Toni helps Verona beat Catania 4-0 in Serie A
MILAN (AP) Luca Toni scored again to help Hellas Verona thrash relegation-threatened Catania 4-0 in Serie A on Sunday to boost its European chances as Parma lost 1-0 at Cagliari.
Verona remained level on points with Torino and Lazio in the race for sixth place and the final Europa League spot.
”We have nothing to lose in the race for Europe,” Toni said. ”We’ll be fired up, we know we can go down in history. We’ll see what will happen in three weeks’ time.”
Torino beat Udinese 2-0 while Lazio won by the same scoreline at relegation-threatened Livorno. The results saw Torino, Lazio and Verona move a point above AC Milan and Parma.
”We weren’t as strong and determined as usual, that’s the main thing about this match,” Parma coach Roberto Donadoni said. ”We weren’t ourselves in the first half, but even so we didn’t give much to Cagliari.
”Then two incidents determined the final result: the penalty and the sending off of one our players meant we were chasing the game with a numerical disadvantage. Now we have to try and get the maximum of points, in other words nine points in three matches, working as hard as we can.”
Also, 10-man Sampdoria fought back to beat Chievo Verona 2-1 and Genoa drew 1-1 at Atalanta.
Verona got off to the perfect start when Catania goalkeeper Alberto Frison palmed away Juan Iturbe’s shot and Toni fired in the rebound in the sixth minute.
Toni thought he had doubled his tally in the 28th when he headed home for what would have been his 20th goal of the season. However, the Italian league later awarded it as an own goal by Frison after watching video evidence which showed the effort had rebounded off the post and in off the goalkeeper.
”Before I didn’t believe I could win the top goalscorers award this season,” Toni said. ”It would be something extraordinary at 36 years of age.”
Marquinho extended Verona’s lead on the stroke of halftime with a low drive following Juanito’s pass.
Juanito saw a shot turned onto the post by Frison moments later, but the Argentinian did get onto the scoresheet in the 75th with a curled effort into the far corner.
Ciro Immobile remained on course for the top goalscorer award as he scored his 21st goal of the season for Torino.
Omar El Kaddouri had given Torino the lead in the 15th when he weaved his way into the left of the area before firing into the near side of goal.
Parma was looking to get back on track after just one win in its past seven matches.
But it was Cagliari which broke the deadlock in the 35th minute after Alessandro Lucarelli took down Daniele Dessena, right in front of the referee who pointed straight to the penalty spot.
Mauricio Pinilla converted, sending Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante the wrong way.
Parma’s hopes of getting back into the game evaporated early in the second half following a moment of madness from Felipe, who was sent off for pushing Luca Rossettini in the face. The Brazilian had to be dragged away by Pinilla and faces a lengthy ban.
Both teams needed points in Livorno, with the home side desperate to avoid relegation and Lazio chasing a Europa League spot.
Livorno gifted Lazio the lead in the 15th minute as goalkeeper Francesco allowed Stefano Mauri’s angled volley to squirm between him and the near post.
Lazio doubled its lead six minutes after the break when former Livorno winger Antonio Candreva scored a penalty after Leandro Rinaudo was harshly adjudged to have handled.
Livorno remained in penultimate position in the standings, three points off safety, and five behind Chievo.
In the evening match, Paolo De Ceglie’s first goal in more than two years appeared to be enough to secure victory for Genoa and snap a four-match losing streak.
Genoa managed to last most of the second half with 10 men after Daniele Portanova was sent off five minutes after the break for a foul on German Denis. Mattia Perin saved the resulting penalty.
However, Atalanta’s pressure finally paid off eight minutes from time. Perin pulled off a stunning save to deny Guglielmo Stendardo but Giuseppe De Luca – who was clearly offside – put the rebound into the empty net with an overhead kick.