Spezia 2-1 Inter: Martinez missed pentalty costly for I Nerazzurri
Inter fail to close the gap on Napoli after a loss at the Stadio Alberto Picco. In the 12th minute of the match Inter were awarded a penalty. Lautaro Martinez found Danilo D’Ambrosio who got the wrong side of centre-back Dimitrios Nikolaou. D’Ambrosio made his way into the box where he was fouled by Ac Milan loanee Mattia Caldara. The centre-back picked up a card for his challenge which was only given as a penalty by VAR. In the 14th minute Martinez stepped up but his penalty was saved excellently by Bartlomiej Dragowski down to his left. In the 32nd minute Spezia came close. Kevin Agudelo found the ball in the centre of the park he went passed Nicolo Barella and then defender Francesco Acerbi before looping a shot over Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. However, the Colombians shot fell onto the crossbar instead of into the back of the net. In the 41st minute, a counterattack for Inter saw Martinez being played in by Barella. The former Racing Club man had Romelu Lukaku with him but went alone. Martinez just got into the box before letting fly, his powerful shot was tipped over by Dragowski. If Martinez found any of the corners Inter would have been in the lead at the break.
In the 55th minute Spezia broke the deadlock a kick from Dragowski founds its way to Spezia forward M’Bala Nzola. The Angolan forward out strengthen Acerbi then rolled the ball to second half substitute Daniel Maldini. The midfielder calmly rolled the ball in the bottom left corner putting Spezia into the lead. The 21-year-old is the son of Ac Milan Icon Paolo Maldini and is also on loan from Inter’s arch-rivals. In the 82nd minute, Inter were awarded their second penalty of the night. Alessandro Bastoni played a pass into Denzel Dumfries in the Spezia box. The fullback took a touch before being kicked by Salvador Ferrer. The Spanish defender had just came on as a substitute. Lukaku stepped up instead of Martinez from the spot and sent Dragowski the wrong way. The Belgian international smashed the penalty in the bottom right corner for his third of the season. In the 85th minute, Spezia were awarded a penalty. A cross into the box from Kelvin Amian found its way to Viktor Kovalenko, who was pushed over by Dumfries. Livio Marinelli pointed right to the spot. Nzola stepped up from the spot and planted the penalty in the top right corner. Handanovic went the right way, but the penalty was too high for him. Spezia held on for a famous victory and more importantly 3 more points which will help them in the race for survival. Whereas for Inter all focus must be on the Champions League Round of 16 second leg vs Porto in Portugal.
Empoli 0-1 Udinese: Udinese grab all three points at the Stadio Carlo Castellani
The early Saturday kick-off saw out of form Empoli take on Udinese, who got an impressive draw away at Atalanta last match week. The first attempted of the match fell to Empoli in the 2nd minute. A freekick from the right of the box was taken by Razvan Marin with his left foot. The freekick deflected against the wall and hit the side netting. Udinese had a great chance in the 21st minute to take the lead a cross by Sandi Lovric was missed by Empoli goalkeeper Samuele Perisan. The ball fell to Jaka Bijol with the goal at his mercy but the Slovenian centre-back headed wide. In the 24th minute, another big chance for Udinese saw Kingsley Ehizibue switch the play to the left flack to find Iyenoma Udogie. A great touch from the Tottenham loanee saw him makes his way into the box where he went past Empoli centre-back Ardian Ismajili and got his shot away. The left-wing backs shot went passed Perisan but was cleared of the line by left-back Fabiano Parisi. In the 40th minute it was Empoli’s turn to come close. A freekick from near the centre circle was floated in by Marin it was headed by Martín Satriano towards the bottom right corner. It was expertly tipped away by Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, but it fell to unmarked Francesco Caputo. The 35-year-old from a tight angle, hit the ball wide of the top right corner from two yards out a big chance for the home side.
