Atalanta closer to the top, as Juve and Inter drop points

Muriel 3 goals after Udinese 7x1
Luis Muriel celebrating hat trick goal, with teammate Pasalic. Credits: AFP

The Serie A matchday 9 had plenty of emotions, as the two teams on top tripped on midtable opponents. Juventus was held to a draw by newly-promoted side Lecce. Inter could have leaped into the lead, but they could not get past Parma.

The team that took advantage of this situation was Atalanta. The Bergamo crest scored 7 past Udinese and made a statement that they might get into the fight for the Scudetto.

All this and much more in this weekend’s Serie A round-up.

Lecce 1 x 1 Juventus

Juventus had survived to a scare midweek when Dybala’s late goals helped overcome Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League group stages. Now, they had the mission to overcome Lecce and they might have undervalued the newly-promoted side.

Maurizio Sarri decided to rest the star of the team, Cristiano Ronaldo. In his place entered Bernardeschi, providing support for a front two of Higuain and Dybala.

Lecce was able to keep a clean sheet until the second half, and the merit should be split between Gabriel and Higuain. The home side keeper made a brilliant save to a Dybala’s effort, while the Argentinian forward had only to blame himself for wasting a one on one chance against Lecce’s goalie.

However, Lecce’s efforts to keep Juventus away from their goal were stopped, when Pjanic suffered a clumsy tackle at the edge of the box. After a VAR consultation, the ref pointed to the spot and Paulo Dybala put the ‘Bianconeri’ ahead.

The home side battled through and got awarded a penalty of their own later on, due to an Alex Sandro handball. Mancosu made no mistake and beat Szczesny to make it 1-1.

Juventus had a golden chance to finish the job and take the 3 points, but Bernardeschi wasted an empty net opportunity, as the ball graciously hit the post. The same fate had Bonnuci’s effort a couple of minutes later, as this time it flew wide.

The Serie A table champions dropped 2 points, but keep the lead due to Inter’s result against Parma.

Inter 2 x 2 Parma

A confident win over Dortmund for Champions League could be the boost for Inter to take all the 3 points and snatch the lead to Juventus. However, the opponent was Parma who, last weekend, destroyed Genoa with 5 goals.

Parma could have taken the lead early if it wasn’t for Handanovic spectacular save. The visitors were left to pay the wasted chance, as Inter broke the deadlock minutes later, with Candreva’s shot being deflected into the goal.

Nonetheless, Parma would get the equalizer and it would be by former Inter player Karamoh. The Ivorian winger scored his first Serie A goal of the season, but he refused to celebrate with respect for the club where he spent the 2017/18 season.

Karamoh would set the second goal for Parma, even before the break. The winger dribbled past Inter’s defense and put the ball into fellow Ivorian striker Gervinho. Inter was trailing 2-1 in the interval.

The ‘Nerazzurri’ leveled in the second period, with Lukaku finishing after a pass from Candreva. The goal was reviewed by VAR since it had been ruled out for offside on Candreva, but it was ultimately reinstated.

Inter had a golden chance to get back to Serie A lead and they blew it. They play this Tuesday again, against Brescia.

Atalanta 7 x 1 Udinese

Before this match, Udinese had one of the best defenses in the league, with 6 goals conceded in 8 games. Nobody would predict such a trainwreck, as they were demolished by Atalanta with 7 goals.

The Italian side had a demolition of their own as they fell on Tuesday against Manchester City 5×1. Still, they seem to be focusing their batteries for the national title, as they edged closer to the top 2 contenders.

Still, Udinese started the game with a goal and supporters might have been inclined to think they would surprise Atalanta. Okaka being the one with the finish, making his 3rd goal of the season.

Josep Ilicic leveled right after, with the VAR reviewing it and validating the position of the Slovenian.

Udinese nightmare would start around the half-hour, as Opoku made a late tackle on Ilicic inside the box. Besides the ref pointing at the penalty kick, it was his second yellow and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Muriel made no mistake and gave Atalanta the lead. Ilicic would double the advantage, with his second of the evening, taking Atalanta to the 15 min break leading 3-1. Then Muriel made it 4, inside 2 minutes of the second half, before Pasalic making it 5 shortly after.

A hattrick goal for Luis Muriel, from the penalty spot, and the 17-year-old substitute Traore finished the result.

Atalanta is now just 2 points away from Inter and 3 from Juventus and they have a very important match against Napoli tomorrow. If they win that game, it will be a statement that the Bergamo side might challenge for the title.

SPAL 1 x 1 Napoli

With the top 2 dropping points, Napoli was another team who could enjoy the momentum and get closer in their chasing run. However, they wasted yet another chance as they drew against SPAL.

It was the home side who had the first real chance of breaking the deadlock, as Petagna hit the crossbar following a free-kick. Despite that effort, it was Napoli who opened the score, with Milik scoring his 3rd goal in 2 games.

His 20 yard shot out of the box surprised SPAL’s keeper Berisha, who could have done better.

Almost immediately though, SPAL leveled through Kurtic, who found an open space inside the box to finish.

Napoli claimed for a penalty and the referee awarded it for handball. But, after the VAR review, it was denied, since the hand of SPAL’s player was close to the body.

