Catania win mid-table clash with Lazio
Michele Paolucci was on target and Albano Bizzarri saved a spot kick to help Catania beat visiting Lazio 1-0 Saturday in a Serie A weekend-opener played in the eastern-Sicily town, dpa reported.
Paolucci put Catania in front on 24 minutes, flicking home after Pablo Ledesma misfired a great assist from Giuseppe Mascara.
Catania kept up their aggressive tactics in the remainder of the first half, running minor risks when Pasquale Foggia on 44 minutes aimed a wide header and Swiss Stephan Lichtsteiner had a fast drive saved.
The Sicily hosts' Argentine goalkeeper Bizzarri opened the second half with a great dive to deflect a free kick from his compatriot Cristian Ledesma as Lazio tried to speed up their pace.
Lazio wasted a mouthwatering equalizing chance on 61 minutes when Matias Silvestre floored Macedonia striker Goran Pandev, who took the spot kick only to see Bizzarri block it with a great dive on his left.
Striker Tommaso Rocchi had his first telling chance four minutes later, but his header bounced harmlessly to the left of Bizzarri, who then had to dive by his right post to slap a nasty drive from the Lazio forward.
Catania have now 37 points and are virtually safe from relegation with nine games left to the end of the Serie A season. Lazio were held on 41 points and slowed down their efforts to secure a UEFA Cup berth.
In later action, second-placed Juventus play a late classic game at Roma. The Turin side hope to reduce their seven-point gap from leaders Inter Milan, who appear set for an easy task when they welcome bottom side Reggina on Sunday.