By Edoardo Stella.
Sub-edited by Tony Robertson.
Results from round 19 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Friday night of personal redemption
Davide Nicola’s first game in charge of Torino ends with a 2-2 draw at Benevento, thanks to a stoppage-time goal by Simone Zaza.
Nicolas Viola finally returns as captain for Benevento after missing multiple months due to injury and immediately solved Benevento’s penalty issues. La Strega had received three since the start of 2020/21, all taken by different players and only one had been converted successfully.
Gianluca Lapadula scored after failing to do so in the past 12 games and fully backed the support given by Filippo Inzaghi, who kept protecting and motivating his striker.
However, after going 2-0 up, Benevento were caught by Simone Zaza’s brace, netting just his second and third goals of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Crazy match grants Roma revenge over Spezia
On Tuesday, Roma were knocked out in an eventful night of Coppa Italia by Spezia, with absurd events, like two red cards received within seconds, or six substitutions that meant the Giallorossi’s 2-4 loss at home was converted in a walkover loss.
Paulo Fonseca’s future was on the edge as he took a drastic approach, excluding Edin Dzeko from his line-up. Borja Mayoral repaid his manager with a brace, but a horror show from the defence allowed Spezia to score three goals and equalize at the 90th minute with former player Daniele Verde.
Captain Lorenzo Pellegrini was having none of it, as he scored the 4-3 in stoppage time that helped Roma recover after an awful week.
What next for Juan Musso?
Udinese are the first Italian side to not concede a goal against Inter, as a goalless draw meant Inter wasted another precious chance to tie with Milan at the top of the table.
Goalkeeper Juan Musso produced a few nice saves, but his spectacular block to deny Lautaro Martinez was incredible. The 26-year-old Argentinian has come onto the scene relatively late, only making his professional debut at 22, but is making his name in the Serie A.
Last season he led the league with clean sheets and he’s matching that same level in 2020/21. What will come next for him? Inter themselves are one of the teams most interested to sign him.Embed from Getty Images
Milan’s heavy defeat doesn’t stop them from being Winter Champions
Led by Josip Ilicic, Atalanta showed up at San Siro to stun league leaders Milan and win 3-0. Milan were the protagonist’s of an abrupt bump on ground but remain at the top thanks to Inter’s draw at Udinese.
It wasn’t a great game for the Rossoneri, as this defeat could prove problematic. They will need to put it behind them soon and start fresh, showing they have a winning mentality.
In the last 17 days they have lost as many Serie A games as they did in the whole of 2020, but coming up matches against Bologna, Crotone and Spezia can even be a chance to increase their advantage ahead of the Derby.
Fiorentina momentarily out of the dangerous zone
Fiorentina seem to be past the worst of their form, concluding the first round of games in 12th spot, seven points ahead of the relegation zone.
After a difficult start, they are picking up points regularly and still stand a chance to finish in the top half of the table. Crotone, meanwhile, conclude with just 12 points.
Curiously, the only side to ever stay up after having a maximum of 12 points after 19 games was Crotone in 2016/17. Is another miracle on the way?
Juventus leaving the worst behind
The defeat against Inter hasn’t fully hampered Juventus’s journey. The Bianconeri won the Italian Supercup against Napoli with a 2-0 win on Wednesday and consolidated this by beating Bologna on Sunday.
The Champions haven’t had a fabulous game, but came away with all three points to almost regain what was lost last weekend.
It was a poor first round of games from Juventus, their worst since 2010/11, but there is plenty of time to recover for Andrea Pirlo and his players.Embed from Getty Images
Cagliari on a dangerous losing streak
The Sardinian team have gone 12 games without a win, having lost the last six.
It’s not new for Cagliari to experience such difficulties, as last year they had also gone twelve games without winning, but their streak began when sitting in third, which meant they had a safe gap.
This season, they have now dropped in the relegation zone and desperately need a change of direction.
Meanwhile, Genoa got another win and now tie with Udinese and Spezia in 14th place. Their rise from penultimate place, where they sat up until Matchday 13 can give Cagliari inspiration to do the same.Embed from Getty Images
Hellas Verona masterclass stuns Napoli
Hellas Verona had a shocking start to the game, conceding after nine seconds to Hirving Lozano. Napoli excelled in the first part of the first half, but allowed Verona to pick their confidence back up and display a typical performance of theirs.
After playing a key negative role in Napoli’s goal, Federico Dimarco scored, followed by Antonin Barak and Mattia Zaccagni. Debuting at 17 years-old in 2014, Dimarco had only scored one professional goal prior to 2021. Now he has got three in a stunning 18 days.
Coach Ivan Juric has lead Verona to eighth place after 19 games, not bad for a team whose main target is not to be relegated.
Seven-horse race as Lazio close in
Lazio won 2-1 against Sassuolo to claim a fourth consecutive victory and close the gap in the table. Meanwhile Sassuolo fall to ninth, still within sight of Europe, but don’t seem to have the edge over the teams above them to fight until the end.
Lazio, on the other hand, remain seventh, but are three points shy of third place and nine off leaders Milan.
There is a good chance that all the top seven teams will fight until the end, as Serie A is coming back to being a very competitive league.
Sampdoria win to complete a comfortable first half of the season
Claudio Ranieri and Sampdoria finish the first part of the season sat comfortably in 10th place. They have a four points margin over Benevento and have almost exceeded expectations, considering they were coming from a difficult season.
Goals from Maya Yoshida and Keita Balde were enough to clear Parma and spend a relatively comfort time.
How far can they go? It’s up to them keep the momentum going, but with Hellas Verona and Sassuolo just four points up the table, they may have motivation to do even more.
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