NBA basketball legend Kobe Bryant died today at 41 in a helicopter crash. The whole world of sport plummeted in shock as the news spread. On top of being one of the most dominant athletes in the past 20 years, Kobe was a true calcio lover and a Milan supporter. He also had a deep connection with Italy, where he spent part of his childhood.
A stellar Atalanta delivered Torino the worst home humiliation in their history. Gian Piero Gasperini’s Bergamaschi were unstoppable on Saturday, led by Josep Ilicic in full berserk mode. The Slovenian tallied three goals, including a formidable one scored from the midfield line. Additional goals by Gosens, Zapata, and a double by Muriel set the score at 7-0.
Milan won 1-0 in at the Mario Rigamonti Stadium in Brescia on Friday to extend their winning streak to three games and continue their climb back up the Serie A table. However, it took a string of saves by goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma and Ante Rebic’s third goal in a row to pull the Rossoneri’s chestnuts out of the fire in a game which the Rondinelle played better.
Perhaps Azzurri’s coach Roberto Mancini should find a way to freeze down Ciro Immobile until June to preserve his astounding state of shape and then unfreeze him just before the Euro 2020. The Nazionale and Lazio’s cannoniere demolished Sampdoria with a hat-trick to lead his side to their 11th consecutive league victory on Saturday.
Juventus are the Serie A Winter Champions as they beat Roma 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico showdown on Sunday thanks to a double lead taken early in the game with a brutal one-two. The match was, however, stained by young starlet Nicoló Zaniolo’s injury, as the Azzurri sensation left the pitch in the 34th minute with a torn right-knee cruciate ligament. His season is likely over.
Inter genuinely got a break on Saturday night against an awesome Atalanta side. The Nerazzurri snatched one point only and, now sitting at 46 in the table, risk being overtaken by Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus for the ephemeral title of Winter Champions. Atalanta came close to grab the three points and were only stopped by Samir Handanovic, who saved a late penalty.
Perhaps Stefano Pioli has found the magic formula. His brand-new attacking couple made of Rafael Leao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Milan return to victory after three games without goals as the Rossoneri made full score in Cagliari on Saturday. Ibra scored his goal number 57 in red-and-black after Rafael Leao, with a bit of luck, had put Milan in the driving seat.
A goalless draw at San Siro, with Sampdoria snatching an important away point in view of their battle to remain in Serie A. Milan were held onto a nil-nil home tie for the second time in a row, after Sassuolo had ruined their 120th birthday before Christmas. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sent in by Stefano Pioli in the second half, didn’t help the Rossoneri.
Verona began the new year by winning 2-0 in Ferrara against SPAL in a key relegation battle. Goals by Giampaolo Pazzini and Mariusz Stepinski put the Scaligeri ahead of the Biancazzurri, which played with one man less for 55 minutes after Nenad Tomovic was sent off. Ivan Juric’s side moved to 22 points in the table with one match still to play.
A sparkling, ruthless Lazio side forced Juventus to suffer their first seasonal league loss as they prevailed 3-1 in a Stadio Olimpico showdown on Saturday night. Goals by Luiz Felipe, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Felipe Caicedo cemented the Biancocelesti’s third place in the table, while Maurizio Sarri’s squad missed a chance to regain the top spot in the league.
Sassuolo’s first point ever at the Allianz Stadium has the face of 18-year-old goalkeeper Stefano Turati. His brilliant debut, which helped Roberto De Zerbi’s side to preserve a precious 2-2 tie against Juventus, reminded the one made by Gianluigi Buffon in 1995. Today at 41, Buffon was still playing, but a blunder of his forced the Bianconeri to surrended the Serie A top spot to Inter.
A 1-1 stalemate didn’t heal either contender’s wounds as Milan and Napoli split the ante in the match clou of Serie A Round 13. Saturday’s clash at the San Siro Stadium confirmed that both Stefano Pioli and Carlo Ancelotti have still much to work on, at the end of a game where Giacomo Bonaventura answered to Hirving Lozano’s opener in the space of five minutes.