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By Edoardo Stella

Results from round 26 of the 2020/21 season:

Serie A table:

Balance between Spezia and Benevento

In the game between two newly-promoted sides, there was no winner. Spezia have some regrets, after hitting the woodwork twice, but can be thankful of getting a point with a late equaliser from Daniele Verde.

New signing Adolfo Gaich scored for Benevento on his first start, but once again they fail to win. Benevento should begin to worry now, as mid-week events caused Filippo Inzaghi to drop Pasquale Schiattarella and Roberto Insigne from the game.

After a splendid first round of games, it would be a shame to ruin all the positive work done until now. 

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Inverted roles for Sassuolo and Udinese

The expectation was that Sassuolo would dominate the game, but instead they met a very organised Udinese side that despite only having 28% ball possession, was a lot more dangerous.

Luca Gotti’s players have gained 14 points in the last seven games and are a very in-form team. Meanwhile, Sassuolo, have only got seven, which is quite poor considering the way they started the season.

The Neroverdi are in the worst part of their season, while Udinese are finally getting to their best, with captain Rodrigo De Paul always on the spot and new signing Fernando Llorente getting his first goal of the season.

Alvaro Morata does the Cristiano Ronaldo

With Ronaldo unusually on the bench against Lazio, ahead of the Champions League game with Porto, Alvaro Morata carried Juventus on his shoulders to gain three precious points.

This win against such an opponent helps Juventus send a statement to their rivals, but also redeems Morata’s Serie A season. The Spaniard had started the campaign very well, but had entered a long period without scoring.

It was his time to shine, as he greatly demonstrated his importance for the Bianconeri. Should he find more consistency, Juventus have really found an asset for the final part of the season. 

Heavy goal from Gianluca Mancini

Roma’s defence was protagonist at both ends against Genoa, as Mancini got a decisive goal that helped the Giallorossi get another win.

Chris Smalling finally turned up, with a good defensive performance that Roma hopes will be the first of many.

After a poor start to the season, Smalling will look to finish on a high, as his partnership with Mancini hasn’t shone the brightest so far. 

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Milan stronger than the injuries

The absence of some key players like Theo Hernandez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic and Ismael Bennacer including a results-crisis in recent weeks, mixed with a tough away trip to Hellas Verona, meant these were all the ingredients needed for Milan to fail.

It wasn’t to be though, as the Rossoneri proved they are still in the race with a splendid performance. Although Verona made multiple individual mistakes, it is not common of a team to show up at the Stadio Bentegodi and fully neutralise the Gialloblu.

Franck Kessie was monumental in midfield, with Rade Krunic and Diogo Dalot both getting splendid goals. Milan had decided it just wasn’t the day where their rivals celebrate their final downfall for 2020/21.  

Stunning game of football as Serse Cosmi gets his first win

A game between two teams in the relegation zone, that being Crotone and Torino, usually does not get much attention. However, it was the most entertaining game of the week, possibly of all European football.

Simy started the show with a penalty for Crotone, as Christian Ansaldi had his arm up trying to call for offside and the ball deflected off him. However, Ansaldi redeemed himself, offering a nice assist to Rolando Mandragora.

Federico Bonazzoli’s thunderbolt unluckily hit the crossbar, before Simy scored again and Arkadiusz Reca put Crotone 3-1 with another incredible hit.

Game over? Surely not. Antonio Sanabria scored with a splendid strike on his debut to give Torino hope, but Adam Ounas finished the game with a great solo run.

There was also time during for Jacopo Petriccione and Lisandro Magallan hitting the woodwork, plus Tomas Rincon being sent off. Astonishing. Do watch the highlights!

Thrilling draw as Fiorentina come-back against Parma

Parma have improved their quality under Roberto D’Aversa, but there must be something wrong with the Crociati’s mentality, as they somehow didn’t win a game when they took the lead going into stoppage time.

Fiorentina, initially, took the lead twice, with two set-pieces leading to Lucas Martinez Quarta’s and Nikola Milenkovic’s goals. However, Juraj Kucka converted a penalty, with Jasmin Kurtic also scoring.

Youngster Valentin Mihaila scored at the 90th minute for what would have been their first win in 17 games, but in the last few seconds, Simone Iacoponi scored an own goal to deny Parma once again. D’Aversa’s team have solved the goalscoring issue, scoring nine goals in the last five games, after scoring eigth in the previous 15.

Survival is still possible, but whichever way this season goes, it has been a huge disappointment given that Parma have the possibility to do way more than this. 

Radja Nainggolan finally scores to rescue Cagliari

This beautiful weekend of Serie A continues with yet another superb game, as Radja Nainggolan’s first goal of the season, coming in the 96th minute, keeps Leonardo Semplici’s unbeaten record intact for Cagliari.

Joao Pedro, of whom Cagliari are dependent, put the Sardinian team up early, as their lead lasted for over an hour. This was overturned within two minutes, with goals from Bartosz Bereszynski and Manolo Gabbiadini in rapid sequence. The goal was the Polish’s first for Sampdoria, coming in his fifth season for the Blucerchiati, it was also Gabbiadini’s first goal of the season, having spent most the campaign on the sidelines with an injury.

Nainggolan, however, drew level at the death with a long range strike that also picked up a deflection on the way.  

Lorenzo Insigne does Napoli proud

Napoli consolidate their place in the top six, with a 3-1 over Bologna that saw their captain protagonist with a brace. Insigne scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season, proving at distance that he is Napoli’s top man.

He is most often the last one to give up and the one that tries the most and although Napoli aren’t quite living up to expectations, it can be argued that without Insigne it would have been a nightmare. 

There was good news also for Victor Osimhen, with his third goal for the club after a troublesome season. The Nigerian will be hoping this kickstarts a new period with Napoli, as his last goal had come in the reverse fixture against Bologna in Matchday seven. Does this mark the end of a poor cycle lasted 19 games?

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Milan Skriniar completes his resurgence

When a player that was virtually out of the team, suddenly becomes a starter again, it’s common to say that it’s like they made a free signing. Skriniar was ignored by Antonio Conte for large parts of last season, given his inadaptability in the three men defence.

However, the defender this season has been mostly impeccable and solved a tight game between Inter and Atalanta with his opportunistic goal from the development of a corner. After going two years without scoring, this is the Slovakian’s third goal of the season, always coming in important games.

Inter kept an offensive team like Atalanta at bay, conceding minimal chances despite allowing them possession most of the time.

Seven clean sheets in the last nine games indicate that Inter are reaching maturity on both sides of the pitch. 

For Edoardo’s previous Serie A column click here.

For more football content click here.

For more sport content click here.

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