In the latest round of the Serie A TIM, Juventus and Napoli pull further away from the rest of the league, the Milanese sides falter, and Lazio and Bologna gain important wins to move closer to their objectives…
Chievo 0-3 Cagliari
Three first-half goals for the Sardinians meant a first away win since early September in the league. Fabio Pisacane started the scoring, heading home from a Luca Pellegrini cross, and the away side doubled their lead soon after, as Nicolo Barella made a marauding run, passed off to Joao Pedro and the Brazilian placed an inside out shot to the far corner. It was 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, as Arthur Ionita headed a Cacciatore cross. To make matters for the Flying Donkeys, Fabio Depaoli was sent off in the 52nd minute and there was no way back. The Isolani are eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Udinese 2-0 Genoa
A win for Udinese in manager Igor Tudor’s first game back… Stefano Okaka finished off a nice move from the Friulians, scoring from just six yards in just the fourth minute. The Grifone looked nothing like the side that beat Juventus last time out and were down 0-2 at the hour mark. Italy Under-21 captain Rolando Mandragora scored a spectacular volley from 25 yards out after he collected a pass from Igor Pussetto. Udinese are three clear of the drop zone with a game in hand, while Genoa, need to still be wary of their status.
Juventus 1-0 Empoli
Routine win for Juventus…Empoli pressed, created, but so typical of teams this season when facing the defending champions, they failed to convert. The Bianconeri looked disinterested in this match, and not surprisingly did not score until the second half. They scored with a route one play; Giorgio Chiellini launched a long ball, Mario Mandzukic headed towards the penalty area and young starlet Moise Kean was there to score, with the help of a slight deflection. The Tuscans offered nothing of note afterward. It’s just a matter of time until La Vecchia Signora’s eight consecutive Scudetto is confirmed, while Empoli are now in the last relegation spot.
Sampdoria 1-0 Milan
Well deserved win for Sampdoria…The home team scored before the first minute and never gave up the lead. A horrendous mistake from Gigio Donnarumma in the Milan goal, allowed Gregoire Defrel to nip in and score and the Rossoneri never recovered. The Ligurians pressed, hassled and generally made life uncomfortable for the away side and Genaro Gattuso had no answers to counter-act Samp’s brilliant play. Milan director Leonardo complained about two penalties not be given, and while those things do change games, the overall performance of his club has been poor for a while now. Samp are just six points off a UEFA Champions League place, while Milan are stuttering at the worst possible time of the season.
Parma 1-3 Atalanta
A comeback win for La Dea…Gervinho opened the scoring for the home team, pouncing on an error from the Bergamaschi defense, to race away and place a left-footed effort in the goal. Atalanta duly struck back…Firstly, Mario Pasalic collected a pass from Papu Gomez and did the rest, beating his defender, to score in the Parma goal. The teams went into the break all square, but not before Bruno Alves forced Atalanta’s goalkeeper into a flying save from a free-kick. In the second half, there was only one team in the contest as the Bergamo side dominated and were duly rewarded. Duvan Zapata was the beneficiary as the Colombian scored a brace. His first came after brilliant work from Gomez, he hit a first-time cross from Timothy Castagne and his second came at the end of the game, again, Gomez being the creator. The Argentine took on his defender and crossed to the unmarked Zapata to score in an open goal. The Crociati’s inconsistent season continues, while Atalanta are right in the race for Europe.
Fiorentina 1-1 Torino
A point shared between these Twinned clubs…La Viola took the lead through Giovanne Simeone, as the Argentine collected the ball, and with the Granata players protesting for off-side, he calmly rounded, Salvatore Sirigu and scored. The Piedmont club equalized just after the half-hour mark; Daniele Baselli, much criticized by many, collected a pass from Iago Falque, and unleashed a 25-yard right-footed blast into the goal. There was not much from either team thereafter, and the encounter petted out into a tame draw. Both teams stay in mid-table.
Frosinone 0-1 Spal
A relegation six-pointer eked out by the Ferrara team…The goal came early on as from a corner, Francesco Vicari got away from his marker to head into the far post. After that, the Lazio based club did everything they could to score, but it was not forthcoming; They hit the post, the cross-bar and forced the Spal goalkeeper into several saves, but there was no break-through. Frosinone are eight points from safety, while Spal are four clear of the drop.
Roma 1-4 Napoli
A dominant performance as you are ever likely to see in a Derby…The Partenopei were the better side from start to finish and scored four goals, but it could have been double that. Polish star Arkadiusz Milik opened the scoring early on collecting a lovely chipped pass from Simone Verdi, the former Ajax man, flicked the ball, which was behind him and volleyed home. Napoli created much more in the first half, but could not convert and the Giallorossi struck on the stroke of half-time. Patrick Schick went for a loose ball and Alex Meret brought him down and Diego Perrotti calmly scored the penalty. However, the Campanians replied soon after the break. Firstly, Dries Mertens tapped in from a Jose Callejon cross, then a racking run from Fabian Ruiz from inside his own half set up Verdi for the third. The route was completed, as substitute Amin Younes scored a solo goal, from a ball that bounced about from a corner. Roma’s struggles continued, while Napoli are 10 points clear of third place.
Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo
A win at the death for the Rossoblu…The first half was end to end for the most part as both teams went for the win, but the goals all came in the second. The home team took the lead through a penalty, as Erick Pulgar scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute. Then real drama! Jeremie Boga scored into the roof of the net in the first minute of stoppage time, it was initially ruled out for offside, but then the referee consulted the VAR, and it was given. Then in the 96th minute, Matteo Destro scored with a header from a corner to send the tifosi at the Renato Della Ara into ecstasy. Bologna are two points clear of the relegation zone, while Sassuolo are just seven clear themselves.
Inter 0-1 Lazio
Lazio second win in a row against a top team…The Nerazzurri started off the better team, but it was the Biancoclesti that scored first, and it was a lead that they would not relinquish. On a counter-attack, Luis Alberto and Sergey Milinkovic-Savic combined; the Spaniard crossed and the Serb scored to put their team ahead. After that, it was the turn of the goalkeepers to take center stage, as Samir Handanovic for Inter and Tomas Strakosha for Lazio, made save, after save, after save. In particular, it was il Biscione’s skipper that had the majority of the work to do. He denied Francesco Acrebi, Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile from widening the margin of victory for the away side. Despite his heroics, his teammates were futile in their attempt to gain anything from the other end and Lazio held on. Inter failed to take advantage of their city rivals dropping points, while Lazio did not make the same mistake from their city rivals; Lazio are three points off fourth place with a game in hand.
There is little time for the teams to have a break as we have a full mid-week round of action starting on Tuesday…