Standings implications: Inter looked dominant again in the bout with Genoa, but Milan kept pace by returning to winning ways versus Roma, as a Giallorossi just can not seem to get over the hump. Juventus again showed inconsistency as they were held to a tie by Verona. Atalanta did quick work of Sampdoria and took advantage of the Old Lady and Lazio’s missteps, as the Biancocelesti got torpedoed by Bologna. Napoli continued their home cooking at the expenses of Benevento. The five teams vying for two Champions League spot are bunched up within three points.
Udinese pipped Fiorentina at the post to make their position in the standings even cozier. Spezia picked up a great point in the relegation struggle as they prevented Parma from gaining momentum. Cagliari instead did get the W that eluded them for a long time, benefitting from the new coach’s bump in Crotone and moving closer to Benevento and Torino, as the Granata did not play this week.
Confirmations: Romelu Lukaku found the target again at the end of an unstoppable run. Cristiano Ronaldo clocked in, but the red hot Antonin Barak responded later in the game. Jordan Veretout is on fire, but Franck Kessie converted another PK and Ante Rebic slotted one home as well. Emmanuel Gyasi has now scored three times in the past four matches thanks to a brace. Robin Gosens and Nicola Sansone have instead notched two in the four most recent tilts.
Guess who is back: Dries Mertens delivered right away upon returning from injury. Joao Pedro and Leonardo Pavoletti propelled Cagliari in a key match-up. Yann Karamoh had strung together few convincing displays recently but had not hit bullseye since mid-October. Hernani was a weapon early in the season but had been quiet scoring-wise in the last two months. Ruslan Malinovskyi smashed it home for the first time since mid-December. Alexis Sanchez resurfaced with a goal off the bench after few silent months.
Surprise scorers: Ibrahima Mbaye was a late fill-in for Bologna and bagged a rare goal as he has found the target just six times in over 100 appearances throughout his career. Matteo Darmian made his best Achraf Hakimi impression by scoring a pretty goal on a timely cut versus Genoa.
Flops of the round: Ciro Immobile missed a PK and Lazio did not emotionally bounce back from the Bayern Munich shellacking. The Derby is surely important, but Davide Ballardini and Claudio Ranieri overdid it with excessive rotations in this matchday. Kalidou Koulibaly and Charalampos Lykogiannis picked up avoidable red cards.
Clutch goal: Ilija Nestorovski downed Fiorentina with a late goal, finding paydirt for just the second time in the season as he has not gotten much run up to this point.
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