Marco Borriello

Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

Serie A: Juve draw for first time this season, title lead still grows

Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) There is still a glimmer of hope for Roma and Napoli.

Juventus was prevented from going 10 points clear in Serie A as a lethargic performance saw the leaders held 1-1 at Udinese on Sunday. It was Juve’s first draw in the league this season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — As the kids would say, it was “lit” ]

Leonardo Bonucci was both hero and villain as he was outmuscled for Duvan Zapata’s opener but leveled on the hour.

Juventus is eight points clear of second-placed Roma and 10 ahead of Napoli with 11 rounds remaining.

“We gained a point on Roma,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We were coming from a very hard period, where we played very important matches and today we faced a Udinese side which deserved to draw.

“When you can’t win certain matches, you mustn’t lose them … it’s an important point. And even with a win, the title race wouldn’t have been over.”

After Napoli won 2-1 at Roma on Saturday, Juventus knew it could take a big step toward an unprecedented sixth successive title.

[ MORE: Kane scores two more, Spurs top Toffees | Man City cruise ]

Udinese had picked up only one point from its previous four matches, scoring just one goal. But it took the lead eight minutes from halftime as Zapata held off Bonucci and beat Gianluigi Buffon at the near post.

Juventus struggled to create real opportunities but leveled when Bonucci headed in Paulo Dybala’s free kick.

Udinese coach Luigi Delneri was dismissed immediately after for dissent.

The home side almost restored its lead two minutes later but Danilo’s header came off the base of the left post, although it looked as if Buffon had it covered.

[ MORE: Alexis reportedly dropped after storming off training field ]

Ciro Immobile scored twice as Lazio maintained its late push for a Champions League spot.

Immobile had been on target in four of his last five matches and he took just nine minutes to open the scoring, heading in Senad Lulic’s cross.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic put in another impressive performance and the 22-year-old set up Lazio’s second with a delightful through ball to release Immobile for his 16th goal of the season.

Lazio moved fourth, four points behind Napoli.

Atalanta failed to keep up the pressure in the race for a Champions League spot as it was kept at bay by Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side had emerged as surprise contenders for a top-three finish after beating Napoli last weekend but it slipped five points below the Champions League qualifying spots.

Atalanta laid siege to the goal but could not find a way through due to a combination of wayward finishing and excellent saves by Tatarusanu. He also somehow managed to claw Andrea Petagna’s effort off the line and out off the upright late on.

Ever Banega made the most of a rare start as he scored one goal and set up another to help Inter Milan comfortably beat Cagliari and remain six points behind Napoli.

Ivan Perisic scored twice as Inter bounced back from last week’s 3-1 defeat at home to Roma.

[ MORE: Belotti’s hat trick sends him top of goal-scoring charts ]

“We got what we wanted, to react at the right moment and in the best way possible after the defeat to Roma,” Perisic said. “We still believe in third place.

“Today we showed we are on the right path. We will give our utmost until the end.”

Inter broke the deadlock in the 36th when Ivan Perisic controlled Banega’s chipped pass with his right foot and hit it past Gabriel with his left.

Banega doubled Inter’s lead three minutes later with a free kick into the top left corner.

Cagliari got back into it shortly after. Samir Handanovic did well to keep out David Di Gennaro’s free kick but the ball was crossed back in for Marco Borriello to head home.

Perisic doubled his tally two minutes after the break following a lovely one-two with Mauro Icardi, who backheeled it for the Croatia forward to curl into the bottom right corner.

Icardi scored his 17th league goal of the season with a penalty in the 67th after he was tripped by Gabriel and Roberto Gagliardino netted his first for Inter two minutes from time.

Serie A Roundup: Inter downs Juventus, Hart keeps clean sheet

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Inter took a punch and got back up to win the Derby d’Italia 2-1 over defending champions Juventus. Stephen Lichtensteiner split two defenders and poked home Alex Sandro‘s cross for a Juventus lead in the 66th minute, but Inter hit back twice soon after. Mauro Icardi rose high to head home a corner in the 68th, and then the head of Ivan Perisic delivered after Icardi did the hard work down the right edge of the box.

Joe Hart put the mistakes in his Torino debut behind him, keeping a clean sheet in his first match in front of the home fans at Stadio Olimpico with a 0-0 draw with Empoli. To be fair, it helped that he didn’t have much to do.

Despite holding the majority of possession, visiting Empoli put just two shots on Hart’s goal – the first coming 63 minutes in – and while Torino out-shot them 14-5 overall, neither side could find a winner.

[ MORE: Manchester United falls 3-1 to Watford ]

Marco Borriello‘s brace gave Cagliari a 3-0 win over his old club Atalanta at home. The 34-year-old spent just half a season at Atalanta, but left on a free transfer this past summer and bagged his third and fourth goals of the season in the victory, scoring just eight minutes in for the lead, and then again in the 73rd minute with a curling free-kick through the wall. Atalanta had a chance to tie things up 10 minutes before halftime, but Alberto Paloschi saw his penalty saved by Rafael.

Fabrizio Cacciatore scored at the death for Chievo Verona (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Fabrizio Cacciatore scored at the death for Chievo Verona (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

Chievo Verona earned a dramatic three points, as Fabrizio Cacciatore scored five minutes into added time to give the visitors a 2-1 win over Udinese at  Stadio Friuli. The 29-year-old Italian international found himself completely unmarked at the back post as the game came to a close, and he finished Lucas Castro’s cross cooly with virtually the last touch of the game. The goal came not long after Castro himself had equalized with eight minutes left in regulation, cancelling out Duvan Zapata’s first-half header.

