Serie A TIM: Matchday 14 Recap

A thrilling relegation six pointer, a routine win for Juventus in enemy territory and a controversial Roma vs Inter clash headlined the Serie A stories this past weekend. Join as we recap all the action from Serie A TIM match day 14.

Spal 2-2 Empoli :

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Empoli were involved in another fascinating battle for the second week in a row. This time though, it was the Azzurri that suffered from a comeback. Gli Estensi took the lead in just the fifth minute of play through Jasmin Kurtic, with a powerful header from a corner.
Empoli had missed a fantastic chance earlier through Antonio La Gumina, but that man Francesco Caputo eventually levelled matters. A lovely slide rule pass by Krunic, and the captain made no mistake one on one with the goalkeeper. The away side took the lead through an absolute stunner from Krunic just before half-time, with a 30 yard stunner and they went into the break on top. Spal went down to 10 men when Thiago Cionek was shown a straight red card for a tackle from behind.
However, it would be the home side that got an equaliser through Kurtic again, after fine work down the right from Manuel Lazzarri, who crossed and the Slovenian was there to head home.  A point shared does not do much for either team’s survival hopes, but neutrals would have loved the entertainment.
Fiorentina 0-3 Juventus :
I wrote a full review and analysis which you can check out below :

Juventus’s Difficult December Is Off To A Flying Start As They Pass Their Tuscan Test Versus Fiorentina.

Sampdoria 4-1 Bologna :

