Standings implications: Juventus most likely inflicted the final blow to the title race with a 1-2 win over Napoli in a crazy game. Milan leapfrogged Inter in the third spot as they eked out a win against Sassuolo, while the Nerazzurri were blitzed by Cagliari back on Friday. Roma stayed behind as they got battered by Lazio, which re-entered the fray for the fourth spot, as they have six fewer points than the Beneamata, but have to recover one game. Atalanta and Torino remain in hot pursuit of an Europa League berth with their convincing victories over Fiorentina and Chievo. Massive points for the Sardinians and for Udinese in the relegation zone: the Friulani moved seven points clear of Bologna after besting them on Sunday afternoon. Frosinone and Empoli treaded waters down there with their gritty ties against Genoa and Parma.
Confirmations: Fabio Quagliarella continues to sizzle and put together a brace in Ferrara and now leads the scorers’ chart alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Lautaro Martinez and Leonardo Pavoletti both stayed hot in the Friday clash. Luis Muriel keeps playing like a man possessed, but Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez led Atalanta’s comeback. Felipe Caicedo always tends to produce when he is given meaningful playing time. Jasmin Kurtic buried a majestic free kick in SPAL’s losing effort, founding his fifth goal of the season. Ignacio Pussetto has been Udinese’s best man recently and he confirmed that in a key bout with his fourth goal. José Callejon, Tomas Rincon and Emre Can are starting to pad their seasonal tallies in a significant way considering their roles.
Guess who is back: Ciro Immobile, Gervinho and Francesco Caputo all ended their mini slumps on Saturday. Rodrigo De Paul this time made no mistake from the penalty spot: he had last scored in November. Both Torino’s centre-forwards found the target against Chievo: Andrea Belotti was absent from the scoresheet since mid-December, Simone Zaza since September.
Surprise scorers: Cristiano Dell’Orco bagged his first ever Serie A goal against Parma, while Luca Rigoni has had quite a few during his career, but this round’s one was just his second thus far. Bruno Alves scored in both nets in that same eventful game. Danilo Cataldi netted his second of the year. Yet another goal for an Atalanta defender, this time it was Robin Gosens‘ turn to put one through.
Flops of the round: Inter were lackaidasical in Cagliari, where Ivan Perisic was saddled with an own goal. Pol Lirola endured the same destiny versus Milan, while Aleksandar Kolarov was sent off late in the Derby when Roma came unglued in a rendezvous they weirdly no-showed. Genoa could not come up with a goal despite playing 11 vs 10 for an hour against Frosinone.
Clutch goal: the most notable late goal in this round was actually Bruno Alves’ erroneous deflection on an attempt by Matias Salvestre that allowed Empoli to equalize in the stoppage time.
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