Results from round 14 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Messias gives Crotone’s hope
Brazilian Junior Messias netted a brace to stun Parma 2-1 and help Crotone secure their second win in four games.
The Pythagoreans were in last place with one point just few weeks ago, but now seem to have kick-started their season, with Messias in the form of his life, scoring four goals this month.
Meanwhile, it was a poor show for Parma, who played without the injured Gervinho and wasted multiple chances which prevented them from getting points off Crotone.
Major upset as Fiorentina win at Juventus
Fiorentina finally end an eight games winless run against none-other than the champions Juventus. With a superb performance, La Viola scored three goals at the Allianz Stadium, only becoming the seventh-ever side to win there in Serie A since the Bianconeri moved in 2011.
In the last 30 years, Fiorentina had only won once in Turin, that being in 2008. Cesare Prandelli finally got his first win of the season too.
An awful day for Juve, who also lose the three-point advantage they gained from the walkover win with Napoli, as the sentence that saw the game cancelled and awarded to Juventus was overturned.
Inter made in the second half
It’s the seventh straight win for Inter, once again developed in the latter stages.
In those wins, 14 of the 18 goals scored came in the second half, with Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar both breaking their drought this time and rendering Samir Handanovic’s awful mistake indecisive.
Skriniar’s last goal had been in February of 2018, as the Slovakian’s winner helps Inter overcome a challenging game with Verona.
Ballardini’s first mounts on Spezia
In an odd few days when the bottom four teams all scored points, Spezia’s situation suddenly appears worrying.
M’bala Nzola scored his seventh goal in the last seven games, but the Ligurian team wasn’t able to capitalize, losing 1-2.
Davide Ballardini’s first with Genoa is positive once again, as the coach is unbeaten in all of his “first” times with the Grifoni.Embed from Getty Images
Benevento’s strong run continues
With only one defeat in the last seven games and only three goals conceded, Benevento have climbed up to the top half of the table, now sitting in 10th place.
Gianluca Caprari and Gaetano Letizia both scored stunners to end Udinese’s streak of six league games without defeat.
Can Filippo Inzaghi bring his men even further? The competition is very challenging, but Benevento are only three points shy of their 2017/18 record.Embed from Getty Images
Luis Muriel: Atalanta’s super-sub
If there was an award for the 12th man in football, similar to Basketball, Luis Muriel would be clear favourite.
He started this Wednesday’s game with Bologna, scoring two goals, but it’s his contribution offered independently of how much he plays that makes the difference for Atalanta.
This season he scored a league goal every 51 minutes, being well clear in this statistic.
Of his 57 games with Atalanta, he only started 20, but still scored 28 goals and assisted a further three a genuine asset to the squad, regardless whether he starts or not.
Theo Hernandez gives Milan a Christmas to remember
For the 16th game running, Milan score at least two goals, going 2-0 up soon against Lazio, who still had managed to level the scores.
When all seemed set, and Inter fans were hoping to spend Christmas in front of their “cousins”, Theo Hernandez came to the rescue, scoring a 93rd-minute header, as Milan won 3-2.
For the first time in ten years, Milan are top at Christmas, an unbelievable result to think just a year ago when the Rossoneri were 11th.
Can they keep it going in 2021?
Determined Roma up to third
Cagliari are always a tough team to beat, but Roma prove their 1-4 defeat with Atalanta is nothing more than a bad memory.
The proof came in Cagliari’s best moment, when the Sardinians equalized with Joao Pedro, but Roma’s character came out and the Giallorossi bounced back to win 3-1.
Jordan’s Veretout seventh goal helps, as only Bruno Fernandes and Lars Stindl have scored more as midfielders in the top five leagues.
Keita hero and villain
Keita Balde’s career promised more than just being a substitute for Sampdoria at 25-years-old, as the winger left Italy on a high in 2017.
As Keita came on in the 73rd minute, he got Sampdoria back in the game, having three shots on target, including the 2-3 goal. This left many wondering why he isn’t starting for Sampdoria, but his silly challenge that gave him a red card minutes later could be an explanation.
In his fifth red card of his career, the Senegalese proved his lack of discipline.Embed from Getty Images
Napoli and Torino do themselves no good
For Napoli, it was important to pick themselves up after two defeats, but the Azzurri only got a point against bottom-placed Torino, with captain Lorenzo Insigne rescuing his side in stoppage time.
Torino needed a win to move up, but once again lost points from a winning position, that tally now summing up to an incredible 23.
If focusing solely on their performance on the pitch, they should be proud, but a Christmas spent in last place, after being caught at the 92nd minute leaves no happiness on their faces.
You can also view last week’s talking column by clicking here