Serie A Sunday Action Recap: World Cup Comes to Roma Rescue

Serie A will take a five-week break to accommodate the Qatar World Cup, but the final day of the pre-tournament season didn’t flatter to deceive. Big guns, including Milan, Inter, and Juventus all picked up three points, but we’ll have a look at the other matches that took place on Sunday.

Matic Rescues a Point for Roma at the Death

Roma and Torino shared the spoils in an enthralling 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico in their final Serie A fixture ahead of the World Cup break. 

It seems Jose Mourinho’s side may benefit from the five-week hiatus from top-flight football as Sunday’s stalemate in Rome stretched their winless Serie A run to three games (D2, L1).

Paulo Dybala’s long-term injury has crippled Roma’s cutting edge in the front third, leading to a noticeable downturn in form, with the Giallorossi falling three points behind the top-four race. 

Yesterday’s encounter against perennial mid-table tenants Torino was a prime opportunity for last season’s Europa Conference League winners to get back to winning ways.

However, another uneventful display from Mourinho’s side allowed Ivan Juric’s men to pick up a second-half lead through Karol Linetty, who turned home Wilfried Singo’s cross to put the visitors in front. 

Roma had a glorious opportunity to restore parity in the first minute of stoppage time, yet second-half substitute Andrea Belotti missed from the spot. 

When it looked like Torino may walk away with three points, Mourinho’s pupil Nemanja Matic came up huge to save his team from another embarrassment and secure another Serie A draw.

Serie A Debutants Run Riot Against Salernitana

Serie A debutants Monza swept Salernitana aside with an overwhelming 3-0 victory at the Stadio Brianteo, steering further off the drop zone.

Keen to bounce back from a heartbreaking 1-0 midweek defeat at Lazio, Raffaele Palladino’s men hit the ground running from the get-go.

It took them a while to breach Salernitana’s porous defense, but Carlos Augusto made the breakthrough 24 minutes into the match with a superb finish. 

After delivering a stunning backheel pass in the build-up to Monza’s opener, Dany Mota embraced the starring role ten minutes before halftime, finishing off Augusto’s cross to double the home team’s lead.

Despite making three changes at the break in a desperate attempt to turn the game on its head, Salernitana boss Davide Nicola had to watch his side run over by Monza.

The visitors came flying out of the traps in the second half, creating a handful of decent opportunities to get back into the game but failed to capitalize on any of them.

Monza had no mercy, on the other hand, brutally punishing Salernitana’s wasted chances as captain Matteo Pessina slotted home a penalty in the 76th minute to kill the match off.

While Palladino’s men extended their lead on 18th-placed Cremonese to nine points, Salernitana remain stuck in the lower reaches but safe from the relegation battle. 

Verona Seemingly Heading Towards Relegation

Basement boys Hellas Verona’s tooth-and-nail fight for Serie A survival took another heat on Sunday as fellow relegation strugglers Spezia came from behind to claim a 2-1 win at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. 

Heading into this round on the club-record worst eight-game losing league streak, Salvatore Bocchetti’s men hoped to turn their fortunes around on the eve of the World Cup break.

Simone Verdi propelled the Gialloblu to a much-needed lead on the half-hour mark, giving the Bentegodi faithful a false hope that things could improve before they got worse.

Despite harboring a halftime lead, Verona returned to their old habits, letting Spezia take control of the proceedings, which led to another frustrating result.

Talismanic striker M’Bala Nzola pulled one back for the visitors in the opening stages of the second half before completing the turnaround with a fine header midway through the second period. 

While Spezia broke their winless duck on the road this season, Verona’s nightmarish Serie A campaign continues as they enter the break a whopping eight points adrift of safety.