Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 23

Standings implications: Juventus took a very bad-looking tumble in Verona and the two chasers pounced, as Inter mounted an epic comeback in the Derby and Lazio eked it out against Parma. The Bianconeri and the Nerazzuri have the same amount of points and the Biancocelesti are just one behind. Atalanta found a way to defeat Fiorentina away, while Roma lost again, at the hands of Bologna, so the Goddess are back in sole possession of the fourth spot. The Scaligeri and the Felsinei both leapfrogged Cagliari in the race to sixth one. Three precious wins in the relegation zone, as Lecce torpedoed Napoli, Genoa nipped the Sardinian and Sampdoria sunk Torino, while Brescia were victims of a late goal versus Udinese and SPAL got dropped again by Sassuolo. There is now a little cushion between the bottom two teams and the rest of the pack.

Confirmations: ten straight rounds with at least a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, who is closing in on an historical record, but it was not enough to power Juventus past Verona, as Fabio Borini notched his second goal since moving to the Scaligeri and Giampaolo Pazzini buried yet another penalty. Romelu Lukaku and Felipe Caicedo came through again. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic stayed hot before Milan faltered. Duvan Zapata netted his second goal in the last three games, Federico Chiesa instead in the last four. 

Arkadiusz Milik tapped one him but was outdone by the opposing striker, Gianluca Lapadula, who put together a clinical brace, then Marco Mancosu punished another top team with his seventh goal of the year, this time with a thunderous free kick. Fabio Quagliarella has posted a goal and an assist in two consecutive matches. Francesco Caputo brought the goods again thanks to a penalty. Riccardo Orsolini broke the deadlock versus Roma, while Musa Barrow bagged his second and third goal since switching team. Goran Pandev sneaked home in third goal in the last month.

Guess who is back: Rodrigo De Paul is back in the box score after a three-week absence. Henrikh Mkhitaryan confirmed his high level of productivity in his first game back, unfortunately his season has been marred by injuries. Gaston Ramirez resurfaced after two months in glorious fashion thanks to a brace. Ruslan Malinovsky decided the Fiorentina game with a powerful strike, returning to the stat-sheet after a six-match absence. Simone Verdi finally scored his first goal with the Granata, but in another losing effort. José Callejon had last beaten a goalie in the opener.

Surprise scorers: Kevin Bonifazi found the target for the first time this season. Dimitri Bisoli was fairly prolific for a midfielder in Serie B but had yet to knock one through in the top league. Three of Inter’s secondary scorers, Matias Vecino Stefan De Vrij and Marcelo Brozovic willed them back into the game versus Milan.

Flops of the round: Roma, Napoli and Torino’s defences collapsed again and Juventus’ one was not much better either.

Clutch goal: Jeremie Boga was not supersonic versus the Estensi but decided the contest with an out-of-character header in the stoppage time, tallying his third goal in the last four fixtures.

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