Spal shock Juventus. A highly controversial encounter at the San Siro between Milan and Lazio. Sampdoria continues their Derby della Lanterna dominance over Genoa. These were some of the main highlights from this past round of the Serie A TIM.
Spal 2-1 Juventus
The Ferrara side continued their impressive home form… A much-changed Bianconeri side took the lead and no prizes for the goal-scorer. Moise Kean continued his blistering 2019 form, guiding home a scuffed shot from Joao Cancelo to give the away side a lead at the half-hour mark. The home team however struck a double blow in the second half to take the lead, the win, and a vital three points. Firstly Kevin Bonifazi headed home from a cross and then 20 minutes Sergio Floccari finished off from inside the box after his team had won possession inside Juve’s half. Spal are six points clear of the drop zone, while Juve’s attention turns to Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.
Roma 1-0 Udinese
A much-needed win for the Giallorossi… In the first half, both teams created one chance each, as Rolando Mandragora for Roma and Ivan Marcano forced either goalkeeper into routine saves. The second half was filled with much more action as the rain came pouring down in Rome. Antonio Mirante had to dive full backward, to deny Marco D’Alessandro and Sebastien De Maio hit the post, while Edin Dzeko had a header saved. It would be the Bosnian bomber that got the vital strike, as he ran on from a lovely weighted pass from Stephan El Shaarawy and scored with a first time shot. Il Lupi are just one point behind Milan in fourth, while the Friulans are three points above the relegation zone.
Milan 1-0 Lazio
A fight between the UEFA Champions League-chasing teams… It was the Biancocelesti who dominated the early exchanges; Ciro Immobile hit the post after being sent through by Luis Alberto and the Italy international came close again, after forcing Pepe Reina into a one-handed save, after a brilliant surging run from Joaquin Correa. Milan gradually got into the game, and their best chance of the first half was from a header from Krzysztof Piatek, which just went past the post from a Davide Calabria cross. It became a physical game thereafter, as neither team gave nothing away. Then, in a space of two minutes, Milan had two penalty calls go either way; Firstly, Francesco Acerbi was called for a handball, but with the help of the VAR, it was revoked, and soon after, Riza Durmisi barged into Matteo Musacchio and this time it was confirmed. Franck Kessie stepped up and converted the spot kick. Later, Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi was sent off and the Rossoneri held onto the lead. A mass brawl ensued after as both benches cleared and then Kessie and Bakayoko held up Acerbi shirt to the Curva Sud and that caused a lot of back and forth, counter-arguments, apologies, and much more after the match. We have not heard the last of that! Milan holds on the final Champions League spot just barely, while if Lazio beat Udinese this week with their game in hand, they will move just three points behind.
Torino 1-1 Cagliari
All square in this Sunday lunchtime match… Both teams came close to opening the scoring in the first half, as Daniele Baselli forced a smart save from Alessio Cragno and Artur Ionita crashed a shot on the cross-bar. However, soon after the interval, the Granata opened the scoring after Simone Zaza scored from three yards out from an Armando Izzo low cross. However, the striker was sent off 20 minutes later for what seemed like him telling off the referee. Soon after the Isolani equalized, as Leonardo Pavoletti scored with, what else, a header from a Luca Cigarini cross. In the last 10 minutes, the away side were reduced to nine men, as Luca Pellegrini and Nicolo Barella were shown their marching orders for second bookable offenses. No more goals though… Torino are five points off Champions League, while Cagliari eight points above the drop.
Sampdoria 2-0 Genoa
Samp continued their dominance over their city rivals… It was a frenetic opening, as the Grifone’s Christian Kouame curled an effort just wide before a minute had even been played. Then Karol Linetty for the Blucherchaiti with a lovely piece of skill inside the penalty box forced a save from Andrei Radu in the Genoa goal into a fine save. From the resulting corner, the designated “home” team Samp took the lead, after Gregoire Defrel guiding home a Fabio Quagliarella cross. The Rossoblu reacted and Miguel Veloso forced Emil Audero into a Samp save. Defrel was at it again in the second, as he clipped a ball, it was handled by Davide Biraschi in the box, the referee pointed to the spot and the Genoa defender was sent off. Quagliarella scored the spot to go to 22 goals in the league this season. He had a chance to make it 23, but his shot was saved by Radu. That is now six games unbeaten for Samp in the Derby della Lanterna. Samp are seven off a Champions League spot, while Genoa’s safety is not assured as yet, being just five above the drop.
