Standings implications: Roma broke through late in the bout with Juventus, grabbing three points that allowed them to keep up with Milan and Atalanta, which upended Fiorentina and Genoa on Saturday. Inter dispatched Chievo and remained in third, while the Bergamaschi maintained their three-point lead over the rivals. Torino stayed close to the pack with a late comeback versus Sassuolo and Lazio returned to winning ways in Cagliari. In the suburbs of the standings, Empoli got the second W in a row, their first of the season on the road, by topping Sampdoria. Udinese did not fumble the Frosinone fixture, therefore the closest team is now Genoa that has just one more point than the Azzurri. Napoli beat SPAL. Bologna stayed in their relatively cozy spot with a win over Parma.
Confirmations: Fabio Quagliarella drilled another penalty to defend his lead in the scorers’ chart and Andrea Petagna kept it rolling in the same manner. Leonardo Pavoletti re-opened the Lazio game with a late goal, while Edin Dzeko sealed the Juventus clash on a counter. Ivan Perisic notched his fourth goal in the last two months, Riccardo Orsolini his third in the last four rounds. Empoli’s Diego Farias and Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne have hit the net for two weeks in a row and continue to be reliable cogs for their respective sides. Andrea Belotti made amends for a missed penalty with a brace, the second goal coming on a dazzling overhead kick. Stefano Okaka paved the way for Udinese in Frosinone with two goals of his own. Right backs Pol Lirola and Giovanni Di Lorenzo are in surprisingly prolific stretches.
Guess who is back: Hakan Calhanoglu returned to the stats sheet in a big spot after being absent for over three months. Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa have produced less than one would imagine considering their technique, anyway both found the target against Cagliari, ending sizeable droughts in Serie A play. Matteo Politano is always active but he had not put one on goal in a while. Goran Pandev had not potted one in two months. Federico Dionisi punched one in after missing a lot of time with an early ACL tear.
Surprise scorers: Musa Barrow played just 17 against Genoa, but he made them count by breaking the deadlock. Mehdi Bourabia bagged a vicious daisy-cutter against Torino, but got his second yellow card for excessive celebration. Alessandro Florenzi contributed to sinking Juventus with a lovely touch. Allan and Mario Rui both netted their first goal of the year in the SPAL tilt.
Flops of the round: Francesco Caputo missed a penalty, while Fiorentina’s play continue to be very uninspiring. Sampdoria and Cagliari had paltry outings against Empoli and Lazio. Parma had a terrible defensive performance against Parma, with two own goals, an howler by Luigi Sepe and a red card for Bruno Alves.
Clutch goals: Simone Zaza and Andrea Belotti combined for the late one-two punch that knocked out Sassuolo in the span of two minutes in Sunday’s lunch match.
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