LECCE, ITALY - JANUARY 22: Serse Cosmi, head coach of Lecce during the Serie A match between US Lecce and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio Via del Mare on January 22, 2012 in Lecce, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Serie A, Round 20: Inter Lose To Lecce, Napoli Fall To Genoa

Inter experienced a surprising defeat against Lecce on Sunday afternoon, while Napoli couldn't quite come back to take points from Genoa. Meanwhile, Fiorentina beat Siena in the Tuscan Derby.

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Juventus Vs. Udinese, 2012 Serie A: Alessandro Matri Brace Gives Juve 2-1 Victory

Amidst a flurry of snowflakes in Turin that took the bounce out of even Andrea Pirlo's locks, Juventus pulled off a 2-1 win over Udinese, thanks to a brace by Alessandro Matri. The Juve forward opened the scoring just before the break, then sank another just minutes after Udinese substitute Antonio Floro Flores had grabbed an equalizer.

The first half produced plenty of chances at both ends, with the keepers drawing deserved acclamations for their work. Birthday boy Gigi Buffon managed to tip a Almen Abdi shot just over the bar, while also denying Pablo Armero. At the other end, Samir Handanovic made sure Marcelo Estigarribia start the game off with a bang for Juventus, and beautifully blocked a shot from Matri.

But Handanovic finally faltered, just before the halftime whistle. Fabio Quagliarella got his head on the end of a cross from Estigarribia, and although the Slovene was able to push away the ball, Matri was there to flick it on and into the back of the net.

After a halftime break that I imagine involved roaring fires and marshmallows floating in hot chocolate, you'd think it would've taken awhile for the players to come to life again. But the change of kits must've done the trick -- for Udinese, anyway. Andrea Barzagli's mind must've been wandering toward dreams of scarves and mittens, the only explanation for his giving away the ball. The friulani sprang forward, with Mauricio Isla sending in the pass for Floro Flores to knock past Buffon.

Determined to make sure Buffon had a nice birthday, Matri decided to go ahead and clean up the bit of a mess Juve had gotten themselves into. Claudio Marchisio, who'd just barely entered the match, sent the ball through to Matri. Eyelashes made Damiano Ferronetti look like a pimply adolescent at his first dance, easily turning round the Udinese defender and likely even giggling as he sent his shot past Handanovic.


Juventus Vs. Udinese, 2012 Serie A: Halftime, Alessandro Matri Gives Juve 1-0 Lead

It may have taken nearly an entire half for the ball to land in the back of the net, but the first forty minutes between Juventus and Udinese certainly weren't boring. Instead, fans of Serie A were treated to a battle of the goalkeepers. Samir Handanovic managed two absolutely fantastic saves to keep the visiting bianconeri level, while birthday boy Gigi Buffon did a great job fighting off a spell of Udinese pressure to keep the hosts firmly in the match.

Amidst the flying flakes swirling about Turin, you could just about see it: this match was going to end a 0-0 draw. A fun 0-0 draw, but one that would only benefit AC Milan.

Then up stepped Alessandro Matri, that of the failed first touch. The cross came in from Marcelo Estigarribia, with Fabio Quagliarella getting his head on it, forcing Handanovic into a save. The Udinese couldn't quite smother the ball, however, and it fell to Matri's feet. The striker needed just one touch and this time, he had it spot-on: a lovely little flick to send the ball into the back of the net, and Juventus into halftime carrying a lead.


Juventus vs. Udinese: Lineups

Antonio Conte's going a little bit fancy with his formation against Udinese tonight, putting up a 3-4-1-2 -- likely because he's running out of defenders (can Sevilla express-mail Caceres?). But this evening sees the first paring of Matri-Quagliarella, which should interest a few people. Me, I'm more interested in the fact that Juventus are wearing the pink kits. If only Udinese could break out the old bright orange. Fabulous.

Juventus Starting XI (3-4-1-2): Gigi Buffon; Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Emanuele Giaccherini; Marcelo Estigarribia; Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella

Juventus Bench: Marco Storari, Paolo Ceglie, Claudio Marchisio, Luca Marrone, Simone Pepe, Alessandro Del Piero, Marco Borriello

Udinese Starting XI (3-5-2): Samir Handanovic; Damiano Ferronetti, Danilo, Domizzi; Dusan Basta, Mauricio Isla, Fernandes, Pablo Armero, Giovani Pasquale; Almen Abdi, Antonio Di Natale

Udinese Bench: Daniele Padelli, Neuton, Cristian Battocchio, Joel Ekstrand, Roberto Pereyra, Antonio Floro Flores, Gabriel Torje

PS -- it's snowing in Turin. But the new Juventus stadium has pitch heaters, wrecking my dream of a snowball fight featuring Don Marchisio.

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