There were certainly some surprising results in the last round before another international break.
Standings implications: Juventus bested Milan in the last Sunday game, while Napoli prevailed in the soggy battle in Genoa and have re-assumed sole control of the second place since Inter came crashing down hard in Bergamo. Roma finally put together a brilliant performance against the wheezing Sampdoria. Atalanta leapfrogged few teams in the Europa League race since Fiorentina conceded late and was held to yet another 1-1 tie in Frosinone and Parma snatched a quality road win versus Torino. Lazio and Sassuolo tied. SPAL and Cagliari and Bologna and Chievo shared the spoils in two sneakily entertaining games. Giuseppe Iachini debuted on Empoli’s bench with a precious win over Udinese.
Confirmations: Mauro Icardi was basically the only bright spot for Inter on Sunday as he converted a penalty to extend his streak. Mario Mandzukic returned with a bang, scoring his fifth Serie A goal early versus Milan. Leonardo Pavoletti buried another header, the fourth in his past five appearances. Stephan El Shaarawy stayed hot with a brace against the Blucerchiati. Daniele Baselli has re-found his nose for the goal and netted his third of the season. His former teammate Marco Benassi opened the score in Frosinone for his fifth one, already tying his record. Marco Parolo is producing like an attacker lately. Christian Kouame capitalized on his good moment against Napoli. Empoli’s Francesco Caputo and Miha Zajc downed a direct rival, in a game where Ignacio Pussetto’s goal was not enough to salvage points. Federico Santander continues to carry the water for Bologna and Riccardo Orsolini is coming on strong lately. Mirco Antenucci has found the target for two straight fixtures. Andrea Pinamonti has bagged another very dazzling goal and this time it was meaningful too.
Guess who is back: Parma’s magic duo had not prospered in over a month, also due to injuries, but both Gervinho and Roberto Inglese hit the net in Turin. Gregoire Defrel was absent from the scoresheest for a similar amount of time and had the consolation goal at the Olimpico Stadium. Alejandro Gomez busted out of his six-game slump by curling one home to finish off Inter. Patrik Schick finally came through for Roma. Joel Obi had a prolific season at Torino, but so far he has been mired by injuries. Riccardo Meggiorini had not scored since February 2017.
Surprise scorers: Atalanta got three goals from defenders, one on open play by Hans Hateboer, and two on set pieces, by Gianluca Mancini, his third in a row, and by Berat Djimsiti. Artur Ionita used to be prolific with Hellas Verona, but he took on a more defensive role at Cagliari: he found the equalizer after a pretty touch in Ferrara. Juan Jesus bagged his second ever in Serie A, five years apart from the first one.
Flops of the round: a night to forget for Gonzalo Higuain, who missed a penalty and was sent off for throwing a tantrum. Davide Biraschi had a late own-goal that gave Napoli the win. Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca again did little to help Fiorentina. Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski were taken out at half time versus Genoa and that kick-started Napoli’s comeback. Torino’s attack was jammed against Parma. Rodrigo De Paul skied a penalty in Empoli.
Clutch goal: nobody scored at the buzzer this time, Cristiano Ronaldo had a game-sealing tap-in late in San Siro.
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