Gameweek 34 could have a huge say in deciding which of the five teams get the third Champions League spot in Italy. It has been a huge turnaround for teams like Inter Milan and Napoli but it has been a huge setback for AS Roma, Udinese and S.S Lazio. While Lazio still have the initiative, it has now been reduced to only one point with four crucial games to go. We look at what transpired in this hugely crucial gameweek in Italy.
1. Novara shock Lazio :
Edy Reja had warned that Novara could face a determined Lazio side in his pre-match press conference. But his side did something beyond his expectations. Unbeaten in five and playing prime relegation candidates, Lazio surprisingly lost. Novara led through a Diakite own goal. Lazio were playing with an depleted side due to injury and equalized soon after through Antonio Candreva, who slotted the ball home after a rebound from Mauri’s effort on goal. Lazio were threatening through Czech Republic forward Kozak and just when we thought Lazio would score, Guiseppe Mascara scored a scintillating free kick to give Novara a shock victory.
2.Roma lose at the Olimpico :
A.S. Roma were left heartbroken at home as Fiorentina put a dent in their Champions League aspirations. The in form forward Jovetic put Fiorentina ahead with a looping header, beating stand in keeper Curci at the far post. Fiorentina were by far the more dangerous side but squandered a lot of chances before Totti made them pay through Totti’s deflected effort from a Gago shot. As Roma tried to score a late winner, they were caught on the counter by Adam Ljajic whose stinging effort was saved by Curci only to land in the path of Andrea Lazzari who slotted the ball into the net in stoppage time. Roma are five points behind Lazio.
3. Napoli pile pressure on Lazio with crucial away win :
Lecce played host to third placed hopefuls Napoli in a crucial tie. Napoli had rediscovered their lost form and it took them just five minutes to go ahead after Marek Hamsik stunned the home crowd with a fierce volley. Napoli were hardly troubled in the first half and were looking dangerously close to scoring the second goal. Just when Lecce were looking to pile on some pressure, Napoli used their typical counter attacking tactics to score the second. Paolo Cannavaro sent Edinson Cavani through and the composed Uruguayan scored his 100th goal in Italy. Napoli are now just one point behind Lazio and are back to their usual form.
4. Udinese lose against Inter in the game of the week :
Inter Milan took their last chance of keeping their hopes for Champions League alive when they beat Udinese 3-1 in the Bianconeri’s homeground. Udinese had a super start when centre back Danilo scored a spectacular volley to round off a super move which involved Antonio Di Natale’s sublime trickery. Inter Milan equalized through Wesley Sneijder’s tame effort beating Handanovic five minutes later. It was a crucial howler from the naturally consistent Handanovic and it gave Inter hope. Diego Milito set up Wesley Sneijder for a tap-in in the 28th minute and Ricky Alvarez scored a superb angled goal to double Inter’s lead into half time. Inter Milan held on to their lead and won the match, keeping the Nerazzurri’s third place hopes alive.
The race for the third spot is very close with five points seperating third from fifth. Serie A could have an exciting finish to what has been a remarkable season.