Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 17

Standings implications: Juventus edge past Roma and they are now officially Winter champions. Napoli are not in a prolific stretch, but they eked out another win, this time squeaking by SPAL. Inter was pipped at the post in Verona. Lazio returned to winning ways by squashing Cagliari, re-claiming the fourth spot, since Milan got beat at home by Fiorentina. Sampdoria soared past Empoli late, defending their sixth position and building some separation over Sassuolo and Torino, which shared the spoils. Genoa outlasted Atalanta, giving Cesare Prandelli his first win since coming back to Serie A. Marco Baroni salvaged a decent point in Udine in his debut. Parma and Bologna settled for a nil-nil tie.

Confirmations: Krzysztof Piatek can not stop scoring and, while the first one ended up being an own goal, he uncorked a shot à la Del Piero to make sure he had one this week too. The battle of seasoned strikers end in a draw in Empoli, as Francesco Caputo and Fabio Quagliarella both got one. Duvan Zapata found the target again, but it did not amount to anything this time. Mario Mandzukic is a death sentence in big games. Andrea Belotti buried a sensational cross-shot, finally showing some chemistry with Simone Zaza. Gaston Ramirez netted another pretty one. Joao Pedro drilled a consolation penalty, while Camillo Ciano’s one was more meaningful. Gianluca Caprari was instant offense off the bench for Sampdoria and downed Empoli with a brace.

Guess who is back: it was a round of meaningful returns to the scoresheets, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ivan Perisic and Federico Chiesa all bagged one on Saturday. The Viola youngster had stayed productive, while the situation was starting to weigh on the two Slavic attackers. Enrico Brignola is a pet player of Roberto De Zerbi and rewarded his coach’s trust with a pretty lofted header to rescue a deserved tie against Torino. Darko Lazovic has been playing well, but he had not hit the net since May 2017.

Surprise scorers: Senad Lulic is a useful player, but he rarely knocks one on goal. Manuel Pasqual leapfrogged Caputo in the penalty takers chart at Empoli, which is gold for his fantasy outlook. Rolando Mandragora blasted one home. Raul Albiol buried his first header this season.

Flops of the round: Milan was shut out for the three match in a row and the situation is worrying and Inter did not manage to build a larger lead in Verona. Napoli’s usual suspects were a little wasteful against SPAL. Josip Ilicic missed a penalty and two Atalanta defenders, José Palomino and Rafael Toloi, got sent off, the latter in a rather silly way.

Clutch goal: Sergio Pellissier is the gift that keeps on giving and allowed Chievo to stay undefeated under Domenico Di Carlo despite the uber difficult match-up with a blitz in the stoppage time.

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