The visitors took the lead in the 54th minute a corner from Sandi Lovric was floated into the box. It reached Brazilian centre-back Rodrigo Becao hitting him on the back, but the ball still found its way into the top right corner of the Empoli net. In the 64th minute Empoli came close. Inside the box Caputo found youngster Tommaso Baldanzi. The 19-year-old turned beat three Udinese players before hitting a shot on the turn from just outside the box which just went past Silvestri’s far post. In the 74th minute, excellent work from Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro saw the 30-year-old find Baldanzi. The talented youngster ran from almost his own half before letting fly with his left foot. His shot was saved by the feat of Silvestri. In the end Udinese held on for an impressive victory. Udinese are at home to Ac Milan next weekend whereas Empoli are away in Bergamo to face Atalanta.
Napoli 2-0 Atalanta: The League Leaders back to winning ways after a comfortable victory
Napoli go 18 points clear at the top of the table after beating Atlanta on Saturday evening. The first chance of the match fell to the home side. Matteo Politano found Piotr Zielinski who passed it back to the winger inside the box, the Italian took a left footed shot which was tipped wide for a corner by Juan Musso. In the 28th minute Khvica Kvaratskhelia picked up the ball on the left wing. The Georgian sent Joakim Máéhle inside out before running down the by line where he let fly from a tight angle inside the box. The shot was saved by Musso. Politano was screaming in the box that the 22-year-old squared it to him rather than going for goal.
In the 48th minute the lively Politano found the ball on the right wing. The former Inter man, jinked past Matteo Ruggeri before standing up a cross to the back post. It fell to Victor Osimhen, who tried the most audacious bicycle kick which he pulled off. Unfortunately for the Nigerian his acrobatic attempt was saved comfortably by Musso. In the 60th minute, Napoli finally broke the deadlock. Osimhen picked up the ball and passed it out wide to Kvaratskhelia just outside of the box. The former Rubin Kazan man sent three Atalanta players the wrong way, turning them inside out, before smashing his shot into the top left corner. Mesut Ozil esque from the Georgian and surely one of the goals of the season for the Champions elect. In the 73rd minute a half chance for Atalanta saw Luis Muriel run into the Napoli box before he let fly from a tight angle. His shot was saved by Pierluigi Gollini in goal, who is currently on loan from Atalanta. In the 77th minute Napoli doubled their lead, and the match was over. A corner from the right by North Macedonian Eljif Elmas was headed into the bottom right corner of the net by Amir Rrahmani. It was the Kosovan’s second of the season and first since January. In the 83rd minute Davide Zappacosta found Duvan Zapata in the box for the away side. The Colombia held up the ball before laying the ball to Ruggeri whose powerful shot was saved by Gollini. Napoli resume their quest to win their first league title in three decades whereas for Atalanta the chance of top four football is slipping away.
Bologna 0-0 Lazio: Lazio goalless without talisman Immobile
Saturday night’s match saw Lazio fail to capitalise on Inter’s lost on Friday as they could only manage a draw against an impressive Bologna side. The first big chance of the match fell to the visitors. In the 15th minute Pedro played a pass to Matias Vecino who found Luis Alberto. The Spanish midfielder played a wonderful ball to Pedro inside the box. The 35-year-old took one touch to compose himself before hitting a shot which rolled past the far post instead of the back of the Bologna net. In the 28th minute a massive chance for Bologna saw Giorgos Kyriakopoulos stand up a cross to the back stick from inside the box. It was met by Lewis Ferguson at the far post, but the Scotsman could only direct his header onto the post and not past Ivan Provedel in the Lazio net. In the 33rd minute another chance for Bologna saw Nikola Moro drive at the Lazio defence. The midfielder found striker Musa Barrow who cut in from the left-hand side of the box before hitting a shot towards the near post which was heading until Provedel got his hand to it and tipped it away for a corner. In the 35th minute Mattia Zaccagni slipped in Luis Alberto who was bearing down on goal. However luckily for Bologna fans his shot was straight at goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski. The ball fell straight to Felipe Anderson whose shot was clawed away by Skorupski, a double save in seconds from the Polish international.
Two minutes into the second half Bologna came close. An attacking run from Right back Stefan Posch saw the Austrian try to find Barrow. The pass missed the Gambian but fell perfectly for Kyriakopoulos who took one touch before hitting a sweet left footed shot aiming for the bottom right corner, his shot was just inches wide of Provedel’s net. In the 56th minute a corner from Musa Barrow from the left nearly went the whole way in but just hit the roof of the net. It had Lazio goalkeeper Provedel very worried. In the 82nd minute, Joshua Zirkzee won the ball it fell to Barrow from range who took the effort on, and his shot just went pass the far post. It would have been a wonder goal and one to win any game. The game finished all square a good point for Thiago Motta’s men but for Lazio a missed opportunity in their hunt for second position.
