Cagliari climbs to top 4 as Inter as Juve stick together

Simeone apologizing after scoring against Fiorentina, where he played until last season. Credits: Getty Images

It seems settled that the Serie A this season will be a two-horse race between Sarri’s Juventus and Conte’s Inter. Both teams won again their respective matches, leaving the ‘Nerazzurri’ still 1 point behind.

Meanwhile, Roma lost the place they conquered last weekend against Napoli, by getting defeated at Parma. Cagliari took the chance and they continue in a tremendous form, as they run over Fiorentina this weekend.

Juventus 1 x 0 AC Milan

Stefano Pioli continues to struggle as Milan’s new coach and the fact he had to travel to Torino to face the Scudetto holders, did not help his cause. To be fair, the ‘Rossoneri’ did show some spirit, but they fell defeated to a single goal from Dybala.

Although AC Milan are not in great shape, they are historically the team who has beaten Juventus more times (49).

Donnarumma kept his sheet clean in the first half with a fine stop to Higuain’s shot. Szczesny also saved Juventus, after a header from Paqueta almost surprised the Polish keeper. Fellow Poland international Piatek also tried his luck, but he was also denied by the Juventus’ guardian.

Sarri’s tactical change at the 57 minute raised some eyebrows, as he took Ronaldo off the pitch for Dybala. The Portuguese forward did not seem very happy, as he stormed off to the tunnel.

Yet the substitution proved vital as the Argentinian would be the key to the victory. Douglas Costa, who offered the victory to Juventus against Lokomotiv the past week, with a sensational solo goal, was again involved.

Costa one-two with Dybala, ended up with the latter dribbling past Milan and completing on target a beautiful football play.

Milan’s improved version was still not enough to get the 3 points. Pioli’s men are now 14th and dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Inter 2 x 1 Hellas Verona

Every game Inter seems to scrap through the vents and once again they did it after being 1×0 down. The victim this time was Hellas Verona, but Inter operated another comeback to assure 3 more points.

The ‘Nerazzurri’ were 1×0 down after the first quarter when Handanovic fouled Zaccagni in the box. Verre was called to convert the penalty and did not blink.

Lukaku was close to equalizing instants later, but the Belgian’s effort went some centimeters wide from the post. And even before the break, Inter was actually millimeters away from getting the leveler, as Vecino’s right post shot was taken way in the goal line.

The technology was needed to see if the ball had passed through the goal completely, but it was ruled out and Verona was still leading at the interval.

Vecino was destined to score, nonetheless, and he finally did it in the second half, following a cross from Lazaro. Vecino scored for the second match in a row, after already leaving his mark against Dortmund on Tuesday.

Silvestri kept denying Inter’s winning goal with multiple saves and Lukaku was not on an inspired evening as he missed two ‘sitters’.

It had to be something special to get the winner for Inter and Nicolo Barella took it out of his pocket. A supreme goal from the Italian youngster, who curled the ball perfectly away from Silvestri’s range. 2×1 and Inter keep chasing Juventus.

Cagliari 5 x 2 Fiorentina

Still without Franck Ribery, since the Frenchman was suspended for 3 games, Fiorentina was demolished by Cagliari’s unstoppable run. The Sardinians have arrived finally at the top 4 and they are now 10 games unbeaten.

Cagliari played throughout the game with a display of delightful football to watch, ripping Fiorentina’s defense apart. After a team combination, Marko Rog opened the score for the home side after just 16 minutes.

Pisacane with a header doubled Cagliari’s lead minutes later and Simeone tripled it still in the first half. A backheel goal from Simeone, who refused to celebrate, due to respect to Fiorentina’s fans, as he played for the ‘Viola’ for 2 seasons.

The home side continued to batter the opposition in the second half, as Nainggolan completed his third assist of the game, by providing a perfect pass to Joao Pedro. The Brazilian forward did not hesitate to make it 4.

Radja Nainggolan put the cherry on top of a terrific performance, with a ‘banger’ with his signature. It was his second goal of the season and the other one had also been a stunning far away shot.

Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic still netted a brace in the final minutes, but they were only consolation goals for Fiorentina. Cagliari runs rampant and is now in Champions League places. Can they do it?

Lazio 4 x 2 Lecce

A home reception to Lecce offered Lazio the perfect opportunity to cement their place in the top 4 and even sneak into the 3rd place. Lecce came from 4 consecutive draws, so they seemed like a perfect victim for Lazio to show dominance.

And that is just what they did. Joaquin Correa ‘turn and shot‘ beat Gabriel to open the scoresheet in the 30th minute. However, Lapadula equalized for Lecce just 10 minutes after, leaving the game leveled at halftime.

In the second half Acerbi decided to come from defense to help the team, as he curled a ball into the area. Milinkovic-Savic caught the chance and said thank you to his teammate: 2×1.

Lecce had a chance to put it on lever terms as Mancosu was fouled inside the box. Called to convert the penalty, Babacar allowed an easy save to Strakosha. Lapadula was able to score on the rebound but VAR caught him entering the penalty box before it was kicked.

On the other side, Lazio was awarded one penalty too and they showed their experience. Immobile, of course, did not hesitate as the Italian forward has now 14 goals in 12 games. It is his 7th consecutive match scoring in the Serie A schedule.

Besides scoring, Immobile also provided the assist for Lazio’s last goal of the evening, as he served Joaquin Correa for the Argentinian’s second.

Lamantia finished the score with a header to give Lecce a less damaging result. Still, the 4×2 assures Lazio of a 3rd place and they keep rampant in the league.

Parma 2 x 0 Roma

After getting to top 4, following a win over Napoli, it was expected Roma would cement it with another win against Parma. However, the ‘giallorossi’ disappointed, as they were defeated 2×0.

Roma was inoffensive throughout the first half and they only produced a dangerous effort already in the second, when Kolarov’s free kick hit the woodwork. Pastore was there for the rebound, but Sepe’s immediate save prevented the goal.

Parma had to replace Gervinho, who got injured by Sprocati and it was the Italian forward who broke the deadlock. A lobbed finish that surprised Pau Lopez.

Sepe denied once again Roma’s goal, as he made a terrific save to a long shot from Cengiz Under. Parma sealed the points with a late goal from Andreas Cornelius and wrapped up the victory for the home side.

A historical one, as it was the first time Parma won a home game against Roma in 7 years.

About Jorge Costa 140 Articles
Jorge Costa is a freelance journalist, with a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication, through the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He specializes in sports and soccer in particular.

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