winning streak with a 1-1 draw at the San Siro. The Serie A leaders went into the game with a six-point lead over nearest rivals Juventus but Robert Acquafresca gave the 13th-placed visitors a shock lead after 65 minutes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled 12 minutes from time to preserve Inter’s unbeaten home record this season, but Jose Mourinho’s men never got into their stride in the game.
Meanwhile, Genoa moved into a share of fourth place after starting the year with a thumping 3-0 win over Torino. Giuseppe Biava headed the Rossoblu ahead in the 18th minute and Bosko Jankovic added a second in the 48th minute. A third header, this time from Thiago Motta five minutes from time, earned Genoa all three points and lifted them above Napoli in the table, level on points with Fiorentina. Torino reacted positively after going two goals down, but were unable to get back into the game and remain just one point above the bottom three, who are all in action on Sunday.