Inler makes point for Napoli
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway paid tribute to his
goalkeeper Julian Speroni following the 1-0 victory over Derby at
Yannick Bolasie hit Palace’s winner after 13 minutes, but it was
Speroni’s string of superb saves – culminating in deflecting Conor
Sammon’s 87th-minute spot-kick on to the crossbar – that eventually
earned the Eagles a first away win since November.
“I think he’s a wonderful person,” said Holloway. “It’s not just
what he’s like with his gloves on; he’s a wonderful human
“I think he epitomises the club – we’re fresh, we’re hungry, we
want to do it. He’s been player of the year three times in a row so
he’s definitely a fans’ favourite, and he was absolutely
“It’s nice to get that monkey off your back and it took a
marvellous save from our goalie – I thought he was inspired.
“That’s why he’s got his own bar at our ground. To do well you
need a really good goalie and he’s proved that tonight.”
Holloway sympathised with Derby, adding: “They’ve had a lot of
bad luck. They’ve got a young side who are so enthusiastic and they
probably deserved better than they got, but we’ve got to take that
and try and move on.
“We all looked a bit nervous at the end, myself included,
because we want it so bad.
“I’m going to enjoy this because we’re in with a shout of
automatic promotion and that’s fantastic for everybody at the
Mancini made the observation last weekend as he assessed the
state of a title race that subsequently saw victories for both
United and Manchester City that maintained the status quo with 11
The City manager’s argument is that United, whilst deserving of
their top-of-the-table status, were not so superior to his own side
they were worthy of such an imposing advantage that surely will be
impossible to claw back.
It was an observation Ferguson countered immediately.
“We’re dead lucky,” said the Scot, with more than a hint of
“We have only been doing it for 25 years. It is a terrible
“Maybe he (Mancini) is lucky they are only 12 points
It was Ferguson in one of his jocular moods, although it did not
lead to words of sympathy for old adversary Rafael Benitez over his
plight at Chelsea, which the Scot preferred to stay out of.
“I am not getting into that,” he said.
Adrian Colunga put Getafe ahead in the 22nd minute and Sergio
Escudero doubled the lead in the 61st minute with a heavily
deflected free-kick following a handball from Glenn Loovens that
earned the Zaragoza defender a second yellow card.
Getafe also finished the match with 10 men as Pedro Leon was
booked twice in a minute soon after his side’s second goal, but the
hosts were largely untroubled in the final half-hour as they earned
a third successive win in the league – and a short break.
Coach Luis Garcia had promised his side three days off if they
followed up last week’s win over Real Mallorca with another
three-point haul, and the Getafe players certainly looked keen to
make the most of that offer.
Leon and Colunga both tried their luck without success in the
early exchanges while Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Moya also played his
part with a fine save to turn behind Ruben Rochina’s 10th-minute
The opening goal of the game was not long in coming, with Getafe
taking the lead through former Zaragoza striker Colunga, who
bundled the ball home from close range following a low Leon
That goal separated the teams at the break, although Zaragoza
missed two chances to get back on terms just before the interval
when Loovens and Helder Postiga failed to hit the target with
A spate of infringements and bookings contributed to a fractured
start to the second half, and it was one of those indiscretions
that put Getafe in complete control.
Loovens had already been shown a yellow card in the 50th minute
for a foul and he was handed his marching orders 10 minutes later
after picking up a second booking for handling the ball 25 yards
If that was not bad enough for relegation-battling Zaragoza,
Escudero stepped up and, with the aid of a huge deflection off the
wall, fired the resulting free-kick past Pablo Alcolea in the
At that point the game looked over but Leon’s dismissal soon
after, when he was booked for a foul and then a handball in quick
succession, meant Zaragoza were handed a lifeline.
However, they could not take advantage as Getafe moved up to
eighth spot and to within four points of the Champions League
Juve appeared to be on course for a nine-point cushion at the
top of the table when Chiellini headed them in front in the 10th
minute, while they scuppered further chances to increase their
Napoli then levelled just before half-time with a deflected
effort and had the better chances to win the game in the second
half, but ultimately had to settle for a point which maintains the
six-point gap between the two sides.
Just 13 seconds were on the clock when Marek Hamsik turned Goran
Pandev’s cross wide.
However, it proved to be a rare threat to Gianluigi Buffon’s
goal as Juventus immediately gained control of the match, taking
the lead in the 10th minute.
Andrea Pirlo sent in a cross from the left which was met by
Chiellini, who had stayed up following a corner, and he used
strength and determination to head the ball unstoppably past Morgan
de Sanctis, beating Miguel Britos in the air.
Two minutes later, Stephan Lichtsteiner wanted a penalty when he
went down under the challenge of Inler, but referee Daniele Orsato
waved away his appeals.
Mirko Vucinic failed to replicate Chiellini’s determination when
he headed a cross wide of the far post midway through the first
half before De Sanctis denied him with an excellent reflex
Napoli were struggling to get into the game, but a break in the
43rd minute saw them level through Inler. His shot took a
deflection off the head of Leonardo Bonucci, which lifted the ball
above the hand of Buffon.
At the end of the half, Edinson Cavani and Chiellini clashed in
the penalty area with both receiving a yellow card, although the
Napoli forward was fortunate not to receive more.
The home side then improved in the second half with Buffon
having to earn his money. He turned Hamsik’s shot wide for a corner
before parrying another effort from the Slovakian midfielder with
Blerim Dzemaili sending the rebound wide.
The game then fizzled out with both sides seemingly happy with a
point each, although the draw only really helps Juventus, who
maintain a six-point lead at the top of the table with a superior
head-to-head record over their opponents.