Napoli breeze past Spezia and Martinez the difference in Milan Derby: Italian football round up

Napoli continued their winning streak with a comfortable 0-3 away win at Spezia. The Gli Azzuri are now on a five-game winning streak and look to be champions elect. In the 9th minute Napoli were close to taking the lead. A cross from Napoli’s Portuguese left-back Mario Rui deflected off Spezia centre-back Mattia Caldara but just rolled past the near post. Spezia goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski was left stranded. From the following corner, a header from Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo glanced past the far post following a in swinging cross from Mario Rui. Napoli were the dominate team in the first half but could not break the deadlock. 

 However only 10 seconds into the second half, Napoli were awarded a penalty. After pressure from halftime substitute Matteo Politano, Polish and Spezia left-back Arkadiusz Reca lost his bearings and handled the ball in the area. Napoli’s Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia stepped up and put the penalty in the top right-corner. It was the 21-year-olds 8th of the season in the Serie A. In the 60th minute Kvaratskhelia picked up the ball and ran into the box beating three players. He took a long-driven shot which was saved comfortably by Dragowski. In the 68th minute Napoli doubled their lead, and it was their talisman, Victor Osimhen. A cross from Kvaratskhelia was not dealt with by Spezia and the ball flew into the air. Oshimhen and Spezia goalkeeper Dragowski challenged for it with the Nigerian coming out on top and heading the ball into the back of the net. In the 73rd minute Oshimhen was at the double. Kvaratskhelia intercepted a pass from Caldara and was one on one with Dragowski. However, the Georgian unselfishly laid the ball to his teammate Osimhen who calmly rolled the ball into the back of the net. The Serie A top scorers 16th of the season in only his17th appearances.  

The win put the side from Naples 13 points clear at top of the table. Napoli are now run away favourites for the tittle and it seems impossible the tittle will not return to the Diego Armando Maradona for the first time since 1989-90.  

Inter 1-0 Milan: Martinez first half strike adds more misery to Milan

Inter Milan beat rivals Ac Milan 1-0 in the Milan derby thanks to a first half strike from Lautaro Martinez. In the 5th minute of the match Martinez had a big chance, he was found my Henrikh Mkhitaryan inside the box and took his shot early. The shot was a powerful one into the near post which was turned over his own bar by Ac Milan goalkeeper Ciprain Tatarusanu. In the 10th minute another chance fell to Martinez this time from the right. A cross from defender Milan Skriniar was glanced towards goal by the World Cup winner. Tatarusanu was beaten but the ball went just went past the right post. In the 34th minute Inter did take the lead and Martinez finally got his goal. A corner was whipped in from the left by Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu. Martinez lost his marker and headed the ball with power and accuracy into the near post. The ball flew past Tatarusanu, the former Fiorentina goalkeeper had no chance. The goal was the Argentinian’s 12th of the season. In the 45th minute another in swinging cross from Calhanoglu created danger for Milan. The former Ac Milan man went for the goal trying to catch out his former teammate Tatarusanu. However luckily for Milan the Romanian clawed the ball out of the goal before it reached the back of the net. At halftime Inter were incomplete control but Milan were still in the match.  

In the 54th minute, Inter striker Edin Dzeko won the ball of Milan substitute Alexis Saelemaekers close to the right corner flag. Dzeko cross the ball into the box on the floor into the path of Martinez, but his powerful shot was saved by the busy Tatarusanu. In the 75th minute a chance for Milan saw substitute Rafael Leao find Brahim Diaz. The Spanish midfielder faked away from Inter central defender Alessandro Bastoni but his shot from outside the box was comfortable for Andre Onana in the Inter goal. In the 78th minute a freekick from former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud beat the wall but was wide of the goal. In the 89th minute the ball was in the back of the net for Inter again and it was Martinez. A long ball forward was flicked on by substitute Romelu Lukaku. The ball looked to be reaching Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. However, Martinez shrugged off Milan defender Malick Thiaw before finding the net. The striker wheeled away to celebrate but the linesman flag was already up. The goal was not going to stand as the former Racing Club man was standing in an offside position. This did not matter though as the final whistle blew a few minutes later. Inter stay second in the table whereas Milan drop to 6th after not winning in five.  

Roma 2-0 Empoli: Despite goalkeeping heroics two headed goals for Roma to much for Empoli

Roma move into 3rd in the table after two early goals were enough to beat inform side Empoli. Roma took the lead in the 2nd minute. A in swinging corner from the left from Paulo Dybala was header into the net my centre-back Roger Ibanez. It was the Brazilians third of the season and ninth in total for Roma. Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario got a hand to the header, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. An almost identical corner from Dybala in the 6th minute led to the second for Roma. This time the cross was headed in by English striker Tammy Abraham. The former Chelsea and Aston Villa striker header went into the bottom right corner, leaving Vicario with no chance. In the 23rd minute another similar Dybala cross was headed by Abraham, it was tipped over his own bar by Vicario. The 26-year-old former Venezia goalkeeper was not happy with his sides defending. A deep cross in the 28th minute from Lorenzo Pellegrini was headed by Abraham from close range. The former Bristol City striker with the goal at his mercy headed the ball just wide. In the 36th minute, Tommaso Baldanzi picked up the ball for Empoli and found Francesco Caputo in the box with his back to goal. The 35-year-old turned and got his shot away, but it was expertly blocked by Roma defender Gianluca Mancini. In the 44th minute a freekick was curled in for Empoli by Razvan Marin. The cross missed everyone except Nigerian right-back Tyronne Ebuehi who hit his shot over from 5-yards out.  