Lecce 0-2 Torino: Two goals in the space of three minutes enough for Torino
Torino pick up back-to-back wins for only the second time this season with a win at Lecce. Lecce now are on a three-match losing run without finding the back of the net. The first big chance of the match was the first goal for the away side. From a freekick situation, in the 20th minute, Ricardo Rodrigues laid the ball to Atlanta loanee Aleksey Miranchuck who floated the ball to the far post. It fell to Wilfried Singo who calmly slotted the ball first time into the bottom left corner. It was the Ivorian wingbacks second of the season. Three minutes later it was 0-2 to the visitors. Nemanja Radonjic picked up the ball on the left touchline just inside the Lecce half. The Serbian ran down the line with a burst of pace and skipped past a sliding challenge by Lecce defender Federico Baschirotto before making his way into the area. The Marseille loanee put the ball across the box and there was Antonio Sanabria to tap the ball into an empty net from two yards out. It was the former Real Betis and Roma strikers seventh of the season in Serie A.
In the 56th minute a chance for Lecce saw Gabriel Strefezza pick up the ball just outside the left of the box. The Brazilian laid the ball back to the edge of the box where Rémi Oudin let fly, his shot was comfortably saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in the Torino goal. In the 76th minute a shot from substitute Lorenzo Colombo from the left-hand side of the box looked like it could trouble Milinkovic-Savic in goal. However, his shot was blocked by Samuele Ricci for a corner. In the 82nd minute Torino looked for a third, a cross by Radonjic into the penalty area was so close to reaching Michel Ndary Adopo but it was caught by Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone. Two was enough for Torino to take all three points back to Turin.
Cremonese 0-2 Fiorentina: Missed chances haunt I Grigiorossi
Sunday afternoon saw Cremonese entertain Fiorentina at the Stadio Giovanni Zini. The first chance of the match fell to the Viola in the 17th minute. Brazilian right back Dodo moved his way into the centre of the park where he found Rolando Mandragora. The midfielder took two touches, before hitting a sweetly struck left footed shot which flew just wide of Marco Carnesecchi’s net. In the 27th minute Fiorentina did take the lead. Ricardo Saponara picked up the ball on the left flank before coming inside and finding Mandragora who found Jonathan Ikoné inside the box. The ball bounced of the Cremonese defenders and the winger who then found Mandragora, who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner from close range. It was the 25-year-olds second of the season and first since the opening game of the season against the same opponents. In the 34th minute a chance for Cremonese saw Emanuele Valeri win the ball of Dodo. He rolled the ball back into the box where Cyriel Dessers was waiting but his shot was sent into the travelling fans. A big chance for the Nigerian who scored twice after coming off the bench last week vs Sassuolo.
Five minutes into the second half, it was 0-2 to Fiorentina and what a team goal it was. Substitute Josip Brekalo squared the ball to Mandragora just outside the left of the box. The Italian got a one-two of Antonin Barak and moved inside the box where he squared the ball across the box to Arthur Cabral who had the easiest of finishes. It was Cabral’s third goal in five matches and sixth of the season. In the 66th minute a chance for Cremonese saw another cross by Valeri, from the left, this time it was headed by Daniel Ciofani, but his header went over the bar. In the 80th minute, a massive chance for Cremonese saw great hold up play by Ciofani who chested the ball and laid it to Cristian Buonaiuto. The 30-year-old played a lovely ball in between two Fiorentina defender to David Okereke. One on one with Salvatore Sirigu the Nigerians shot was saved by the legs of the keeper a massive chance for the home side and one which could have got them back into the match. In the end Fiorentina held on for back-to-back victories and including the Conference League they are on a five-game winning streak. As for Cremonese they are playing well but can’t seem to pick up much needed points.