Fiorentina 0-0 Bologna
A point in Vincenzo Montella’s La Viola return… The home team forced their visitors goalkeeper Thomas Skrupski into a couple of saves from Giovanni Simeone and Ousmane Dabo shots, but it was scoreless at the break, After the break, the Tuscans continued to dominate with Luis Muriel hitting the post, while Bologna nearly scored from a goalkeeping error, as Alban Lafont came out to the almost the half-way line and had to scrambled back to make a save. Fiorentina’s hopes for Europe took another hit, while Bologna are in the last safe spot for Serie A.
Sassuolo 0-0 Parma
All square in this Emilia Romagna Derby… The Neroverdi nearly opened the scoring through a Jeremie Boga curler that hit the post. Then the Crociati were awarded a penalty with the use of the VAR, for a foul in the box. However, Fabio Ceravolo’s spot kick was saved by Andrea Consigli in the goal. The home team were the much better side and created a few chances, but Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe stopped whatever came his way. The regional rivals are separated by just two points but are in mid-table.
Chievo 1-3 Napoli
A commanding win for the Partenopei which also sent the Flying Donkeys into Serie B… Star defender Kalidou Koulibaly scored with a point-blank header from a corner to open the scoring in the 15th minute. The home team offered virtually nothing and the away side doubled their lead through Arkadiusz Milik with a lovely placed shot from just outside the penalty area. With less than 10 minutes to go, Koulibaly completed his brace with a thumping shot, after the ball had bounced around from a corner. Bostjan Cesar grabbed a consolation late on for the Veronese side. Napoli now heads home to prepare for Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League needing a historic comeback, while Chievo must start planning their route back up to the top flight.
Frosinone 1-3 Inter
The Nerazzurri solidify their Champions League position… The away side started off on the front foot and were soon out in front, as Radja Nainggolan nodded home a Danilo D’Ambrosio cross in the 19th minute. They doubled their lead before the break, as Ivan Perisic converted a penalty after Milan Skriniar was fouled in the area. I Canarini pulled one back right after the breakthrough Francesco Cassata, with a shot from outside the box, that Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic could only get a hand too into the goal. Both teams traded blows after with a few close shaves, but it was the away side that scored the final goal. On a counter-attack, Mauro Icardi fed Matias Vecino, and the Uruguayan easily scored to seal all three points. Inter are five points clear of their city rivals in third, while time is running out for Frosinone to save their Serie A status.
Atalanta 0-0 Empoli
La Dea did everything possible to win but found a stubborn Empoli side… Early on Diego Farias had the first shot in anger, as he nearly gave the Tuscans the lead with a shot from inside the box, but it was well saved by Pierluigi Gollini. After that, it was Atalanta, as they peppered the Empoli goal, with shot, after shot, after shot… Polish goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski put in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance and he kept the Lombardians at bay for the rest of the match. In the first half, it was Hans Hateboer who missed with a point-blank header and then Dragowski denied Remo Freuler twice in the same play, inside the box. In the second, it seemed to be a personal duel between Dragowski and Hateboer, as twice more, the Pole denied the Dutchman, first, from a shot and then from a header, It was the turn of Josip Ilicic to be denied by the 21-year old, from a right footed shot. The final real chance, was when Gianluca Mancini back-flicked a Musa Barrow low cross, but Dragowski would not be beaten. The Bergamaschi are still just two points off the Champions League, while Empoli sill occupies the last relegation spot.
There are three important mid-week games. The first occurs on Tuesday as Juventus try to close out the tie with Ajax in the UEFA Champions League; the second is Lazio and Udinese meeting in Rome on Wednesday for their make-up match in the Serie A TIM; and lastly Napoli, who are trying to rally in the Europa League from a 0-2 deficit against Arsenal at the San Paolo.