Gattuso’s grinta is gone, Sassuolo continues on, Roma’s retreat work for now and Juve and Napoli get comfortable wins ahead of this weekend’s clash. Below, @TriniSportsGuy will present a summary of this past midweeks’ action of Serie A TIM calcio.
Inter 2-1 Fiorentina
If this was any other team, we could somewhat confidently say that after 3 consecutive wins, they are on the right track, but this is Inter, and as welcome as the 3 points are, they should be cautious.
How the Nerazzurri took the lead was rife with controversy! Antonio Candreva crossed into the box and Vito Hugo was adjudged to have handled the ball after the referee used the VAR. Did the ball touch his hand? Yes. Did he intentionally handled the football? No. However, in today’s game, you can’t keep you hand outstretched, and with any slow motion replay, it always makes things worse, so the ref pointed to the spot. Captain Mauro Icardi has had a slow start to the season, but he scored the penalty with ease.
The entire world of Calcio has been raving about one Federico Chiesa, and he got La Viola leveled when his rasping shot took a deflection off the home team’s defender Milan Skriniar, and Samir Handanovic was wrong-footed. A special mention must be made of the away team’s center midfielder Marco Benassi, who won back the ball after a superb tackle on Radja Nainggolan.
Fiorentina started imposing their game on the hosts, but it was Inter that took the lead again. A neat one two between Danilo D”Ambrosio and Icardi was finished off by the Italian international right back with a left footed shot, that went under Fiorentina goalkeeper Lafont.
There is much to be optimistic about this young Tuscan team, while Inter fans went home happy after another win.
Udinese 1-2 Lazio
Looking ahead to the Derby della Capitale on Saturday evening, Biancocesleti manager Simone Inzaghi, heavily rotated his squad. He rested Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, however, his reserves repaid his faith in them, with a very solid performance and a win.
It, however, took them until the second half to break the deadlock through defender Francesco Acerbi. The former Milan man was brought in as a replacement for Stefan De Vrij, who left for Inter. From a free-kick, the Bianconeri goalkeeper could only parry the ball, into the path of Acerbi, and he volleyed it into the net from inside the six-yard box.
Five minutes later and the Romans doubled their lead and what a way to do it! Another new recruit Joaquin Correa with a solo effort, as he played around with his defender in the box for a few seconds, dribbled past him and placed the ball neatly into the bottom left-hand corner of the net, a lovely finish from the Argentine.
The home side pulled one back in the 80th minute, with a deflected over-head kick, but there was no way back for them. That is now 4 straight wins for La Aquile, and they are in full form for Roma.
Atalanta 0-0 Torino
This match was completely dominated by La Dea, who missed several chances through Papu Gomez, Duvan Zapata, and Emiliano Rigoni, but could not make the breakthrough.
The Granata looked disinterested as much as you will ever see in any Serie A side, and they can’t play any worse than this, something, manager Walter Mazzarri would push to change as the season goes on.
Cagliari 0-0 Sampdoria
A game of two halves that could have easily ended 3-3 on another day!
The Sardinians controlled the first half and could have and probably should have scored with headers from Luciano Pavoletti and Farias, who also hit the post early in the second.
In the second half though, it was mostly the away team on the front foot, as Gregoire Defrel had a one-on-one saved by the Rossoblu goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, while he also hit the woodwork with a header, after meeting a cross that was a bit too quick for him to react to properly.
The French forward was again involved for the Blucerchiati best chance, as he was fouled in the penalty box. Polish player Dawid Kownacki stepped up, but Cragno again saved his team, when he flew to his right. Both teams had to settle for just one point, and both would agree it was a fair result given both teams clear chances.
Genoa 2-0 Chievo
Another game, another goal from Polish prodigy Piatek!
That he took until almost the end of the first half was a big surprise, as he hit a shot that flew just over the crossbar and hit the post later on. However, he would not be denied as he collected a pass inside the 18-yard box, took a step towards the goal, and sweetly struck the ball with his right foot into the bottom left hand of the goal.
He cost just 4.5 million Euros, and the sharks are already circulating, so the Rossoblu tifosi better enjoy him while it lasts! The home team confirmed the win, when veteran Goran Pandev finished off a counter-attack less than ten minutes into the second half, with his stronger left foot, that took a slight deflection.
The Flying Donkeys already look relegated, while Genoa have more points than Roma, Milan and Atalanta.
Juventus 2-0 Bologna
La Vecchia Signora completed a routine win at home, scoring two goals within the first fifteen minutes, while Bologna, came back down to earth after the high of defeating Roma over the weekend.
