UDINE, ITALY - DECEMBER 21: Dusan Basta #8 of Udinese competes with Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Juventus FC at Stadio Friuli on December 21, 2011 in Udine, Italy. (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

Serie A, Week 16: Juventus And Udinese Play Scoreless Draw, Inter Milan And Napoli Win Big

Remember how that Juve-Udinese game was supposed to be fun? It wasn't. However, today was fun for fans of Inter Milan and Napoli.

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Serie A, Week 16 Wrap: Inter Milan Continue Great Form, Napoli Rebound From Roma Loss

A combination of results in Round 16 of Serie A has put AC Milan top at the winter break, while setting up a potential seven-way race for not just European Places, but the Scudetto. Fifth through seventh placed teams Inter Milan, AS Roma and Napoli all won while the teams placed second through fourth all drew. The top seven are now separated by just ten points.

Inter Milan 4-1 Lecce

The visitors got off to a stunning start, as Luis Murial put Lecce agead in the 19th minute, but their lead would be short lived. Inter turned it on afterwards and put in a great performance after that goal, earning a three-goal win. Giampaolo Pazzini scored the equalizer in the 34th minute on a Maicon set piece, and the teams went into the break tied 1-1. The second half was all Inter, as they scored three goals through Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso and Ricardo Alvarez. Tricky Ricky set up Milito's winner and was arguably the man of the match.

Napoli 6-1 Genoa

Following a poor run of form in Serie A, it appeared like Napoli were in the process of playing themselves out of the race for the top three. They bounced back from their loss to Roma at the weekend with an emphatic performance against Genoa, pouring in six goals. They had a 3-0 lead by the 24th minute, with Edinson Cavani scoring a brace. Napoli had four other scorers and couldn't have asked for a better team performance.

Other Scores

Atalanta 4-1 Cesena

Bologna 0-2 AS Roma

Lazio 0-0 Chievo Verona

Novara 2-2 Palermo

Parma 3-3 Catania


Udinese Vs. Juventus, 2011 Serie A: Fulltime, A Dull Second Half Ends In 0-0 Draw

Sigh. This match between Juventus and Udinese had so much potential. It started off well, with Juventus pouring forward, and Udinese being Udinese, hitting quickly on the counter. Through the entire first half, there were plenty of chances, plenty of pace, plenty of fun. Then came the second half and...nothing. Both sides seemed more intent on preserving a draw than playing for all three points, dropping the fun factor down to about -10.

And so it ended in exactly the most predictable of fashions: no goals, split points, and observers everywhere yawning and discussing the boring, boring Serie A. The caution of the second half means that AC Milan go into the winter break on top of the table, Juventus a point behind. Udinese are in third for now, but if Lazio beat Chievo Verona later in the day, the zebrette could find themselves down in fourth.

But when play resumes in January, take comfort in the Antonio Di Natale Drinking Game: drink every time the Udinese striker gets called for offside (warning -- do not participate in such a game if you need to drive anywhere).


Udinese Vs. Juventus, 2011 Serie A: 0-0 At Halftime

It's 0-0 between Udinese and Juventus at halftime, but that doesn't mean it's been a boring match. Juve have come to the Friuli with the intent to win, while the home side are determined to keep their 100 percent record in Udine. The visitors came out flying, pressuring Samir Handanovic's goal, but a shot from Claudio Marchisio went high and wide, while Danilo kept out a cheeky ball from Simone Pepe.

But Udinese do very well at letting the average observer think that the opposition has the match firmly in their control -- and sometimes even lure the other team into thinking the same. They linger and then they attack, quickly, ferociously. A mistake from Giorgio Chiellini very nearly lead to the opening goal, but Gigi Buffon as able to get a finger on the shot from Mauricio Isla.

At the 40 minute mark, a little bell went off in the referee's brain, reminding him that he had cards in his pocket.In quick succession, he gave a (seemingly harsh) yellow to Dusan Basta for a foul on Marcelo Estigarribia, a needed yellow to Giampiero Pinzi for sticking his boot in the way of Simone Pepe, and one to Arturo Vidal just because he seemed to enjoy flashing cards around.

If Udinese could just manage to 1) keep the ball on the ground when they're pressing and 2) finally teach Toto Di Natale the offside rule, this game is a lock. On the other hand, Marchisio has had three shots on goal, each of them getting ever closer, the last needing a nudge by Handanovic to keep it from going in the net. Stay tuned.


Napoli Vs. Genoa, 2011 Serie A Week 16: Azzurri In Serious Need Of A Win

Despite making the knockout stages of the Champions League, Napoli needs a win over Genoa to avoid ending 2011 on a sour note.


Udinese Vs. Juventus, 2011 Serie A Week 16: It's All Black And White

Juventus are unbeaten, but Udinese have won all seven at the Friuli. Who will give? Find out on Wednesday.

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