By Edoardo Stella
Results from round 31 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Yet another goalscoring defeat for Crotone
Rodrigo De Paul leads Udinese towards safety in Serie A. The gap to Cagliari remains 11 points and after a short negative period for the Friulani, a win over Crotone allows them to return to winning ways.
Crotone was the protagonist of a similar story they live every weekend. Simy scored again, but Crotone couldn’t convert his goal into points as they have conceded a whopping 79 in the first 31 games.
They are only 10 goals away from the negative record of Venezia in the 1950 season, which is becoming a real possibility.
Will Claudio Ranieri stay at Sampdoria?
After picking up a team buried in 20th place last year, Ranieri first led Sampdoria to a safe stay in Serie A, then is remaining in the top half of the table in the following season.
Sampdoria beat Verona on Saturday, closing the gap to the Gialloblu to only two points, as they occupy 10th and ninth place respectively. Verona went up in the first-half, but their negative period continues, as Jakub Jankto, Manolo Gabbiadini and Morten Thorsby overturned it, with Ranieri opting for three substitutions after the first fraction of play.
There have been doubts over Ranieri’s future, but for sure, staying at Sampdoria would be well-deserved for the results he achieved.
Domenico Berardi scares Fiorentina
It’s a win that will surely please Roberto De Zerbi, as Sassuolo haven’t quite been as flawless as they were in the first half of the season, but now increase their gap from ninth place to five points with back-to-back wins.
Fiorentina went up, but the third comeback of the day was made with two penalties from substitute Domenico Berardi, back after an injury, and Maxime Lopez.
Fiorentina now only have five points more than 18th placed Cagliari and only scored a point in the last four games.Embed from Getty Images
Thrilling win gives Cagliari hope
16 months ago, Cagliari were up 1-0 against Lazio in stoppage-time, but conceded two goals and lost. A win would have meant they would be in third place in December, but that loss started a negative streak of 53 games in which they only scored 38 points and got eight wins.
Now, Cagliari score two goals in stoppage-time against relegation-threatened Parma to claim a miracle win and give a slight spark of hope to all Sardinian fans.
It’s one of those wins that can change your seasons and with seven games left to play, can this success mark the end of a negative period?
Ante Rebic: the man for the second part of the season
Striker Gianluca Scamacca scored the winner in Milan v Genoa. The real issue is that it was into his own net and that transfer rumours give him very close to Milan for next season.
It was surely a poorly-timed coincidence, but the own-goal sealed the game for Milan after Ante Rebic had scored a beautiful opener. Of his 18 Serie A goals for Milan, 17 have come in the second-half of the season and there are still seven more games…
Meanwhile, it’s just the first time Milan win at the Stadio San Siro in two months.
Crazy showing between Lazio and Benevento
Those who say that the Serie A is a boring league should really start following it closely to understand that it’s not the case.
Lazio and Benevento produced a combined total of one woodwork, two own-goals, three penalties (of which one missed) and eight goals (plus one ruled out).
Ciro Immobile thought his goal drought was over, only for his goal to be ruled offside, then given by VAR, but subsequently assigned as an own-goal. Immobile did then get his own goal, also giving up a penalty to teammate Joaquin Correa.
Marco Sau made it 3-1 with a stunner, then the Benevento goalkeeper deflected a cross into his own net, before saving a penalty to Immobile.
Even when 4-1 Benevento didn’t give up, but they succumb to other own-goals (fifth and sixth of the season), the second-ever worst score in a single Serie A campaign.
“Only winning matters” says Sinisa Mihajlovic
Bologna move up to 11th place with their third win in five games, as they obey to Mihajlovic’s statement before the game: “It doesn’t matter if we play well or badly, we just need to win”.
At this point of the season, it’s the points that make the difference and it appears that, with the number of points needed to stay up this season being quite low, it may just have been enough for Bologna.
The Rossoblu triumph 4-1 against Spezia, with a double from midfielder Mattias Svanberg being the major highlight. Spezia remain 14th, but need to keep their concentration high to preserve the seven points gap over Cagliari.
Is finishing out of the top four a realistic possibility for Juventus?
Prior to observing where the new Superleague will lead us, Juventus are standing a chance not to play in next year’s Champions League, due to the risk of not finishing in the top four places.
Without Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, Atalanta get their first league win against Juventus since 2001, moving up to third and leaving the Bianconeri in a dangerous position.
Juventus never appeared to threaten Pierluigi Gollini’s goal and despite only conceding to a deflected shot, it’s difficult to say they deserved more. Napoli’s draw to Inter means that Juventus conserve two points over fifth and further two over Lazio, who still have a game in hand.
All is to play for, but Juventus cannot slip anymore.
Heroic Torino come-back against Roma
The period in which Torino were the ones to concede come-backs, so much as to lose 23 points from winning positions in the first 14 games seems far away.
Torino’s pride is kicking in, as they are beginning to finally look like a competitive side, winning three of the last four games. Borja Mayoral put Roma in front after a few minutes, but Torino were having none of it and led by in-form man Antonio Sanabria, found an incredible win.
Simone Zaza scored seconds after coming on and Tomas Rincon sealed the game in stoppage-time assisted by captain Andrea Belotti.Embed from Getty Images
Christian Eriksen maintains Inter’s unbeaten run
There had to be a moment in which Inter finally stopped winning, but Eriksen ensured the Nerazzurri still got a point against a tough opponent like Napoli.
In what was a very even game, an episode proved decisive as Samir Handanovic and Stefan De Vrij hit each other when the goalkeeper attempted to catch a ball, resulting in a bizarre own-goal that put Inter down on the score for the first time since January, 10.
Inter didn’t give up and showed all their unity, first hitting the woodwork twice and then equalising with Eriksen, who relieved all Inter fans, before the final minutes gave the impression that both teams were happy to accept a draw.
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