The weekend PlayStation saved Serie A... sort of

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These days it seems that to best prepare for facing world class opposition, you might as well dispense of all the old coaching manuals and buy a PlayStation.

It certainly worked for Marco Amelia, who has been honing his penalty-saving skills by watching Ronaldinho on his games console.

After saving a spot-kick from the Brazilian on Sunday evening, the Palermo goalkeeper claimed he knew where the Milan man would put the ball just by watching his run-up.

“It was the same as his PlayStation figure,” he revealed. “The way he ran towards the ball was the same and when I saw him opening his foot I knew it was going to the near post.”

A young Jurgen pioneers the method using FIFA '88 

Simple really. It’s just a shame that the rest of the Milan side can't play like their game console counterparts.

Another dismal away performance, in what was a display even more embarrassing than the one at Portsmouth three nights before, now leaves the ever-more hangdog-looking Carlo Ancelotti six points adrift of our old friend Jose and Inter.

But who needs to go on about the rubbish Rossoneri when there are so many positives to take from the weekend’s action?

Serie A may have slipped down the popularity stakes behind the Premiership and La Liga but the Italian game looks in rude health judging by the action on the pitch.

Serie Aaaaargh! braved the snow and weekend lunatics, sorry, motorists escaping the icy north, for a trip to the Eternal City to watch AS Roma against Fiorentina.

Inter-Napoli may have been the game of the weekend, providing three excellent goals and more backheels than the missus closing the door laden down with the weekly shopping, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more enchanting sight than that provided by the 22-plus subs in the Olympic Stadium.

Mrs Mourinho shows the Inter boys how it's done 

The record books may read 1-0 to Roma but it was, as the old chant goes, like watching Brazil. Brazil 1970 versus Brazil 1982, that is.

So sublime were the touches, so fleet of foot were the players and so intricate was the movement that it should go down as a masterclass in footballing etiquette.

There was Francesco Totti and Adrian Mutu trying to out-do each other with the most audacious pass or backheel whenever hemmed in, Mirko Vucinic and Alberto Santana tap-dancing their way down the flanks and when anyone got a sight on goal both Alexandre Doni and Sebastien Frey were at their majestic best.

This was the weekend when it was a pleasure to watch Italian football, and it was Totti who, in the end, made the difference, with a rasping drive that not even the beefy Frey could repel. The Giallorossi are now on 17 points, seven off the final Champions League spot, and with a game in hand.

The way things are going, with Lazio, Napoli and Udinese suddenly unable to buy a win, it shouldn’t be too long before the top four places have a more familiar look to them.

"No video game can stop me, not even Donkey Kong!" 

Banishing the early winter blues was another PlayStation favourite, Alessandro del Piero, who netted his 250th goal for Juventus during the demolition of Reggina in snowbound Turin.

No doubt goalkeepers up and down the country will be putting the latest footy computer game on their Christmas list for some inside tips on stopping the little man.

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