Standings implications: Juventus tacked on two more points to their lead, as they walloped Frosinone, while Napoli could not come up with a goal versus Torino. Inter seem fully back as they showed some fight against Sampdoria, winning their second in a row. Milan prevailed in the key clash with Atalanta, remaining in control of the Champions League race. Lazio got beat in the final minutes by Genoa. Roma kept up with the Rossoneri by edging Bologna. Fiorentina leapfrogged Torino and Sampdoria thanks to the drubbing they handed to SPAL. Empoli jumped out of the relegation zone with a commanding victory over Sassuolo, closing the gap with the Estensi, but also Udinese and Cagliari snatched the full loot despite much tribulation, against Chievo and Parma.
Confirmations: Cristiano Ronaldo defended his throne in the scorer’s chart with yet another goal, the fourth consecutive one, but Krzysztof Piatek eat into the lead with a stunning brace against Atalanta. Antonio Sanabria was again super opportunistic, poking home the third goal in four appearances: not too shabby since he had the biggest shoes to fill. Leonardo Pavoletti led the comeback against Parma with a brace, getting off a little slump. Andrea Petagna keeps producing and he notched his ninth goal against Fiorentina pouncing on a rebound, in a game where Edimilson Fernandes blasted one home for the second week in a row. Diego Farias was in decent form before switching team and put a terrific move on a defender before beating the goalie on Sunday. Danilo D’Ambrosio is doing serious damage on offense this year, while Manolo Gabbiadini pounced on a loose ball seconds after his entrance. Roma continue to rely on their defenders and Aleksandar Kolarov and Federico Fazio found the target again.
Guess who is back: few meaningful returns on the scoresheets this round, primarily by Paulo Dybala, who had not scored in Serie A play since November, Hakan Calhanoglu, who got off his uber-long schneid by finally drilling a long-range effort, and Radja Nainggolan. Juraj Kucka has been playing well since moving to Parma and it took him just four games to bag his first one with a wicked lofted header. Jordan Veretout converted a penalty and scored for the first time in three months, while Giovanni Simeone’s last goal dated back to mid-December. Gerson had knocked one through only in the season opener. Rade Krunic had been absent for a while due to injuries and a suspension, but he potted his fourth one in this round. Udinese’s relationship with penalties continue to be rocky, but Lukas Teodorczyk tapped in the rebound. Nicola Sansone bagged his first goal since returing to Italy.
Surprise scorers: Leonardo Bonucci hit the net in his return from injury. Remo Freuler stroked it past Gianluigi Donnarumma perfectly trailing the action for his second goal of the season. Afriyie Acquah instead opened his seasonal tally against Sassuolo. Milan Badelj had not hit the net in a almost a year. to the day.
Flops of the round: Sassuolo completely no-showed in Empoli, while Napoli again squandered too many good scoring opportunities.
Clutch goal: Domenico Criscito won it all for Genoa with a superb cross-shot at the buzzer.
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