Hellas Verona 1-1 Monza: Game ends all even in a tight affair
Hellas Verona remain in the relegation zone after a draw with midtable Monza. In the 18th minute the first chance for Hellas Verona saw Yayah Kallon take on Monza defender Luca Caldirola. The 21-year-old got to the by-line where he smashed a shot which was tipped away by Monza goalkeeper Michele Di Gregorio. It fell to Ondrej Duda, who was unable to fully connect with the ball and it was picked up by Di Gregorio. In the 34th minute the first chance for Monza saw Carlos Augusto find Andrea Petagna. The Napoli loanee held up the ball and found Patrick Ciurria but his shot did not have enough power and was saved by Lorenzo Montipo.
In the 6th minute of the second half the home side took the lead. Duda had a shot from outside the box which deflected off Ciurria it fell to Simone Verdi. The 30-year-old Torino loanee, cut inside Ciurria before hitting a right footed shot of Di Gregorio and into the back of the net. It was Verdi’s second of the season and first since the middle of November. In the 54th minute Hellas Verona had a chance to double their lead. A cross from captain Marco Faroni found its way to Adolfo Gaich after deflecting of Matteo Pessina. Gaich’s shot was poor and was saved by Di Gregorio. If the Argentinian put more power on his shot Hellas Verona could have doubled their lead. In the 55th minute the visitors equalised. Stefano Sensei played a ball into Petagna who held the ball up before finding Augusto who put the ball across the box from the left by-line. It fell to Sensei who had the easiest of tapings. It was the Inter loanee’s third of the season and first since October. In the 88th minute Monza missed a big chance to win the game. More great hold up play from Petagna saw the 27-year-old find Pessina, who twisted and turn in the box before hitting his shot over the bar from 10 yards out. A massive chance for the Monza captain and one he should have scored. Minutes later, the final whistle blew, the draw sees Hellas Verona four points away from safety after Spezia’s shock win over Inter on Friday. Monza remain in mid-table but will be thinking they could have grabbed all three points.
Roma 3-4 Sassuolo: Dybala stunner a consolation as Roma lose seven-goal thriller
Roma fail to capitalise on the defeat for Inter and a draw for rivals Lazio, with a disappointing result of their own against inform Sassuolo. In the 13th minute the visitors broke the deadlock. Davide Frattesi found Matheus Henrique who broke forward he played it back to Frattesi but his shot was blocked by Roma defender Chris Smalling. The ball found its way to Andrea Pinamonti on the right-hand side of the box, his half volley was saved by Rui Patricio. The ball fell to Armand Laurienté who rolled the ball into the net. It was the French wingers sixth of the season. Five minutes later it was 0-2 to the visitors. Domenico Berardi moved his way into the box from the right wing, where he cleverly nutmegged Leonardo Spinazzola. The ball fell to Jeremy Toljan but his cross was blocked. It fell back to Berardi who let fly with his right foot from close range which was saved excellently by Patricio. Berardi picked up the rebound from the by-line and sent in a low cross. The low cross fell to Laurienté, who hit the ball over Patricio and into the back of the net. It was two in five minutes for the Frenchman and his fine form in Serie A continues after a Man of the Match display against Cremonese last week. In the 26th minute Roma pulled one back. Spinazzola ran down the left flank for Roma taking on Toljan before sending in a cross. The cross was deep, but it reached right-wing back Nicola Zalewski, the Polish international hit the ball on the volley into the ground and it looped over Andrea Consigli and into the back of the net. It was now game on for Roma who were looking for back-to-back wins. However, this task became even more difficult after a moment of madness for Roma defender Marah Kumbulla. A cross from Rogério for Sassuolo was looking for Berardi. The Italian went for the ball with Kumbulla and Patricio. Something in the challenge by Berardi angered Kumbulla who kicked out at the 25-caped-Italain. The incident was reviewed by VAR and after looking at the monitor referee Michael Fabbri sent off Kumbulla and gave a penalty to Sassuolo. Four minutes into added time, Berardi stepped up to take the penalty which he converted into the left corner sending Patricio the wrong way.
