By Edoardo Stella
Results from round 36 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Napoli make another step forward with many goals
Napoli win 5-1 against Udinese with a typical performance of theirs. The Partenopei dominate Udinese, scoring some splendid goals, particularly Fabian Ruiz’s curler, and move closer to finishing in the top four.
Udinese are tough opponents and putting five past them is never easy. Gennaro Gattuso is leading the side to an excellent final part of the season, as Napoli become the Serie A side to score more goals from outside the box (22) in a single season.
Piotr Zielinski, Hirving Lozano, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Lorenzo Insigne all scored in what was an excellent attacking display.
Piloted draw between Cagliari and Fiorentina
When two sides who need little more to stay up, draw 0-0, with no shots on goal during the whole game, it may not just be a coincidence.
Fiorentina and Cagliari do each other a massive favour, as Cagliari move within a point of survival (provided Benevento win both their remaining games), while Fiorentina are now mathematically safe.
There were really no big emotions at the Sardegna Arena, as both teams appeared very happy to claim a draw.
Well done, Davide Ballardini
Ballardini successfully completed his aim of leading Genoa to another Serie A season. Genoa were 19th when the coach took over and now he achieved safety with two games remaining.
Genoa were protagonists of what was affectionally nicknamed “Ballardini cure”. Since he took over, Genoa gained the 10th most amount of points, for an average of 50 in a single season, a top half figure.
Bologna were defeated, but they still remain in 11th place. Sinisa Mihajlovic allowed debutant Wisdom Amey his first Serie A appearance. The Italian was born in 2005 and at 15 years and 274 days is the youngest debutant ever in the Italian top flight division.
Spezia a step closer to survival
Against all odds, Spezia may find themselves in the Serie A next season. Vincenzo Italiano’s team was not really considered at the beginning of the year, but proved they are worth a permanence in the Serie A.
Keita Balde’s 80th minute equaliser for Sampdoria denied Spezia the two points that would have made them safe, but with Benevento’s poor form it may be done.
Spezia went in front twice, with a brace by Tommaso Pobega, but it wasn’t enough this time around to return to winning ways.Embed from Getty Images
Benevento: now or never
Atalanta comfortably win 2-0 against Benevento, to keep hold of their second place which would be their best-ever finish in the Serie A. Luis Muriel and substitute Mario Pasalic scored the two goals that move them up to 73 points.
They need one win in the last two games to secure Champions League football for the third consecutive season. Benevento, instead, desperately need to win their final two games, even if that may still not be enough.
They need favourable results from their rivals, but they have to focus on themselves. Could they even make two wins in a row, considering they only won a game out of the last 20?Embed from Getty Images
Buffon shines, as Ronaldo and Dybala make it 100
Gianluigi Buffon announced his (second) departure from Juventus, as the two will part ways at the end of the season.
The Italian goalkeeper played and proved determinant against Sassuolo, saving a penalty on the 0-0 to Domenico Berardi. He is the oldest player to save a penalty in the Serie A, at the incredible age of 43.
Alongside other saves, plus Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Paulo Dybala’s 100 goals for the club, Juventus hold on to the Champions League hunt. Saturday’s game against bitter rivals Inter may be the last chance.
Hope is the last to die for Lazio
With Atalanta, Milan and Napoli all winning their games, it’s very unlikely that Lazio will finish in the top four. However, Simone Inzaghi’s team remains in the run, with a 95th minute winner from Ciro Immobile.
The last minutes were crazy, as Parma’s Hernani hit the post with a stunning hit. Just seconds later, however, Immobile scored. It’s the sixth time this season that Lazio score after the 90th minute, as hope is the last to die.
Milan put seven past Torino
Milan were flying high after the amazing win against Juventus a few days earlier. The Rossoneri were determined in not letting their top four place slip and it all showed against Torino.
Theo Hernandez and a penalty by Franck Kessie put Milan up 2-0 at half-time, but Torino never featured. Brahim Diaz made it three, Hernandez scored again, before Ante Rebic ruthlessly mounted with a hat-trick.
Milan equal the biggest amount of away wins in a single Serie A season (15) and can make their record all theirs at Atalanta on matchday 38.
Inter won’t stop
Not even Roma’s determination could put an end to Inter’s run. Again featuring some players who don’t usually start, Inter were commanding at the beginning, going up 2-0 in quick succession with Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino.
It appeared evident that Inter were not 100% determined, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored and Roma came close again, but the Nerazzurri were hard to breakthrough.
The last time they conceded more than a goal, was 19 games ago, against Roma. With two more wins, Inter can make theirs the record of points in the second-half of the season.
Hellas Verona forgot how to win
The fact that Verona only won a game out of the last 11, but still remain in the top 10, says a lot about how positive the start of the year was for the Gailloblu.
Combining with the lack of form of Mattia Zaccagni and the poor contribution in front of goal of the strikers, Ivan Juric’s team keep dropping and now need to protect the three points margin over Bologna and Udinese.
It was Crotone who snatched a win on Thursday night, led by super winter signing Adam Ounas and Junior Messias, finally leaving last place for the first time since December.
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