Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 17: Milan and Inter Fumble it Late

In a weekend that began with tragedy following the passing of the legendary Gianluca Vialli, football was still able to produce joy for the fans, or perhaps despair – based on where you stand. This matchday, Napoli managed to put their campaign back on track, while Juventus extended their winning streak. However, things didn’t go according to plan for the other Scudetto hopefuls. So let’s have a look at the Tops and Flops from a thrilling and dramatic Serie A Round 17.

Top (Player): Victor Osimhen

After starting their year with a defeat at the Giuseppe Meazza, Napoli’s campaign risked going off the rails with another setback on the road. So when Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Audero denied Matteo Politano from the spot early in the match, a feeling of doubt began to creep through Partenopei supporters.

Luckily for the southerners, they possess the man who may arguably be the most explosive striker in Serie A. Victor Osimhen took matter in his own hands by dropping deep to initiate the play before storming into the box to meet Mario Rui’s cross and put his side in the lead. The Nigerian then left Bram Nytinck in his wake, forcing Tomas Rincon to commit a nasty challenge and receive his marching orders, which basically sealed Samp’s fate.

Top (Player): Darko Lazovic

Here’s another man who came to his team’s rescue and equally merits some praise. After all, this article isn’t solely dedicated to the clubs who stand on top of the table, as those who lie on bottom deserve some love as well.

The Serbian has been plying his trade in Serie A for years, but is often overlooked, so the least we can do is celebrate his brace in Round 17 which secured Verona’s first win since early-September, even though it came at the expense of the humble Cremonese.

Top (Manager): Massimiliano Allegri

If Lazovic had been disregarded, then here’s a man who was vastly chastised during the earlier stretch of the campaign, albeit deservedly at times.

In a strange twist of events, Juventus now suddenly sit joint-second in the Serie A standings after extending their winning streak to eight wins in a row with a home victory over Udinese in Round 17.

Now surely it wasn’t the most formidable performance form Massimiliano Allegri’s men, nor it was intended to be, but the manager has been preaching Calma for ages, and guess what? It worked!

With a calm and collected approach, the Bianconeri have been maintain their composure throughout the 90+ minutes, while knowing that they can always find a winner at the death.

It also helps to have guys like Federico Chiesa and World Champions Leandro Paredes coming off the bench much to your opponent’s dismay.

Flop (Manager): Stefano Pioli

In the big clash of the weekend, Milan hosted Roma at the San Siro. For the majority of the evening, the Rossoneri looked superior to their opponents, taking the lead in the first half and running little risk. So when Tommaso Pobega doubled the hosts’ lead, we all though that the win was already wrapped.

But man did Stefano Pioli ruin it for his team with his misjudgment. Every substitution he made was either premature, defensive or both, handing the initiation to his opponents and almost willingly inviting them to harry his areas, and surely the Giallorossi wouldn’t decline the generous offer.

So credit must go to Roma who pulled off a late comeback and to earn a precious away point, but for Milan, this has to be considered a major missed opportunity, and a large chunk of the blame must be directed towards the man on the dugout.

Top (Team): Monza

This is where we usually give a tip of the hat for a team that had actually won, and more often than not with an emphatic fashion. But exceptionally, a draw will do this time.

On Saturday, Inter took the lead twice, but Monza answered on the both occasions, including an added-time equalizer (courtesy of Denzel Dumfries who unluckily scored in his own net).

However, it was what ensued following the late equalizer that earned the Biancorossi the recognition. Most of us expected them to drop back and defend their solitary point with eleven men at the back until the final whistle, but on the contrary, they astonishingly surged forward looking for a winner, pegging the Nerazzurri back to their own areas.


Flop (Team): Lazio

So as we mentioned above, a number of the Serie A big boys couldn’t maintain the lead in Round 17, and this was the case for Lazio who wasted a comfortable two-goal cushion on their own turf, allowing Empoli to revolt in the dying minutes and grab a draw.

This is simply terrible outcome for Maurizio Sarri’s men who have now lost five points after taking the lead in their first two outings in 2023.

Top (Fans): Sampdoria

From the very start of their match against Napoli, it just felt that fate was denying Sampdoria, with almost every episode going in the southerners’ favor: two penalty kicks and a red card.

Yet, the Blucerchiati faithful kept cheering and singing throughout the course of the match, while the players put up a real fight, although they were always destined to come out empty-handed.

The Ligurians were hoping to honor the memories of their late heroes Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli with a good result, but the courageous performance and raucous atmosphere at the Luigi Ferraris served well enough.

Flop: Two-Goal Lead

Now some might suggest that Inter should have “killed off” their encounter against Monza by adding another goal to make it 3-1, but then again, their opponents might have roared back all the same, because apparently, late comebacks draws were predestined this weekend, and even a two-goal lead is somewhat overrated.

Just ask Milan and Lazio for confirmation.

Top (Goalkeeper): Bartlomiej Dragowski

The last time we saw Bart Dragoswki, he left the pitch in great agony after suffering a grueling injury just before the World Cup which eventually cost him a spot in Poland’s squad.

Luckily for the goalkeeper, the extent of the knock wasn’t as terrible as originally feared, so he made his return to action with a superb display that preserved the deadlock between Spezia and Lecce.

While the southerners had the lion’s shares of the big chances, it was the Pole who ensured that the Aquilotti didn’t leave the pitch empty-handed in this potential relegation dogfight, by pulling off a host of fantastic saves.

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