This result was most significant for Paulo Dybala though…Constant rumors about his place in the team, with even suggestions that there is an exchange brewing between Juve and Manchester United involving Paul Pogba.
He scored the home team’s first goal, and his celebration, was one of sheer relief rather than joy, and he and the Juventini will be hoping this kick-starts the Argentine’s year.
French midfielder Blaise Matuidi doubled the Bianconeri’s lead after meeting a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo, although, I suspect the Portugal international was actually shooting. The former PSG player would not have cared as he hit the ball into the roof of the net.
I have been highly critical of Bologna this season, and I will again say that they were PATHETIC! Not because they lost, but because they just gave up after just a quarter of an hour and manager Pippo Inzaghi’s comments after the match were quite damning… He was a great player, but he does not have a winning mentality as a coach and if Roma were not such a disaster on the weekend, he could well have been sacked now.
Napoli 3-0 Parma
Speaking of the Partenopei, they displayed another fine attacking display versus a solid Gialloblu team, who simply had no answer to Carlo Ancelotti’s troops.
The former Milan, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid manager again rotated his squad, however, it was one of the stalwarts, Lorenzo Insigne who gave the home team the lead, after meeting a cross from Arkadiusz Milik.
The Polish striker then got in on the act himself, as he bagged a brace. First with a brilliant left footed curler from outside the box and then meeting a Simone Verdi cross to tap in from four yards out.
Napoli now heads to Piedmont, with all their players feeling important, all their players in great form and a manager who knows he can trust them all. Carletto said he has given himself a “selection headache”; the starting line-up he names will be intriguing.
Roma 4-0 Frosinone
After their embarrassing loss to Bologna, the Giallorossi were sent on a retreat, and at least for the first game after, it worked, as they hammered a woeful Giallazzurri.
Three goals in the first half, the first a wonderful solo effort and power shot from Cengiz Under, another back-heel from Javier Pastore and the last a tap in from Stefan El Shaarawy, meant they would be no jeering of the team by the fans at the Stadio Olimpico.
They took their foot off the pedal (probably saving energy for the Derby), but got a forth, when Alexander Kolarov scorched a shot into the roof of the net just before the end.
This win does not answer any questions about Roma, but at least they go into the Derby with a win, even if we all know that means nothing on the day itself!
Spal 0-2 Sassuolo
An entertaining match between two of the surprise teams of the Serie A season so far was won by the Neroverdi, and their manager Roberto De Zerbi’s reputation continues to be enhanced.
The visitors took the lead through Claud Adjapong, after a combination of his body and a Spal defender from a cross just before the hour mark. At the very end, veteran Alessandro Matri confirmed the points as after his initial shot was saved, he scored into an empty net. He had earlier hit the post as well.
The Modena based team are now up to third in the standings, and who knows where De Zerbi’s brilliant tactics can take them this season….
Empoli 1-1 Milan
All the big teams won this mid-week, with the only exception being the Rossonerri, and Gennaro Gattuso can talk all he wants: he is mostly to blame for this mess!
He threw away young talents like Andre Silva and Manuel Locatelli, who are both performing well at Sevilla and Sassuolo respectively, in order to keep the likes of Fabio Borini and Lucas Biglia….
Gonzalo Higuain was injured for this match, so Borini started as a center forward, utter RUBBISH! Not even a Serie B team would start him at the number 9 position! To be fair, Milan did take the lead through a deflected Biglia shot, and they created a few chances to score and put the game away. However, Milan’s mentality is very poor when it comes to actually sealing a victory and that is the fault of manager Rino.
Slowly, but surely, the home team began making their way back into the match and they were unfortunate not to be level at the break, as they hit the post through Francesco Caputo. Milan goalkeeper Gigio Donarumma also had to make a few top class saves as well.
Inevitably, Milan conceded an equalizer, from a penalty given away criminally by captain Alessio Romagnoli’s ridiculous mistake! Passing out from the back is an art, and he played the ball right to Caputo, brought him down, and the ref pointed to the spot. The Altamura born forward stepped up himself and leveled the match and it would stay that way until the end.
Empoli keeper Pietro Terracciano had to make some brilliant saves mostly from Suso, who probably can’t even score an open goal at this point. The Tuscans would be grateful for the point, as Il Diavolo’s disastrous start to the season continues….
A mixed round of entertainment and frustration, this was all part of calcio this midweek, and we can now look forward to the weekend with some monster matches.