Alessandro Diamanti scroed a scorcher of a goal as Bologna snatched a 1-0 win over Genoa at the Renato d’Ara Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Rossoblu had just three draws from the last six rounds and won only one of their last 13 home games, most likely making it Stefano Pioli’s last game in charge.
Cesare Natali went extremely close to giving Bologna the lead after four minutes with a free header from an Alessandro Diamanti free kick which whistled inches wide, leaving Mattia Perin rooted to the spot.
Perin was equally alert in the closing stages of the half, when he intercepted a Panagiotis Kone’s cross towards Davide Moscardelli.
Genoa created a decent chance at the restart but it was Bologna who stole the show with a moment of magic from their captain Diamanti. He gathered the ball from 20 metres off target and smashed a low drive into the near bottom corner, passing Perin’s outstretched fingertips.
It would be the only goal of the game as Bologna crucially removed themselves from the drop zone, but they still had to wait the afternoon results.
Juventus pulled off a strong second-half display to come out 4-1 winners over Atalanta as they were crowned Christmas Champions for the third consecutive year.
Juventus took just five minutes to get on the scoresheet when Carlos Tevez pounced onto a misplaced ball by the Atalanta backline to drill home a strike from just outside the box.
The Bianconeri’s lead only lasted ten minutes however as Atalanta made it 1-1 following some great combination play by Giacomo Bonaventura and Maximiliano Moralez. The former left Paul Pogba high and dry with his impressive run to the byline and he slotted in a cross which Moralez turned on before placing it past Gianluigi Buffon.
It was the first goal Juventus had conceded in 744 minutes of play and they spent the remainder of the first half placed under pressure by the home side.
Juventus did however take the lead for second time in the match just a minute off the restart. Kwadwo Asamoah supplied into the cross which was met the chest of Fernando LLorente and he laid it onto Pogba. The Frenchman had it easy by slotting in a diagonal strike at near post.
The result was then wrapped up with two goals in quick succession after Fernando Llorente and Arturo Vidal got on the scoresheet to wrap up a 4-1 win.
Llorente picked up Pogba’s ball to slice it in the back of the net, while Vidal tapped home a cross from close range after being left completely unmarked in the box.
The victory means Juventus were able to retain their five-point lead over second-placed Roma heading into the winter break
Fiorentina needed a late goal by Giuseppe Rossi to keep a hold of fourth place as they recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.
The first-half ended goalless following a valiant display by the Nerverdi but they couldn’t help but prevent Rossi from getting on the scoresheet.
The former Manchester United man fended off a defender to clip home a strike into the back of the net, which kept him as the league’s top goalscorer heading into the winter break.
Sassuolo in the meantime continue to struggle in the doldrums of the league table.
African duo of Mehdi Benatia and Gervinho got on the scoresheet for Roma as they humbled Catania 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico to remain five points adrift of leaders Juventus.
The first goal came as soon as the 18th minute when Mattia Destro rose up and connected with a corner kick, but his ball struck the head of Benatia on-route towards goal and it was the Moroccan who got the decisive last touch.
That was the only goal action of the half but the second 45 opened up the floodgates for three more strikes.
An error by Catania’ goalkeeper saw him spill Douglas Maicon’s cross over himself and to the feet of Destro, who had the simplest of tap-ins to make it 2-0.
Benatia then got his second goal a quarter of an hour after the restart with his low header from Lorenzo Florenzi’s free-kick into the box.
It was the day for Africans in the Capital city and Gervinho put the result beyond a reach with his strike ten minutes from the full-time whistle.
The defeat means Catania are left going into the winter break sitting at the foot of the Serie A table.
Sampdoria and Parma were left to share the spoils at the Luigi Ferraris on Sunday afternoon after they played out to a 1-1 draw.
Eder got on the scroresheet for his third consecutive match when he smacked home a loose ball off a free-kick into the back of the net after the ball ping-ponged around the box.
The Doriani continued to maintain their scoreline into the second half until Alessandro Lucarelli equalized with a header from a corner 19 minutes in.
Ciro Immobile scored an absolute screamer as Torino ran riot over Chievo to see themselves claim a 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Ironically it was Chievo who grabbed the lead after just nine minutes when Cyril Thereau sliced home a ball with his first touch following a great cross by Gennaro Sardo.
But just on the brink of the half-time whistle Ciro Immobile got his first of two goals of the Afternoon with a low ball which beat the Chievo ‘keeper in stoppage time, making it 1-1.
The pint-sized player then handed Torino the lead with a screamer from 20-yards out which rattled the top right hand corner following a great run and cut inside by him. All Immobile in that goal.
The victory was then wrapped up when Giuseppe Vives and Alessio Cerci got on the scoresheet to make it 4-1, with the latter having dummied past a defender before lazily slicing a low ball past the ‘keeper and into the back post.
Luca Toni scored on either end of the game to continue Lazio’s crisis as Hellas Verona thumped the Roman outfit to a 4-1 win at the Stadio Bentegodi.
It took just five minutes for the hosts and Luca Toni to get off the mark with a goal which saw the tall striker nod home a long ball into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the campaign. .
Lucas Biglia equalized in the 25th minute with a header of his own off a corner kick, before Juan Iturbe- who netted his fourth goal this season- saw his free-kick sail over the wall and into the back of the net on the brink of the half-time whistle.
The restart then saw two more goals for the home side arrive- the first scored by Romulo who tapped home Toni’s cross in at the near post.
Toni then added his second 12 minutes from time to wrap up an impressive win which lifted Verona to the fifth on the Serie A standings.
Still to be played….
Milan will take on Inter at the San Siro in the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday evening, kick-off at (21h45).