Standings implications: Inter got the better of Napoli away, while Juventus tore apart Cagliari and so the duo remains attached to the hip atop of the table. Lazio mounted another late comeback, this time at the expense of Brescia, pushing their winning streak to nine matches. They gained ground on Roma, which instead were toppled at home by Torino, who got closer to the Europa League zone. Atalanta are now breathing down the Giallorossi’s neck after the second five-nothing rout in a row, with Parma being their latest victim. Milan and Sampdoria shared the spoils in a nil-nil bout. Verona outplayed SPAL, confirming their superior stature, while Genoa somehow defeated Sassuolo, abandoning the last position to the Estensi. Udinese eked out a very valuable W in Lecce, leaving the red area in the rearview mirrow.
Confirmations: Cristiano Ronaldo’s reign of terror continues and he unleashed a hat-trick on the unfortunate opponents, making it five matches in a row with a goal. Romelu Lukaku tacked on two more to his seasonal tally, moving it to 14, while Lautaro Martinez is now at eight. Arkadiusz Milik‘s usual contribution was not enough to keep up. Atalanta continue to be a fantasy boon and their top dogs delivered once more, with Josip Ilicic netting two goals and fellow studs Alejandro Gomez and Robin Gosens joining him in the stat-sheet. Mario Balotelli hit the net for the second straight fixture and for the third time in the last five appearances. Giampaolo Pazzini and Mariusz Stepinski have both found the target for two matches in a row for the Scaligeri. Domenico Criscito stepped up to the plate and made no mistake again, drilling his fourth penalty of the season.
Guess who is back: three games without scoring were too much for Ciro Immobile, who in fact put together a clutch brace in Brescia. Andrea Belotti instead had not done damage in six weeks and roared back in spectacular fashion, single-handedly torpedoing Roma. Gonzalo Higuain had been shut-out for four fixtures. Marco Benassi was still scoreless in the season, where he had ceded playing time to his steamamtes, but the new coach trusted him and he paid him back with a textbook volley from outside the box.
Surprise scorers: Pedro Obiang made up for causing a penalty with a rare successful offensive foray, with the assistance of a deflection by an opponent. Remo Freuler is a precious cog in the Goddess’ machines, but his incursions only seldomly go that deep. He went all the way in their drubbing of Parma, scoring his second goal of the season.
Flops of the round: no end product for Roma against the Granata despite plenty of opportunities, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not solve all Milan’s issues at once. In that same game, Manolo Gabbiadini squandered multiple mouth-watering chances in front of the goalie. Nenad Tomovic put his team in a hole with an early but deserved red card versus Verona due to a senseless tackle, while Domenico Berardi was sent off for protesting after the final whistle. Napoli basically gift wrapped all three goals to Inter with defensive gaffes.
Clutch goals: Goran Pandev lifted the Griffon past Sassuolo late with an improbable goal, basically crawling his way into a header after Andrea Consigli had rejected his first attempt. Riccardo Orsolini came through on the last effort for Bologna, bagging an outstanding and uber difficult free kick to make it one-all. Rodrigo De Paul apparently only scores pearlers and the latest one was worth three points. Hat tip also for Immobile for his nifty finish in the stoppage time, where he need just a sliver of daylight to punish.
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