Serie A TIM: Matchday 10 Review

A one-sided Derby Del Sud that ended in a draw, young Italian striker Patrick Cutrone once again showing his worth for Milan, Spal shocked at home and no revenge for Lazio as they fell to Inter. Below, Vijay Rahaman (@TriniSportsGuy) provides the Matchday 10 recap of the Italian Serie A TIM.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Source- goal.com

Cristiano Ronaldo, Source- goal.com

Atalanta 3-0 Parma 

Three second-half goals from La Dea got them consecutive wins for the first time this 2018/19 season. It is to no surprise that since Slovenian international Josip Ilicic has returned to action, that Atalanta’s fortunes have improved; the former Fiorentina man had been suffering from illness at the beginning of this season and his team truly suffered without him.

The first half ebb and flowed with both teams creating chances, but neither could score. The home team were the ones that pushed the tempo more than the Crociati, and were rewarded. An Ilicic shot that took an unfortunate rebound off a Parma defender went into the goal, opened the scoring. They eventually doubled their lead through Jose Palomino, with a header from a corner and furthermore confirmed the win (also from a corner) with a Gianluca Mancini volley.

This was Parma’s second consecutive loss, and they are now just one point above their opponent in the table.

Empoli 1-2 Juventus 

Plain and simple, the Tuscan side did not deserve to lose this game, and yet again, questions are being asked about VAR….

The Azzurri took a deserved lead through Francesco Caputo just before the half hour mark, with a lovely left foot finish inside the box. They continued to play brilliantly, going against the grain of “sitting back on a lead”.

They could have possibly had a penalty before half time, when the ball appeared to have been handled by Leonardo Bonucci in the area. After the referee looked at the VAR, he decided against it. The Bianconeri were sub-standard in the opening half. In the second half, the seven time defending champions picked up the pace, but needed a controversial call to go their way to open their scoring account.

Argentine international Paulo Dybala has been known to go down very easily at times, and he did so again in the 52nd minute. Ismael Bennacer was adjudged to have fouled Juve’s acting captain for the day. However, it was more a coming together of players, not a foul. The referee should have done the more sensible thing and kept the play going, but he did not. He should have also checked the VAR for confirmation, but he did not. These inconsistencies of VAR usage by the referees themselves are what upsets people, and makes it easy to claim of “referee bias”. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and converted the penalty with ease. The controversial call knocked the stuffing out of the home team, and Juve duly got the winner soon after. What a goal it was! A Ronaldo rocket that rifled into the top right hand corner of the Empoli net, leaving their goalkeeper Ivan Provedel with no chance.

The Piedmont club opened up a seven point gap at the time; Empoli’s play deserved much more.

Torino 1-1 Fiorentina 

A meeting between friends as the Granata and La Viola played out a draw. These two clubs are twinned, and their fans have had a partnership for over 30 years now.

Both goals were scored within the opening 13 minutes of the match. Former Toro man Marco Benassi opened the scoring before a minute had passed, as a deflected Federico Chiesa cross took a deflection off Lorenzo De Silvestri, and he was there to calmly score pass Salvatore Sirigu. The seven time Scudetto winners equalised through Ola Aina’s shot that hit the post, hit Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont on the back, and trickled into the net. Both teams created a few chances each in the second half, but no more goals were scored.

A point does not help either team’s Europa League ambitions.

Sassuolo 2-2 Bologna 

A regional Derby between Emila-Romagna rivals that started in overcast conditions, and ended in the pouring rain at the Mapei Stadium.

Veteran Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring for the Rossoblu, with a rocket of a shot from close range after being set up by Federico Santandar, after the Neroverdi defense failed to clear. The away side could have doubled their lead but Santandar hit the post with a header. Then inexplicably, the home team failed to score when Federico Di Francesco and Domenico Berardi were heading towards the Bologna net with just the goalkeeper to beat – they completely messed it up. Maybe a case of mis-communication between them? Sassuolo did tie the game up, with a 30 yard stunner from Marlon Santos, what a way to score by the defender! The away side took the lead again, through a scrappy finish by Ibrahim Mbaye, from a corner, but they count all the same. Stefano Sensi came on for Sassuolo in the 80th minute, and less than five minutes after, he was brought down in the box and the referee had no choice but to give a penalty. Kevin-Prince Boatang easily converted the spot kick, and the game was level once more. The home team almost won it at the end from a corner, but it ended all square.

Bologna are now three points clear of the relegation zone, while Sassuolo are firmly in the fight for a European place.

Spal 0-3 Frosinone

Gli Estensi have been one of the surprise teams in Calcio recently, however, they were humbled at home by an improving Frosinone.

Both teams showed their capabilities of going forward, but it was the away side from Lazio that opened the scoring. Raman Chibsah was left unmarked and scored with a header from a corner just before half time. Joel Campbell has been a massive addition to The Canarini, and his brilliant run past a couple of the home team’s defenders down the left flank set up Camillo Ciano to pass the ball into the net. 2-0 up and Frosinone were in dreamland. They duly completed the rout, with a goal from Andrea Pinamonti. A nice passage of play from the away side, was finished off with a well timed half volley from the former Inter player.

Frosinone are still in a relegation battle, while Spal’s hopes of going into the mid table were severely dented.

Genoa 2-2 Udinese

A returning manager facing one under pressure at The Marassi.

