A veteran wonder-goal, VAR working well, poor results from red half of Rome, Milan unable to find a breakthrough, Juventus striking late, and a Lazio back on form… These are just a few of the highlights in calcio from the Serie A TIM this past weekend. Below, @TriniSportsGuy will present a summary of this past weeks’ action in Italy.
Sassuolo 3 – 1 Empoli
It all kicked off on Friday night, with a neutrals dream of a match at the Mapei stadium, as the Neroverdi hosted Tuscan side Empoli. Both teams have both played some of the most pro-active football so far this season, and it got off to a flyer of a start!
The home team kicked off, but the away side pressed them, forced a turnover, and Francesco Caputo scored with a first time right footed shot inside the penalty area. All this happened in the space of just 18 seconds!
However, Sassuolo would not trail for long as in the 13th minute, Kevin-Prince Boateng met a Federico Di Francesco cross and hooked his foot around the ball to equalize. That goal was now his third goal since returning to the Serie A TIM.
Just before the hour mark, they took the lead through Gian Marco Ferrari, with a glancing header from a corner, and sealed the points through Man of the Match Di Francesco, with a wonderful back flick.
Entertainment all around!
Parma 2 – 0 Cagliari
A match between two sides that took points from the Milanese teams last week, met at the Ennio Tardini.
Roberto Inglese gave the Crociati the lead after the ball rebound off his body and it was 1-0.
We have made a number of “Goal of the Season” candidates already, but what Gervinho produced on Saturday afternoon, was right up there. He picked up the ball inside his own half, and went past three Sardinian defenders, pushed the ball past a fourth, ran on to it and rifled it into the net if the post and in. His standing ovation from the tifosi was well earned!
Parma allowed the away side to have possession soon after, but they could do nothing with it.
Fiorentina 3 – 0 SPAL
Ever since La Viola signed Croatian international Marco Pjaca, many have been excited at the prospect of the attacking trio of him, along with Giovanni Simeone and Federico Chiesa. They started their first game together in the 1-1 mid-week draw with Sampdoria, but they took it up a notch in this match.
Pjaca got the ball rolling after a Spal defender failed to clear the ball properly, and he smashed the ball with his left foot inside the 6-yard box, for his first goal for the club and in the Serie A TIM.
They doubled their lead through Serbian center back Nikola Milenkovic with a towering header from a corner; Milenkovic has been compared with Nemanja Vidic, but he still hs a long ways to go.
Chiesa got in on the act in the 56th minute, when he met a cross and placed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Spal have been one of the surprises this season, and despite captain, Mirko Antenucci missing a guilt edge header in the first half, they were really never in the match.
Sampdoria 0 – 1 Inter
I mentioned in the opening paragraph about VAR working, well this match it performed to a tee, with 3 goals, all beautiful taken by the way, however, all ruled out for different circumstances.
- Radja Nainggolan rifled one into the net in the first half ruled out for offside…Correct call.
- Kwadwo Asamoah had a scorcher from outside the box after he met a deflected cross 1st time ruled out because the ball had crossed the touchline earlier in the play…Correct call.
- Gregoire Defrel with a well placed inside out shot with his favored left foot soon after ruled out for offside….Correct call.
VAR scored a hat-trick and its use in this match must be commended.
However, Pazza Inter do not do normal, do not do routine, and do not do boring! Man of the Match, Marcelo Brozovic, scored the winner in the 94th minute with a right-footed blast, that went under the Blucerchiati keeper and they won it at the death!
Just like versus Tottenham in Europe in midweek, the Nerazzurri would not be denied.
Torino 1 – 3 Napoli
The lunchtime Sunday match pitted a Granata side who are still trying to find their clear tactics versus a Partenopei club, that manager Carlo Ancelotti himself is seemingly switching plays even during games.
However, the away side completely dominated this match from start to finish, and in fact, the eventual 3-1 scoreline flattered the home team. Carletto, unlike his predecessor Maurizio Sarri, is fully prepared to use his full squad and that was in evidence again, as he rotated Allan, Mario Rui, Piotr Zielinski and Milik.
A 4-4-2 formation was put to use and they pressured their opponents from the start. Their tempo was rewarded when Lorenzo Insigne blasted home a shot from inside the box after a failed clearance from Torino defender Moretti.
A well-worked move was then finished off by summer signing Simone Verdi, who scored the 1st goal for the club with his left foot, after connecting with a Dres Mertens 1st time cross after placing it to the Belgium international.
Napoli could have been up by at least 4 goals at the break, but it was the home team who pulled one back through captain Andrea Belotti from the penalty spot after Berenguer was fouled in the area.
The Campania based side did not panic though and confirmed their win just before the hour mark. Great work again from Mertens, who won the ball back, sent Zielinski on his way, whose pass met Jose Callejon, whose shot hit the post, before Insigne finsihed it up with his second.
Game. Set. Match.
Bologna 2 – 0 Roma
It is now a full-blown crisis at Trigoria!