Sassuolo struck twice in an eight-minute second half span to win 2-0 at home over Genoa, taking the Neroverdi third in the Serie A table. 23-year-old Matteo Politano bagged a penalty in the 58th minute after Leonardo Pavoletti fouled Gregoire Defrel in the area. Then, Defrel earned himself a goal with a diving header in the 66th minute to put the home side through. It got worse for Genoa as Miguel Veloso was sent off in the 86th minute.

Crotone and Palermo played to a 1-1 draw at tiny Stadio Ezio Scida. The newly-promoted side went ahead in the 23rd minute via former Fulham man Marcello Trotta, but Ilija Nestorovski pulled Palermo back level midway through the second half.

Serie A roundup: Fiorentina edges Chievo, Roma coughs up lead, Inter held

Getty Images
Leave a comment

An early header by Aston Villa loanee Carlos Sanchez gave Fiorentina its first win of the season in their home opener, a 1-0 result over Chievo Verona.

The Villa midfielder rose high above Dario Dainello to smash home the only goal of the match. Unfortunately, there was a catch as starting goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was forced off just before halftime with an injury. The 30-year-old Romanian international took a kick to the head and could not continue.

Roma was left highly disappointed after coughing up a 2-0 lead, finishing 2-2 on the road at Cagliari. Diego Pierotti gave the visitors the lead at Stadio Sant’Elia just six minutes in by slotting home a penalty. Just after halftime, Kevin Strootman doubled Roma’s lead with his first goal since February of 2014 by poking in Edin Dzeko‘s headed assist from point-blank range.

However, it would come undone. Marco Borriello would pull Cagliari back within one just 10 minutes after Strootman’s score by tapping in a rebound, and Marco Sau poked one in at the far post to equalize in the 87th minute, sending Roma back with just a point.

Frank de Boer’s debut at the San Siro ended in a 1-1 draw with Palermo as Mauro Icardi headed home completely unmarked in in the 72nd minute to cancel out Andrea Rispoli’s opener just after halftime.

Torino pummeled Bologna at home 5-1 behind a hat-trick from Andrea Belotti. The trio is the first hat-trick of the 22-year-old’s professional career. Josef Martinez and Daniele Baselli also found the scoresheet for Torino who earned their first points of the season.

Elsewhere, Udinese used a goal in the first five minutes and another late in stoppage time to beat 10-man Empoli 2-0. Genoa scored three goals in an 11-minute span early in the second half to top Crotone 3-1. Sassuolo grabbed all three points at home with a 2-1 defeat of Pescara. Finally, Sampdoria came back from an early deficit to top 10-man Atalanta 2-1. Fabio Quagliarella scored from the spot to level things up and Sampdoria grabbed the winner a minute before halftime behind Paraguayan Edgar Barreto.

Serie A roundup: Inter lose, stay top; Juve keep winning, closing gap

1 Comment

A roundup of all of the weekend’s action in Italy’s top flight:

Inter Milan 1-2 Lazio

Inter Milan’s lead atop the Serie A table shrunk from four points to one on Sunday with a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of 10th-place Lazio. The visitors went ahead through Antonio Candreva’s long-range blast in the 5th minute (below video), but Roberto Mancini’s side equalized through Mauro Icardi just after the half-hour mark. Candreva bagged his brace on 87 minutes. The defeat is just the third of the season for Inter (36 points), and second since the start of October, but with everyone else in the title race winning on the weekend, it’s already proved a costly result.

Atalanta 1-3 Napoli

2nd-place Napoli broke a two-game winless streak with a 3-1 away victory over 9th-place Atalanta on Sunday. Marek Hamsik opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute, before — who else? — Gonzalo Higuain bagged a brace on 62 and 85 minutes. Sunday’s haul makes it 16 goals in league games for Higuain this season.

Fiorentina 2-0 Chievo

Still hanging around the title race, and very much in with a shout for UEFA Champions League qualification (top-three), is Fiorentina, who topped 11th-place Chievo on Sunday. Nikola Kalinic (20th minute) and Josip Ilicic (32nd) bagged the early goals to keep Paulo Sousa’s side third in the table, now just a point back of Inter.

Carpi 2-3 Juventus

Get off the tracks, everyone, because Juventus are coming through with a full head of steam… and then some. Sunday’s victory against 19th-place Carpi makes it seven in a row for Massimiliano Allegri’s four-time defending Serie A champions. Mario Mandzukic scored twice (18th and 41st minutes) for Juve, who also got a goal from Paul Pogba (50th). The 3-2 scoreline flatters Carpi, who took a 15th-minute lead through Marco Borriello and pulled back a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time through Leonardo Bonucci.

Roma 2-0 Genoa

Things are beginning to look up again for Roma, who now are now three games unbeaten. The only problem: Sunday’s victory was their first in five games, and they’ve fallen to 5th during that poor run of form. Alessandro Florenzi opened the scoring in the 42nd minute and Sadiq Umar added the late insurance goal (89th minute) to keep Rudi Garcia’s side in the top-five (Europa League qualification), four points ahead of 6th-place AC Milan.

Frosinone 2-4 AC Milan

Speaking of Milan, the Rossoneri put four past 18th-place Frosinone on Sunday, which was enough from them to leapfrog Sassuolo for 6th place. After going down a goal on 15 minutes, Ignazio Abate equalized for Milan in the 50th minute. Carlos Bacca gave Milan the lead five minutes later, and Alex scored the eventual winner in the 77th minute. Frosinone hit back in the 83rd, but Giacomo Bonventura re-established the two-goal lead in second-half stoppage time.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 2-3 Empoli
Hellas Verona 1-1 Sassuolo
Sampdoria 2-0 Palermo
Torino 0-1 Udinese