In the 47th minute an extraordinary triple save by Vicario kept the game at 2-0. A cross by Pellegrini was flicked away by Empoli defender Sebastiano Luperto. The ball found its way to Dybala who hit a sweet half volley which was punched away by Vicario. The ball then fell to Mancini who volleyed the ball towards the left corner. Vicario dived and tipped the ball away but only into the path of Abraham. The striker was two yards out but somehow whilst on the floor Vicario saved the ball with his studs to deny Abraham. The triple save was one of the best in the Serie A and kept Empoli in the match. In the 52nd minute the impressive 19-year-old Baldanzi got a one-two with Caputo before hitting a speculative shot from outside the box which was straight down the throat of Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio. The match finshed 2-0 Roma. An important win for the I Giallorossi as it sees them move into the Champions League Spots and into 3rd. Roma are away at Lecce on Saturday and will look to grab all three points in southern Italy.  

Hellas Verona 1-1 Lazio: Spirited Hellas Verona continue good run inform

Lazio drop down to 4th after a disappointing draw with relegation threatened Hellas Verona. In the 10th minute a freekick from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was close it went over the wall but was just wide of the Hellas Verona goal. In the 19th minute a shot from Belgium striker Cyril Ngonge was heading in and Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel could only spill it into the path of Scottish left-back Josh Doig, but his shot was high and wide. A big chance for the side in the relegation zone which the 21-year-old couldn’t take. In the 27th minute a goal kick from Provedel was flick on by Milinkovic-Savic into the path of Ciro Immobile the Italian got into the left side of the box before hitting a powerful shot which went wide. In the 45th minute Lazio broke the deadlock. Immobile found Danilo Cataldi who played a one to with Pedro before giving it back to the former Barcelona man. Pedro took two touches before twisting and curling the ball into the top corner with his left foot. Hellas Verona goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo was beaten. 

Six minutes into the second half, Hellas Verona equalised a cross from Serbian Darko Lazovic from a freekick was headed in by Ngonge, from close range into the bottom left corner. It was the 22-year-old first goal in Serie A after arriving from FC Groningen in January. In the 53rd minute Hellas Verona came so close to taking the lead. A cross from Fabio Depaoli found its ways to Lazovic outside the box, who curled the ball towards the goal quite superbly, but his effort hit the post. Provedel was beaten and it would have completed the perfect game for Lazovic. The draw was a good point for the I Gialloblu against a big side like Lazio. However, Marco Zaffaroni men may feel it is a missed opportunity to collect all three points.  

Salernitana 0-3 Juventus: Vlahovic shines in comfortable win for I bianconeri

Juventus pick up first Serie A win since points deduction after beating Salernitana. In the 25th minute Juventus won a penalty after Hans Nicolussi Caviglia, who is on loan from Juventus, tripped Fabio Miretti in the box after failing to keep up with him. Dusan Vlahovic stepped up and hit an excellent penalty of the right post and into the back of the net. Guillermo Ochoa dived the right way, but he could not get close to the spot kick. In the 45th minute Juventus doubled their lead a miss kick from Vlahovic found it’s way to Filip Kostic who pokes the ball past Ochoa. Juventus fully deserved their lead at the break.  

Two minutes into the second half the game was over, a miss place pass by Nicolussi Caviglia was won by Nicolo Fagioli. The substitute slipped in Vlahovic, who let the ball come across his body before sweeping the ball in the bottom right corner. It was the Serbians 8th of the season in only 12th matches. The victory moved Juventus up to 10th position whilst Salernitana sit in 16th with only one win in their last six Serie A matches.  

Matchday 21 Results:

Cremonese 0-2 Lecce

Roma 2-0 Empoli 

Sassuolo 1-0 Atalanta

Spezia 0-3 Napoli

Torino 1-0 Udinese 

Fiorentina 1-2 Bologna 

Inter 1-0 Milan

Hellas Verona 1-1 Lazio

Monza 2-2 Sampdoria 

Salernitana 0-3 Juventus 

Player of the Match Week!!!

Guglielmo Vicario

The 26-year-old is the player of the match week despite his team losing 2-0. Vicario made an excellent triple save, which has already blew up on social media. The save from Abraham from two yards out was remarkable but Vicario also made another great save from Abraham in the first half and was a commanding presence in goal, The goalkeeper was communicating with his teammates throughout and is one of the main reasons for Empoli’s amazing season. 

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