It was an end-to-end match for the entire match, and both teams really decided to attack from the word go, with both goalkeepers being called into action to make some sprawling saves. The Gialloblu took the lead through a penalty, after Daniel Bessa was brought down by the Udinese keeper, and Romulo stepped up to convert. New Italian international Keven Lasagna evened the score with a towering header in the 65 minute and it was game on again! However, just two minutes later, the home team took the lead again, with a header of their own. Cristian Romero was somehow left all alone from a corner and duly guided the ball into the right hand side of the Udinese goal. The Frulians kept plugging away and equalised for good this time and what a goal it was! Rodrigo De Paul recently made his debut for Argentina, and it seems that has only raised his confidence, as he hit a ferocious curler into the top of the goal with his right foot, that left the home team’s keeper making a “courtesy dive”. It was his 5th goal of this season. Unfortunately for the Grifone, they went down to down man, when Romero was sent off for a second yellow card after making an ill timed sliding tackle to prevent a possible Udi go ahead goal. There would be no more goals, despite both teams pushing forward.

This result would ease the pressure on Udinese manager Julio Velazquez somewhat, while Juric has two draws from his two games since returning to the Genoa bench for a third time.

Cagliari 2-1 Chievo

A third win for the Sardinians, while The Flying Donkeys are certainly going down.

Luciano Pavoletti opened the scoring in customary fashion with a header from a corner in the 15th minute, after the home side dominated their guests. Chievo actually created a couple of chances, but it was the 1970 Serie A winners, who scored the next goal through former Chievo man Lucas Castro. The Argentine hit a thunderbolt from 25 yards out, after being set up by Pavoletti. The Verona based side got a consolation through a Mariuz Stepinski header, but there was no way back.

I am still trying to figure out why Chievo thought Giampiero Ventura could help their relegation cause?

Milan 3-2 Sampdoria

The Rossoneri are back to winning ways with an exciting home win. Il Diavolo’s manager Rino Gattuso finally decided to play Patrick Cutrone after wasting him away on the bench! It was the youth player that gave the home team the lead with a well placed header from a Suso cross in the 16th minute. However, The Doriani are a much improved away side this year, and they hit the home team with two goals in the space of 10 minutes.

Former Milan man Ricardo Saponara got the first, after going past Davide Calabria and slotting the ball into the net, and the evergreen Fabio Quagliarella gave them the lead with lovely volley after being sent clear by Saponara. The San Siro tifosi must have thought another loss was on the cards. The seven time European champions fought back however and a quick one two between Gonzalo Higuain and Cutrone, was finished off by the Argentine for his 7th goal for Milan. Man of the match Suso completed the turnaround, with a typical run and finish from outside of the box at the hour mark. Sampdoria’s play up until the penalty box was pleasing on the eye, but they were never able to find that final pass to score again.

Milan are now tied on 15 points with Samp, with a game in hand to be played on Wednesday against Genoa.

Napoli 1-1 Roma

The Derby Del Sud was tied but there was only one team that came to play football.

Having said that, it was the Giallorossi that took the lead through Stephan El Shaarawy when he met a cross with his right foot, it hit the post and just crossed the line, despite Kalidou Koulibaly’s best efforts. There is a bit of a theme developing for Napoli….. They dominate games, create a ton of chances, are poor in finishing and continue to lose points. Lorenzo Insigne could have had a hat-trick, Arkadiusz Milik could have a brace and other Napoli players came close to scoring, but it was not until the very end, did they get an equaliser. It was left to Dries Mertens who’s volley home from four yards after Jose Callejon scuffed his shot from a cross. Whether it was away to Red Star Belgrade and PSG in Europe, or here versus Roma in the league, the Partenopei needs to find a way to be more clinical, if they are to lift any silverware this season. Roma, on the other hand, played very negative, that is against their nature, and their defenders deserved credit for holding Napoli scoreless for almost 90 minutes.

I wonder if this is a tactic that their manager Eusebio Di Franceso will use a bit more?

Lazio  0-3 Inter

Inter bounced back after their European failure against Barcelona, while Lazio’s form has stuttered yet again.

There were question marks if this match would even taken place, as torrential showers rained down on Rome leading up to the kick off. Fortunately, the pitch itself was covered and it was playable. Luciano Spalletti surprisingly started the forgotten man Joao Mario, his first game for the Nerrazzurri since January. However, he opted not to start returning Lazio hero Stefan de Vrij, probably conscious of the hostile reception he would receive from the Laziali tifosi.

From the start, Inter were the much better side, as they pressed the home team, which caused them to make several mistakes in their passing, which the away side countered quickly off. Just before the half hour mark, that pressure made Lazio concede. Expectedly, it was captain Mauro Icardi who opened the scoring, with a well taken goal, after a scuffed attempt by Matias Vecino found him alone in the six yard box. Inter doubled their lead just before the stroke of half-time, with a rocket shot from Croatian international Marcelo Brozovic (remember when he was been criticised by all connected with Inter?). At the start of the second half, the Biancocelesti started playing much better, including being much quicker with their passing and the players were connecting more accurately. A goal never came, and it was Inter that increased their lead through that man again, Icardi. A quick counter led by Borja Valero, who replaced Joao Mario, was a finished off by the Argentine, after a lovely slide rule pass by the Spanish veteran in the 69th minute.

Lazio’s head dropped after that and it was comfortable for il Biscione a until the final whistle.

 

Another round in the bag, and for the first time this season, there are no games mid-week except for a make-up game, when Milan host Genoa on Wednesday at the San Siro.

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