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Evergreen Fabio Quagliarella scored a brace in a dominant performance from Sampdoria. It was, however, Dennis Praet who, whilst celebrating extending his contact with the 1991 Scudetto winners, opened the scoring with a point blank finish from a Gianluca Caprari cross.  The away side tied the game up less than 10 minutes later through former Samp player Andrea Poli, who tapped in a cross from three yards out.
Bologna were their own worst enemy as a defensive lapse allowed Quagliarella to score his first, and Sampdoria made it 3-1 just before half time, when Gaston Ramirez scored with a left footed shot after being sent through from a defence splitting pass. Quagliarella got his second and completed the rout with a easy finish from a cross in the 68th minute.
Sampdoria are back in the hunt for a Europa League place, while Bologna are back in the relegation zone.
Milan 2-1 Parma :
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The Rossoneri came back from a goal down to defeat the Crociati at home. The away side took the lead through a brilliant header from Roberto Inglese at the start of the second half. Then, it was that man Patrick Cutrone who led the Milanese comeback!
After fighting to get the ball back just outside Parma’s box, the 20-year raced inside the box and a deflected shot looped into the 18-yard; with Cutrone was there to volley home from a tight angle! The kid can play! Milan took full control by this point, while Parma were comfortable to play on the counter.
It took a VAR decision to decide the game, as Milan were awarded a spot kick after a Parma defender went towards the ball with both hands and the referee made the right decision to use the technology. Franck Kessie converted easily, one wonders what could have happened had he taken the one versus Juve a few weeks back?
The seven time European champions are back up to 4th, while Parma can still fight for a European place.
Frosinone 1-1 Cagliari :
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A well worked move by the Lazio-based team gave them the lead through Francesco Cassata and the home fans were dreaming of more recent success. There was some end to end football at times, and the Sardinians got an equaliser in the 77th minute through the returning Diego Farias, who scored with a sliding finish from a cross from the right side.
Cagliari have 16 points, double that of Frosinone, but both of them can still go down.
Torino 2-1 Genoa :
The Grifone nearly opened the scoring through a combination of Piatek & Christian Kouame, but failed to convert. The away side went then down to 10 men when Romulo was shown a straight red for a high foot. The seven time Scudetto winners’ manager Ivan Juric choose to substitute Piatek for a tactical change, and the Polish sensation was not happy!
Incredibly though, it was the Rossoblu that took the lead through Kouame, after he tapped in after being left all alone from a header into the box. Just on the stroke of the half, Christian Ansaldi tied the game up with a lovely volleyed finish from just outside the box. Unbelievably in the 5th minute of the first half stoppages, the Granata scored the game winning goal, through an Andrea Bellotti penalty.
Toro are now in an Europa League spot, while Genoa are dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Sassuolo 0-0 Udinese : 
A disappointing game ended goalless, despite decent chances for Duncan (who had a goal ruled out for offside) and a Malcolm pile driver. The Neroverdi are actually tied with Roma on 20 points, while the Fruilians are just happy for any points to avoid the drop.
Chievo 1-1 Lazio :
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A point gained or two points dropped? That is question both teams will be asking after this clash.
The Veronese opened the scoring through veteran Sergio Pellisier after being brilliantly put through by Valter Birsa! It was a classic counter-attack from the home side. The Bentegodi’s goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino has been in great form this season, and he twice denied Lazio striker Ciro Immobile in either half. However, at the 66th minute mark, it would be third time lucky for the 28-year old, as he finished off a lovely worked move by the Biancocelesti.
Immobile & Joaquin Correa combine to build a nice partnership between themselves and that could be key to any success the two time Scudetto winners have this campaign. Both teams then came close to grabbing a winner, as first Immobile hit the post on a break-away, and then Patric saved Lazio with a goal line clearance.
Neither team deserve to lose this one, and the Flying Donkeys have now taken points off Napoli and Lazio in consecutive weeks!
Roma 2-2 Inter :
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A controversial clash at the Stadio Olympico gave a great advert for Serie A.
Czech international Patrick Schick has come in for lots of criticism (including from me), but he made a brilliantly run and back-heel that set up Alessandro Florenzi early on, and the Roman really should have done better, as he hot the post.
Then the big talking point of the match! Nicolo Zaniolo who was shall we say “sacrificed” by Inter to get Radja Nainggolan appeared to have been tripped by former teammate Danilo D’Ambrosio in the penalty box. It is fine if the referee Gianluca Rocchi did not see it, as it was a crowded area, but why he did not use the VAR is beyond belief! The Nerazzurri prompty went up the other end and scored, and it was the former Lazio player Keire Balde who put the ball in the back of the net. He finished off a D’Ambrosio cross with a first time volley inside the box.
The Giallorossi did find their equaliser and what a goal it was! Cengez Under, who had missed a sitter against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League last week, hit a 25-yard screamer past a dazed Samir Handanovic, who was motionless…..Mauro Icard usually turns up in Rome and he did so again, with a powerful header from a corner, 15 minutes after the Under goal.
The three time Scudetto winners fought back again, through the penalty spot, after VAR had adjuged Marcelo Brozovic to have handled the ball in the penalty area. Alexander Kolarov stepped up and hit a ferocious spot kick, that despite Handanovic diving the right way, the Slovenian had no chance.
Both teams pushed for the, but we would get no further addition to the scoresheet. Inter’s faint hopes of catching Juve before this Friday’s Derby d’Italia are all but gone, while the inconsistencies of Roma are in evident again.
Atalanta 1-2 Napoli :
A wonderful atmosphere greeted the players as they strolled out at the Stadio Azzurri d”Italia and the men on the field delivered!
Within 90 seconds, the Partenopei had taken the lead through Spanish sensation Fabian Ruiz as he met a cross along the deck from Lorenzo Insigne. In an end to end entertaining game, both teams continued to create chances, and La Dea missed a few through Duvan Zapata, while Insigne missed a sitter for the away side when he just had the keeper to beat.
It would however be the former Napoli player Zapata that drew the home side level. A cross came in from the left, took a deflection off a Napoli defender and looped up, which allowed Hans Hateboer to head to the Zapata, and the Colombian did the rest, blasting the ball past Davide Ospina.
The 1989 UEFA Cup winners grabbed a crucial winning goal just six minutes from the end through Arkadiucz Milik. A quick counter from the Campania side on the left eventually found it’s way to Mario Rui, the Portuguese sent a well weighted cross to the Pole, and he finished superbly!
Napoli cut the lead between themselves and Juve to eight points, and the Serie A race is still open, if only barely….
The biggest winners this week were Juve, Napoli, Milan & Torino, while both Roman clubs and Inter would not be happy with just a point. We have a mid-week round of the Coppa Italia, although none of the top level teams are involved and they would be doing some major work till weekend, because the rest of December there is plenty to play for.

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