The saddest of Serie A rounds, the one cancelled one month ago after the shocking passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, was recovered between Tuesday and Wednesday. Seven matches out of ten still needed to be played. The program featured a long-awaited Derby di Milano, but the stracittadina didn’t live up to expectations and ended with no goals. Therefore, the stage was stolen by Andrea Belotti and his three goals, which came at the end of a tormented season.
The Serie A amusement park reopened, and saw Juventus promptly jumping back to +4 over Napoli, as the Neapolitans were held to a tie by Sassuolo. The Bianconeri, on the other hand, overcame Milan 3-1 in the partitissima of the weekend. The thrilling battle for the top scorer title between Ciro Immobile and Mauro Icardi continued, with both bombers scoring twice to lead respectively Lazio and Inter to winning their games, and reducing their distance versus third-placed Roma.
If Juventus end up extending their Scudetto streak to seven titles, Massimiliano Allegri and his boys will remember those minutes when they managed to switch the momentum of last night's match with Milan as one of those moments that made the difference. With a wheezing Napoli being held onto a 1-1 draw by Sassuolo earlier in the afternoon, the Old Lady widened again their gap versus them after beating the Rossoneri 3-1.
The fate of Serie A 2017-18 may very well have changed on Saturday night, as Roma took a shocking 4-2 away win against capolista Napoli, in what was arguably the most exciting match seen this season. A Lorenzo Insigne in berserk mode was not enough for the Azzurri to catch their 11th win in a row, Maurizio Sarri’s squad crashing into “one of those nights” for Edin Dzeko, and frustrated by the saves of Alisson.
The irony of spending 240 million Euro in the Summer market, only to realize that the best breakouts in your season are two players raised within your youth team. The essence of Milan’s rollercoaster season is all in the goals that Patrick Cutrone and Davide Calabria put into Roma’s net, to push the Rossoneri further in their chase to Europe. Eusebio Di Francesco’s side fell from the third to the fifth position of Serie A within one week.
The main event of Serie A Round 26 takes place on Sunday night at the Stadio Olimpico, where Roma and Milan will stage a new act of a classic duel with much at stake. Inter may take advantage of that, as they play Benevento at home. The title battle between Napoli and Juventus continues, but the match not to be missed this week is Crotone-SPAL: Those who win, take a huge step towards their permanence in Serie A.
While other major European competitions have already found a clear leader, Italian Serie A continues to offer a thrilling distance duel between Napoli and Juventus. As both Azzurri and Bianconeri passed their weekly test with a single goal, Roma stole the spotlight in Round 25 with a 0-2 win in Udine that enabled them to catch the third spot behind the leading duo. Inter left Genoa in tears, suffering a sounding setback and plummeting out of the Champions League zone.
The second round of this weekend’s city confrontation between Milano and Genova saw the Lombard side prevailing this time. Milan beat Sampdoria with a lone goal by Giacomo Bonaventura to reach them in the 6th spot of Serie A at 41 points. Gennaro Gattuso’s band caught their fifth win in the last six matches, whereas Marco Giampaolo’s Bluecerchiati were unexpectedly remissive, unable to pose any threat to the Rossoneri.
Odds look in favor of Napoli this weekend, with the Partenopei facing SPAL at home tomorrow, after “having relieved themselves" of the Europa League burden by losing 1-3 to RB Leipzig. On the other hand, the weekly Serie A task is much tougher for Juventus, as the Bianconeri must battle city rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole - and these Granata are a different animal than the one they trashed a few months ago.
If you ask any Milan supporter which was the key moment in their victorious 1998-99 season, they will probably mention that goal propitiated by Maurizio Ganz in the 95th minute of a home match against Sampdoria. On May 2, 1999, Milan received the Blucerchiati on the path of their desperate chase to Serie A leader Lazio - which had a one-point margin over the Rossoneri, with four matches left to play.
Milan come back to Paolo Mazza Stadium for the first time in 37 years tomorrow to face SPAL. It was April 12, 1981, when the Rossoneri last visited what was then known as Stadio Comunale of Ferrara. That match went down to history as it featured one of the most traumatic events for the home Biancazzurri: The injury occurred to Franco Ogliari, consequence of a horrific tackle by Franco Baresi.
Milan’s chase to the top positions came to a halt in Udine yesterday, as the Rossoneri were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw by Massimo Oddo’s troops. An early masterpiece goal by Suso was not enough for Gennaro Gattuso to collect a fourth win in a row. Udinese took advantage of Davide Calabria’s expulsion and reached an equaliser when a shot by Kevin Lasagna was deflected by Gianluigi Donnarumma into his own goal.