SPAL still had a chance to win the game, but an incredible save off the line by David Ospina, kept the game 1-1. Napoli are 4th, with 17 points, and they will need to beat Atalanta tomorrow to claim 3rd.

Roma 2 x 1 AC Milan

Probably a few years ago, a game between Roma and AC Milan would headline this article. However, even if both teams are not enjoying stellar campaigns, with the ‘Rossoneri’ at the bottom of the table, their match was an entertaining one.

In the Olimpico, it was the keepers who were protagonists in the first half. First Pau Lopez, the Roma’s goalie, with a fine stop to Rafael Leao’s attempt, then Donnarumma, stopping Zaniolo’s shot outside the box.

Roma opened the score though, in the 38 minutes. Edin Dzeko, who was wearing a mask due to his recent surgery in the cheekbones, headed it in after a corner.

Milan redeemed itself with a goal by Theo Hernandez in the opening minutes of the second half, but they would waste it 3 minutes later.

Calabria, who had just come in for the place of Conti, made a backpass, who got intercepted by Dzeko. The ball eventually got into Zaniolo’s feet, who finished it with a lobbed shot.

With the 3 points, Roma climbs to 5th and claim a place into the top 4. Milan continues in the lower parts of the table and Stefano Pioli is not having the best start to his managerial reign.

Fiorentina 1 x 2 Lazio

Another clash between two historic clubs of Serie A saw Fiorentina host Lazio in Florence. The ‘Romans’ had just come from a 2-1 defeat in Glasgow, against Celtic and they probably would not like to see their rivals AS Roma get too distant.

Joaquin Correa scored the opener, rounding Dragowski after a pass from Immobile. Fiorentina would level the game instants later, with Chiesa finishing, following an assist from experienced Summer signing Franck Ribery.

Lazio would take until the 89 minutes to score the winner, as the usual protagonist stepped in. Ciro Immobile jumped for a late header, with Jordan Lukaku providing the cross.

The visitors could have doubled the lead in the last minute of extra time. Luca Ranieri defended the ball inside the box with his hand, got sent off, but Dragowski defended Caicedo’s shot.

Torino 1 x 1 Cagliari

Cagliari has been enjoying a very good season start, yet they wasted a chance to hold on into the 5th place. The team from Sardinia visited Torino but were held to a 1-1 draw.

The visitors’ stroke first, with Nahitan Nandez scoring his first goal for Cagliari. The Uruguayan was signed this Summer to Cagliari.

However, Simone Zaza’s second half goal would deny Cagliari the 3 points. The team has now dropped to 7th place.

Genoa 3 x 1 Brescia

Thiago Motta replaced Aurelio Andreazzoli in charge of Genoa, as the Italian coach got the sack after being thumped by Parma last weekend. A former Inter and Barcelona legend, Motta got his first senior role as a manager and the team gave positive impressions of improvement.

Nonetheless, it was Brescia who opened the score, with young Italian prodigy Tonali scoring a stunning curled free-kick, from a seemingly impossible angle.

Genoa was trailing, but in the second half things changed. Kouame header took some paint to the crossbar. The home team would get the leveler anyway, as Agudelo scored on his debut, with the young Colombian putting in a stunning finesse finish.

Kouame would then turn the game, as he scored with a bicycle kick and put Genoa ahead.

The goal that sealed the 3 points was scored by former Motta’s teammate and now Genoa’s captain Pandev. The North Macedonian international is incredibly the same age as the coach.

Genoa leaves the relegation places, trading places with Brescia.

Bologna 2 x 1 Sampdoria

Claudio Ranieri still seeks his first win as Sampdoria’s coach, after a draw in his debut and now a defeat against Bologna. Meanwhile, Mihaljovic’s team has not been very consistent, but they delivered against the bottom-placed team.

Dzemaili was close to open the score, but it would be postponed, as Ronaldo Vieira cleared the ball off the line. Gabbiadini was then close to giving one goal to Sampdoria, but the bad luck pursued, with the effort hitting the post.

Minutes after the second-period whistle, Bologna took charge, with Palacio finishing a brilliant counter-attack effort. Gabbiadini equaled the score, with a long-range shot from outside the box.

The winner would come for Bologna 10 minutes later, stealing any possible hopes for 1 point that Sampdoria had. Bani finished after a corner resulted in a loose ball in the box.

Bologna is now safely at the 10th place, while Sampdoria continues bottom.

Hellas Verona 0 x 1 Sassuolo

Verona were heavily favorites in their clash against Sassuolo, as the visitors came from a streak of 3 consecutive defeats. Still, they were held to a surprise single goal loss.

Sassuolo had two clear chances to open the score, both denied by Silvestri. First a shot by Boga, then a free kick taken by Berardi.

Silvestri would be unable to stop Đuričić’s second-half stunner, as the former Benfica player scored another banger this weekend, from outside the area.

Hellas was unlucky to finish the match without a goal, as their efforts mostly were stopped by Consigli or by the woodwork.

For Sassuolo this victory means they are now away from relegation places, in 14th place.

The Serie A schedule returns this Tuesday and Wednesday already, with a midweek matchday. Stay tuned!

About Jorge Costa 82 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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