Five minutes into the second half, Roma once again pulled a goal back and this time it was a stunner. Paulo Dybala picked up the ball and found Stephan El Shaarawy just inside the Sassuolo penalty area. The former Ac Milan winger laid it back to Dybala just outside the box to the left. Dybala took on the shot first time with his left foot and his powerful curled shot sailed over Consigli. It was the substitutes 13th in a Roma shirt this season and ninth in the Serie A. In the 51st minute straight from kick-off the visitors had a chance to restore their two-goal advantaged. A burst of pace for Laurienté saw the winger come inside where he laid the ball out wide to Berardi. The winger took one touch inside before hitting a powerful shot on the half volley which beat Patricio but hit the top of the bar. In the 75th minute Sassuolo did have their two-goal advantage. The inform Laurienté once again cut inside where he went past Mady Camara before playing a through ball to Pinamonti. The striker perfectly chipped the ball over the on-rushing Patricio and into the back of the net. It was an excellent finish from the Inter loanee, his fourth of the season. It was once again excellent play from Laurienté. Four minutes into added time Roma pulled another goal back. Defender Chris Smalling went on a run where he found Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutchman took one touch to get him into the right corner of the box and a second to steady himself before flicking the ball over Consigli into the back of the net. However, it was too late and Sassuolo held on for their first ever victory away at Roma. As for Roma they have the Derby Delle Capitale next Sunday versus Lazio which they need all three points against their rivals.
Juventus 4-2 Sampdoria: Two goals in a minute not enough for Sampdoria
On Sunday night, Juventus entertained Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium. The first big chance of the match was the opening goal for the home side. An in-swinging cross from a corner by Filip Kostic was headed into the back of the net by Gleison Bremer. The centre-back showed great power to reach the ball which he headed into the ground and past Martin Turk in the Sampdoria goal. In the 26th minute it was 2-0 to the home side and another header. A deep cross by Fabio Miretti found its way into the penalty area and right on the head of Adrien Rabiot who headed the ball right into the top right corner from close range. It was the Frenchman’s 6th of the season in Serie A his best in a Juventus shirt. In the 31st minute with their first clear cut chance of the game the visitors pulled a goal back. Filip Djuricic picked up the ball in an attacking position and slipped in Mehdi Leris. The Algerian just inside the box to the right-hand side let fly but his shot was blocked by Danilo. However, the ball fell to Sampdoria left-wing back Tommaso Augello in the box whose shot found the bottom corner giving Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin no chance. Only a minute later Sampdoria equalised. Right-wing back Alessandro Zanoli ran from his own half down the right by-line where he cut inside Danilo near the Juventus box before laying an inch perfect pass for Djuricic to roll the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. A great goal by the relegation threatened club and in the space of two minutes it was all even at the Allianz Stadium.
In the 64th minute Juventus retook the lead, Rabiot overran the ball and was tackled by Sampdoria centre–back Bram Nuytinck. However, the 32-year-olds clearance only found its way to Nicolo Fagioli who found Rabiot again. The Frenchman controlled the ball with his chest before turning and hitting sweet left-footed volley into the top left corner. A great goal by the 35-five-capped Frenchman who has an ounce of swagger about him in a Juventus shirt. In the 67th minute, Juan Cuadrado ran into the box he was battling against Augello stride for stride. However, Augello was to tight to Cuadrado and when the Colombian cut back he was clipped by Augello, and it was a penalty to Juventus. In the 69th minute Dusan Vlahovic stepped up from the spot, but his powerful left footed penalty hit the left post and came back out. Vlahovic sent the keeper the wrong way, but the Serbian’s penalty was hit to sweetly and rebounded out. In the 82nd minute Juventus were so close to making it four. Following a set piece, the ball fell to Cuadrado who cut inside before hitting a shot which was saved on to the crossbar by Turk. Four minutes into added time Juventus did get a fourth through Matias Soulé. Kostic ran down the left by-line before crossing a perfect ball to fellow Serbian Vlahovic. The striker’s header was tipped onto the bar by Turk but there was Soulé to head the rebound into an empty net. It was the Argentinian first goal for the club. The final whistle blew moments later and I bianconeri got a much-needed win which moves them above Turin rivals Torino into Seventh. Whereas Sampdoria are winless in ten and it looks increasingly lightly they will be relegated for the first time since the 1998/99 season.
