Serie A Sunday Action Recap: Monza Cannot Be Stopped

Another exciting Serie A weekend is now behind us, and it’s time to take a look at everything that happened on Sunday. Napoli and Roma lived up to their status as pre-match favorites, while Udinese and Atalanta shared the spoils in an eye-catching draw. 

Here is what the three remaining Sunday fixtures in Serie A had to offer. 

Lukic Rescues Late Draw for Torino

Sunday’s Serie A action kicked off with an enthralling 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino as Torino battled back to avoid defeat against Empoli. 

Without head coach Ivan Juric, who was out due to suspension, Torino headed into proceedings desperate to arrest an underwhelming three-game losing league streak.

Though a share of the spoils against fellow bottom-half strugglers on home turf was not what the Granata had in mind before the kick-off, they had to settle for a point. 

Following a goalless first half, which saw Antonio Sanabria’s straight red downgraded to a yellow thanks to VAR, Empoli struck first through veteran Serie A campaigner Mattia Destro. 

Despite failing to register a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, the Azzurri took the lead as the halftime substitute went for spectacular, slotting home a sensational bicycle kick from the edge of the box. 

Nikola Vlasic came close to drawing Torino level midway through the second half, yet his close-range header handed Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario no headache. 

However, when it seemed the visitors could waltz away with all three points, the Granata captain Sasa Lukic restored parity with an opportune ricochet in the 90th minute.

While a point helped Torino retain their place in mid-table, Empoli’s lead on 18th-placed Hellas Verona now stands at three, meaning there’s another season-long fight against the drop awaiting Paolo Zanetti’s men.

Monza Ease Past Spezia as Palladino Makes Serie A History

High-flying Monza cruised past out-of-sorts Spezia on Sunday afternoon, pulling off a convincing 2-0 triumph at the Stadio Brianteo to send home fans into rapture. 

Goals on either side of halftime handed new boss Raffaele Palladino a 100% Serie A start, making it three victories on the trot following Giovanni Stroppa’s sacking. 

Despite making his first foray into professional management, Palladino has revived a stuttering Monza side, guiding them far away from the drop zone en route to setting an unprecedented feat.

The 38-year-old has become the first-ever manager to win his first three Serie A matches with the newcomers, throwing his Spezia counterpart Luca Gotti’s future into doubt. 

A brace of victories over Juventus and Sampdoria was no fluke, as Carlos Augusto opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a composed finish from inside the box to secure a 1-0 halftime lead.

Monza picked up where they left off, with Arsenal loanee Pablo Mari turning home a delightful corner-kick delivery from Andrea Barberis just after the hour mark.

It took the Biancorossi six winless Serie A matches before they claimed their first-ever top-flight victory against Juventus on matchday seven, but they’re now making a case in a mid-table race. 

Meanwhile, Spezia’s sub-par nine-game start to the season (W2, D2, L5) leaves them only three points clear of the relegation zone, with Gotti growing increasingly unpopular amongst the Aquilotti faithful.

Dia Grabs It at the Death for Salernitana

Salernitana’s five-match winless Serie A streak ended on Sunday as Boulaye Dia notched up a last-gasp winner to sink lowly Verona 2-1 at the Stadio Arechi. 

After suffering back-to-back defeats against Lecce and Sassuolo, the Granata entered this round in desperate need of points to avoid nullifying their decent Serie A start. 

Who better than relegation-threatened Verona to help Davide Nicola’s team cope with the pressure and overcome an existing crisis right in front of the home support? 

Owners of a woeful three-fixture losing league run, the Gialloblu had high hopes for this encounter as former Salernitana talisman Milan Djuric returned to Arechi as a foe. 

However, it wasn’t a pleasant welcome for the Bosnian striker, who started the game on the bench, as the hosts seized control of the score through Krzysztof Piatek in the 18th minute.

The Pole produced a world-class finish out of thin air to give Salernitana a narrow halftime lead after combining well with his attacking partner Federico Bonazzoli. 

Yet Verona bounced back 11 minutes into the second half as Fabio Depaoli took full advantage of the home side’s lackadaisical defending to level the score with the easiest of headers from point-blank range. 

Salernitana’s super-sub Dia broke the hearts of the visiting supporters in the dying second by hammering home a sublime first-time effort from the edge of the penalty area to win the game for Salernitana.