Playing away to a Rossoblu side that had not even scored a goal in 4 matches, the Giallorossi were very poor….Their President James Palotta said he was “disgusted” by the result, while the players have been placed in a training retreat leading up to 2 Derbys with Frosinone & more importantly arch-rivals Lazio.
The home team’s manager Pippo Inzaghi himself has been under some pressure after a torrid start to the season, and he would have welcomed the brilliant opening goal by Federico Mattiello. After a poor attempt at a clearance from Roma’s keeper Robert Olsen, he collected the ball inside the 18-yard box, moved past his defender, and sweetly curled the ball into the right side of the goal.
The tifosi went crazy, and I suspect, with some sense of relief attached to those celebrations….
Things got even better for them, as just before the 60th minute, another Federico, this time the Paraguayan Santander, doubled the lead with a left footed shot that went under Olsen, from a counter-attack.
Palotta can talk about being disgusted all he wants, but he AND sporting director Monchi are 100% to blame for this mess with their ridiculous transfer policy!
Lazio 4 – 1 Genoa
Meanwhile, in the blue half of the capital divide, the Biancocelesti have made slow but steady improvements and demonstrated that with a thumping win over their visitors from Liguria.
Manager Simone Inzaghi broke the mold and started both of his center forwards, Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo in attack. It was the Ecuadorian who opened the scoring in just the 7th minute with a diving header after a cross went right along the Genoa goal.
He proved his worth again, as he won back the ball deep into the Genoa half, where it went to Marco Parolo, who placed the ball into the path of Immobile and the Italian international calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
The partnership was working wonders so far!
One of the break-out stars of the new season is Polish striker Krzysztok Piatek, and he scored his 5th goal of the season just after the start of the 2nd half, after yet another defensive mistake this weekend. This time the culprit was Francesco Acrebi.
The home team, however, were not to fold over, and Serbian Milinkovic-Savic, restored their 2 goal lead with a brilliant powerful header in the 53rd minute, from a Senad Lulic cross.
Immobile completed his brace, after good work from new signing Joaquin Correa, who beat the Genoa defender in the box and managed a shot, but it was saved. However, the Italian striker was there to pounce, to complete the 4-1 dominant display at home.
The build-up to the Derby della Capitale begins!
Chievo 0 – 2 Udinese
The only foreign manager in Serie A this season is Spaniard Julio Velazquez, and it seems his methods are finally being implemented by the Bianconerri.
Both teams had several chances to take the lead, but it was left to Rodrigo De Paul with an absolute screamer to open the scoring. He did so in the 76th minute, with a right-footed blast from all of 35 yards out that left the Flying Donkeys goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino with zero chance.
This match continued to be highly entertaining with Giaccherini playing a prominent role for the home side’s search for the equalizer, however, it was the visitors who scored the next goal. In a classic counter-attack, the ball found Kevin Lasagna, and the San Benedetto born forward made no mistake, placing the ball into the net with his left leg.
The Fruilians started off the season rather slowly, but Velazquez’s tactic seems to be getting through to the side.
Milan 2 – 2 Atalanta
Just as in Rome, the red half of Milan continued to struggle, as the Rossoneri were held at home to La Dea in a Lombardy derby.
It all started so well for the home team, as Gonzalo Higuain continued his recent good form with a splendid volley from a Suso cross. However, just as so often is the case, they failed to capitalize on their dominance, as Atalanta tied the game up just after the break.
Captain Papu Gomez met a cross and bundled it home after getting in front of Milan right-back Davide Calabria, who quite frankly was caught out ball watching. La Diavolo again took the lead, this time through Jack Bonaventura, again with a Suso assist, after he had an earlier header ruled out for offside, in another instance, when the VAR worked correctly.
Milan sat back and were duly punished, when yet again they conceded another equalizer through Emiliano Rigoni, in the dying embers of the match.
I have gone on record that Rino Gattuso is NOT the manager to bring Milan back to the top, and this match is further proof of that!
Frosinone 0 – 2 Juventus
The final game of the weekend, saw 7-time defending champions Juve, fresh from a European win in Valencia travel to face the Canarini on Sunday night.
The home team set their stall up to defend as deep as possible and hit the Bianconeri on the break, giving up the lions share of possession. Except for a couple of Ronaldo efforts and one shot saved off the line, the Old Lady struggled to create any clear-cut chances and had to wait until the 81st minute for the breakthrough.
It was indeed the Portugal international that broke the deadlock, guiding the ball into the net with his left foot. VAR checked for the offside, but he was level with the last defender and the goal rightly stood.
Juve’s best player so far this season, has arguably been Federico Bernadeschi, and although he started from the bench, he came on and sealed the points for his team, finishing off a counter-attack.
The champions are the only team with a 100% record this season, and only Napoli are even within a whisker of them, a full 3 points behind…
Another exciting round has come to an end, and with a mid-week round to be played, it will be interesting to see how teams handle the this…