Ac Milan 1-1 Salernitana: Missed chances costly for I Rossoneri
On Monday night Ac Milan entertained Salernitana at the San Siro. The first chance of the game fell to the home side and what a goal it would have been. A corner taken from the left by Ismael Bennacer fell to Olivier Giroud who tried a bicycle kick. The Frenchman made perfect contact, but his shot was too high and went over the crossbar. If the Frenchman found the net the goal would have been a goal of the season contender. In the 32nd minute a poor sliding back pass from Ismael Bennacer left goalkeeper Mike Maignan in trouble. The ball eventually fell to Salernitana midfielder Emil Bohinen in the box who squared it to Grigoris Kastanos. The 25-year-old dragged his shot wide with Maignan closing him down. The shot flicked off Rade Krunic who did excellent to get back and put Katsanos off. In the 42nd minute, Ac Milan centre-back Malick Thiaw was caught as the last defender just inside his own half by Boulaye Dia. The Sengelese striker was in and he faked shoted before trying to go round Maignan. However, the former Lille goalkeeper made a great tackle inside the box to win the ball of Dia. In the first minute of first half added time Ac Milan took the lead. A cross from Bennacer this time from the right was flicked on by Giroud inside the 18-yard-box and it went into the bottom left corner. It was the World Cup Winners 8th of the season in the Serie A.
In the 51st minute another great chance for Milan saw the impressive Bennacer receive the ball in the middle of the park. The Algerian powered forward going past two defenders before crossing a ball across the box from the left corner of the area. The ball fell to Rafael Leao, who from close range hit the ball wide of the near post from inside the 18-yard-box. It was a big chance for the Portuguese international, who hasn’t scored in seven Serie A matches. In the 61st minute the visitors equalised. Domagoj Bradaric was found by Lassana Coulibaly outside on the left. The Croatian sent in a perfect cross to Dia who from close range stabbed the ball pass Maignan with his right foot. In the 70th minute, substitute Charles De Ketelaere found Bennacer in the penalty area. The foremer Empoli man, felt contact from Bradaric and went down and referee Federico La Penna pointed to the spot. However, the penalty was looked at by VAR and overturned. In the 75th minute another big chance for Milan saw a cross from Alexis Saelemaekers be flicked on by Zlatan Ibrahimovic it fell to Divock Origi. The Belgium forward from two yards out headed the ball towards goal but it was miraculously turned around the post by Guillermo Ochoa. It was an extraordinary saved by the 37-year-old. In the 82nd minute a chance for the away side saw Dia find Krzysztof Piatek in an attacking position. The former Milan striker turned before fake shotting Pierre Kalulu and then letting fly. His shot was heading into the bottom right corner before it was saved by Maignan. In the 87th minute somehow the ball stayed out. A cross by Milan captain Theo Hernandez was heading into the top corner before it was clawed by Ochoa. The ball than fell to Alessandro Florenzi who headed and then kick the ball in separate motions towards goal, it beat Ochoa but on the line was Norbert Gyömbér to flick it into the path of Ochoa. The visitors held on for a great point, their first against Milan in the San Siro. Whereas for Milan more drop points against an opposition lower down the table.
Matchday 26 Results:
Spezia 2-1 Inter Milan
Empoli 0-1 Udinese
Napoli 2-0 Atalanta
Bologna 0-0 Lazio
Lecce 0-2 Torino
Hellas Verona 1-1 Monza
Cremonese 0-2 Fiorentina
Roma 3-4 Sassuolo
Juventus 4-2 Sampdoria
Ac Milan 1-1 Salenitana
Player of the Matchweek
The Frenchman becomes the first player to win Player of the Matchweek in back to back weeks. Last week the 24-year-old scored one and assisted two in a 3-2 win over Cremonese. This week Laurienté scored two and assist one in a 3-4 win for Sassuolo away at Roma. The winger was a constant option on the left-wing and had real joy running inside. The former Lorient man scored both his goals by being in the right place at the right time, showing he also has a predatory instinct. Laurienté provided a perfect weight of pass to find Pinamonti to put Sassuolo 2-4. A perfect performance for a player who is in the form of his life. Laurienté has now scored seven and assisted six in 19 Serie A matches.