Serie A week 27: Goals galore, style aplenty and Milan teams 1-2 in Scudetto race
If you thought Italian football was boring, you were wrong, as right from high scoring thrillers to a seven-goal thrashing and a Roma team which still doesn’t know how to cling on to a big lead, week 27 of the Serie A had all the action. Here is the roundup of the week’s action.
HIGH FLYING NAPOLI BROUGHT BACK TO EARTH
In the highlight match of the week in the Serie A, league leaders AC Milan showed title chasing Napoli that there is no repeat of history in their encounter as the Rossoneri humbled the Neopolitans 3-0 in the Monday clash at the San Siro. Back in the title fold 3 years after winning promotion, this was Napoli’s big night as they saw it as a chance to get back to the glory days of Diego Maradona when Napoli frequently had run-ins with Milan in the race for the Scudetto and emerged victorious. On the night of the clash however, Napoli failed to turn up as the absence of the suspended Ezequiel Lavezzi was felt deeply along with Edinson Cavani‘s inability to make an impact as Milan romped home 3-0 thanks to goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato and a controversial penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Napoli failed to test Milan’s goal adequately enough as they failed to commit themselves to attacking in the final third and were happy to sit back and stifle their opponent’s attacks. Thanks to their negative tactics, the Azzurris were humbled on the night and were overtaken by Inter Milan in the league table after an Alexandre Pato show sealed things in the second half post the controversial penalty. With 11 games to be played, AC Milan now have a 5 point lead over Inter and a 6 point lead over Napoli, and thus are in pole position to end their 6 year Scudetto duck.
INTER MOVE SECOND
On Sunday, Wesley Sneijder emerged the hero at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris as his spectacular set-piece ability was on display again. In a match that was scoreless till the 73rd minute, Sneijder’s spectacularly taken free-kick opened the scoring for Inter as Samuel Eto’o sealed the win in stoppage time by weaving his way past the Sampdoria defenders. With this win, Inter moved into second place in the league table to continue their resurgent fight for the title after Napoli’s defeat saw them slip to third. Manager Leonardo expressed his satisfaction with the win, “I am satisfied with the result, as it was a very delicate match. After the loss to Bayern, it was important to win.”
UDINESE IN SEVENTH HEAVEN
Udinese turned on the style at the Renzo Barbera in a seven goal thrashing of home side Palermo in a match that saw Palermo end up with 9 men and Antonio di Natale and Alexis Sanchez each completing hat-tricks and bring the spotlight on the home side’s wretched defence which has conceded 12 goals in the last three games. Inspirational Alexis Sanchez took home a place in Italian football history apart from four goals to his name as he became the twelfth player in thirty years to score four goals in a single Serie A match and Di Natale edged Napoli’s Cavani ahead in the goal scoring charts for the season. Palermo’s heaviest home defeat in Serie A history saw club President Maurizio Zamparini erupt in fury in his post match comments saying that the manager Delio Rossi had a “1 percent chance of surviving in the job”. The President stayed true to his word and sacked the embarrassed manager the next morning and appointed Serse Cosmi as Palermo’s third manager in three years.
With the huge win, Udinese closed the gap on fourth placed Lazio to a single point after the Eagles lost to Cagliari, and are thus in a fighting position for the final Champions League spot
NO RESPITE FOR ROMA AND JUVE
After throwing away a three goal lead to Genoa last week and consequently losing the match, only one thing has changed at Roma: the manager, as Vincenzo Montella found out on Saturday that his team still hasn’t got over the ‘mental block’ which he believed was hindering their progress as the men from the Eternal City squandered a two goal lead to draw 2-2 against Parma. After Francesco Totti and Juan opened the scoring and helped Roma dominate the first half, Brazilian striker Amauri fired a brace which included a breathtaking back-heel goal, and helped Parma salvage a point in a match that also saw the home side controversially refused a penalty after Totti was brought down in the area, leaving Montella without his first home win.
On Saturday, Juventus lost 2-0 to Bologna to pile pressure on manager Luigi del Neri. A brace by Marco Di Vaio condemned the Old Lady to their second consecutive 2-0 loss after last week’s reverse against Lecce, and thus leave the club under great pressure to perform when AC Milan come visiting next week. In a match when they bossed possession, Juventus were terrible in creating chances as they registered just one shot on target as they continued their miserable form from last week. Now in crisis mode after the club’s Director General expressed doubts about Del Neri’s position as manager, Juventus have now lost all the momentum that they gained after the victory over Inter Milan. With the league leaders to play against next up, this Juventus team looks like it’s running on empty at the moment after seemingly challenging for a Champions League spot two weeks back.
Other results of the week: Bari 1-1 Fiorentina, Brescia 2-2 Lecce, Catania 2-1 Genoa, Cesena 1-0 Chievo