Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 12: Napoli Soar as Milan Crumble

Squeezed in between two European midweeks, the Italian weekend delivered some breathtaking action from start to finish, with the big boys reaping contrasting results. While Napoli and Inter registered commanding wins, Juventus and Roma earned three points in the hard way. However, Milan and Lazio were on the wrong end of two shocking upsets. So let’s recap the thrilling Serie A action from Round 12 in our latest edition of Tops and Flops.

Top (Player): Victor Osimhen

On Halloween weekend, you can always expect the man behind the mask to go out and have a blast, and that is exactly what Victor Osimhen did in the weekend opener at the expense of the sorry Sassuolo.

The Nigerian has recently returned from an injury layoff, and after snatching the winner against Roma last weekend, he led the charge for the Partenopei with a hattrick against the Neroverdi, cementing himself as the undisputed top star in Serie A Round 12.

Top (Sidekick): Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

If Osimhen’s mask and leading role make him Calcio’s official Batman, then we can’t ask for a better Robin than Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The Georgian contributed in two assists and one spectacular goal. We just had to find a way to grant him his undoubtedly deserved mention.

Flop (Player): Matias Vecino

Perhaps it wasn’t a disastrous performance from the Uruguayan by any means, but he wasted two sitters in front goal for, and his side paid dearly for his shortcomings, particularly when Salernitana roared back in a stunning fashion to win 3-1.

One of the chances Vecino missed ensued at a time when the capital side was leading 1-0, so it would surely have given Maurizio Sarri’s team a healthy lead.

Top (Manager): Davide Nicola

Speaking of the Stadio Olimpico encounter, Lazio entered as the heavy favorites, having managed to maintain a clean sheet in their last six encounters.

Enter Davide Nicola and his hell-raising southern band.

The Salernitana coach managed to limit the dangers the Biancocelesti, while shattering their impressive defensive record by scoring thrice.

Flop (Manager): Stefano Pioli

Last week, Stefano Pioli was our top manager after making some bold decisions that were greatly rewarding.

This weekend, the Milan manager was at it again, making some controversial calls before and during the away fixture against Torino, including taking Rafael Leao off at halftime.

But this time around, his calls spectacularly backfired, with the Rossoneri looking like imposters rather than the true Italian champions.

Even when the Granata awarded them a goal following a comical blunder at the back, Pioli’s men lacked the belief and determination to snatch an equalizer.

Regardless, the man earned his contract renewal, and his merit remains unquestionable.

Top (Veteran): Antonio Candreva

At the age of 35, Antonio Candreva still has it. The winger was the catalyst of Salernitana’s comeback against his former side Lazio, scoring a stunning lob himself, before creating Federico Fazio’s goal with one of his menacing crosses.

Top (Youngster): Cristian Volpato

Cristian Volpato is almost half of Candreva’s age, but he too enjoyed a memorable  cameo against Verona when José Mourinho introduced him in the second half.

When Roma were desperate for a winner late in the match, the teenager directed a clinical shot toward the bottom corner. He then provided the assist for Stephan El-Shaarawy who killed any hope of a Gialloblu resurgence with a third Roman goal.

Flop (Team): Sampdoria

The return of Dejan Stankovic to the Giuseppe Meazza made for a nostalgic moment, but his Sampdoria remain the most underachieving club in Serie A, and their insipid outing against Inter in Round 12 is another sign that the team is heading straight towards relegation, unless their gameplay drastically improves after the restart.

Top (Team): Napoli

Four goals, a dominant performance from start to finish coupled with an entertaining style of football.

Can’t ask for more.

Top to Flop: Pawel Dawidowicz

While the categories are split between tops and flops, the Polish defender managed to shift from one section to another in the space of nine minutes.

The Verona man broke the deadlock for his side at the Bentegodi, but a rash challenge on Nicolò Zaniolo – who quite expectedly made the most out it – resulted in his dismissal, which subsequently led to his team’s defeat.

Top (Goalkeeper): Pietro Terracciano

While Fiorentina were always expected to beat Spezia, the result was far from a foregone conclusion based on the action on the pitch.

In fact, the Viola wouldn’t have returned to Florence with the three points if it wasn’t for the heroics of their goalkeeper.

Pietro Terraciano had a chip on his shoulder with his former Fiorentina teammate/challenger Bartłomiej Drągowski standing on the opposite end.

At the end of the day, the Italian proved that the Tuscans were right to entrust him with a permanent starting role.

Top (Goal): Joaquin Correa

On Round 12, Inter enjoyed an open route against the struggling Sampdoria, and Joaquin Correa depicted the whole affair when he ran straight toward the opposition defenses before scoring a scorcher against his former club.

The feeble Blucerchiati surely made it easier for the Argentine, but the magnificent run and strike remains a sight to behold.

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