Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 27: Chaos in the Capital, Roma Flying High

During the first half of the season, Juventus coach Massimiliano vigorously insisted that his team wanted nothing to do with the Scudetto race. Some accused him of being unambitious, while others swore that it was only part of the mind games. Whatever the case may be, Max was ultimately proven correct, and sadly for Calcio fans, we’ve been deprived of any sort of a title race (not even a remote one) for the second year in a row. But despite Inter’s ever-growing gap on top of the table, there are still several intriguing stories to discuss from a genuinely chaotic weekend that only Italian football can produce. So let’s recap the action while identifying the Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 27.

Top (Player): Paulo Dybala

For the second weekend in a row, Paulo Dybala gets the nod as the best individual performer of the weekend. When La Joya is in good physical condition, he’s truly a joy to watch for Roma fans and foes alike.

On Saturday, the Argentine put Monza to the sword with a phenomenal display. He set up Romelu Lukaku’s goal with a clever assist before stealing the limelight in the second half with an astonishing freekick that beat the formidable Michele Di Gregorio.

Let’s just hope that the injury bug doesn’t deprive us of the 30-year-old anytime soon.

Flop (Player): Matheus Henrique

To be fair, the entire Sassuolo team was dreadful at the Bentegodi. But sometimes, all it takes is one moment of madness for a player to prevail as the ultimate culprit.

Unfortunately, this was the case for Matheus Henrique who allowed his opponents to dispossess him rather easily while in a dangerous position, which culminated in Verona’s winner.

The Brazilian’s howler cost the Neroverdi an agonizing defeat in a direct relegation showdown under the guidance of newly-appointed manager Davide Ballardini.

Top (Manager): Marco Baroni

We remain in the same match, as the final result offers us the chance to show some love to Marco Baroni, a manager who’s hardly receiving the credit he deserves.

Amid the club’s financial and legal troubles, Verona’s squad was decimated in January through a mass exodus of key players. At that point, fans and pundits alike deemed the Gialloblu as Serie A goners.

Yet, Baroni is somehow managing to keep the team afloat while relying on a combination of substitute players who hardly featured during the first half of the season, and some unsung names who arrived in January and managed to assimilate themselves rather swiftly.

All in all, the secret behind this Verona side is its fighting spirit, which is something that the tactician managed to instill despite the daunting challenges he’s facing.

Flop (Manager): Massimiliano Allegri

To be fair, Juventus enjoyed one of their finest outings despite their 1-2 defeat in Napoli. The Bianconeri could have emerged victorious had Dusan Vlahovic and company converted their many chances to goals. Massimiliano Allegri is faultless in this regard.

So why is the Livorno native on the unceremonious list?

Simply put, the 56-year-old gets the nod for the fashion in which he handled the Joseph Nonge situation.

Allegri introduced the inexperienced teenager in the 76th minute for his second Serie A appearance. Sadly, for the Belgian, he committed a needless challenge on Victor Osimhen that resulted in Napoli’s winner.

Afterwards, the Juventus boss decided to haul him off just 15 minutes after he entered the pitch.

This is an episode that will surely haunt the young midfielder for some time, and partially due to Allegri’s mishandling.

Top (Team): Roma

We mentioned Dybala as the best Serie A player in Round 27, and perhaps Daniele De Rossi deserved some credit for the solid job conducted since taking charge of the club.

Nevertheless, the entire squad deserves major praise for the incredible display at the U-Power Stadium, pummeling their hosts Monza by four goals to one.

Like Dybala, Romelu Lukaku had a goal and an assist to his name, while Lorenzo Pellegrini is reminding the world why he’s regarded as one of the finest midfielders in Serie A.

Whether it’s the beginning of something special or a mere adrenaline rush that followed a managerial change, only time will tell.

Flop (Team): Sassuolo

Curiously, all eight clubs embroiled in the Serie A relegation dogfight were pitted against each other in four direct clashes in Round 27.

By the end of the week, Sassuolo were arguably the biggest losers, as they find themselves lying in the 19th position following their defeat at Verona.

Earlier in the week, Ballardini was appointed as a replacement for Alessio Dionisi, but not even a change in the dugout could do the trick for the once-brilliant Emilian side which has become almost unrecognizable this term.

Flop: Domenico Berardi’s Luck

Speaking of Sassuolo’s woes, their miserable week was rounded off by an injury to their main talisman Demonico Berardi who was carried off the pitch while in agony.

The Euro 2020 winner just can’t catch a break this season, as he had just returned from an injury that had kept him out of action for several weeks.

If the winger remains out for a considerable period, it could spell doom for Sassuolo who have only managed to earn a single this season in the absence of their all-time best goalscorer.

Top (Goalkeeper): Simone Scuffet

We didn’t have too many astonishing displays between the sticks this weekend, but Cagliari picked their first away win of the season by beating Empoli in a crucial clash.

While Jakub Jankto delivered the winner, the Isolani also owe it to Simone Scuffet who put a clinic between the posts.

Top (Match): Napoli vs Juventus

This match truly embodied what a top clash between two old rivals should be like. Both sides took risks and had their chances in front of goal, but one was slightly luckier than the other.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia enchanted the Maradona crowds with a deflected volley that put the Italian champions up front. Nevertheless, Federico Chiesa replied with a clinical low drive in the 81st minute.

Yet, there was one last twist in the tale in the shape of a poorly-taken spot-kick from Victor Osimhen that still found its way to the net thanks to Giacomo Raspadori who was first to react following Wojciech Szczesny’s save, vigorously storming into the box to latch on the rebound.

The former Sassuolo man has now cemented himself as the Old Lady’s ultimate bogeyman thanks to a second late winner in as many seasons.

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Flop (Match): Torino vs Fiorentina

Even with a numerical advantage for an entire half, Fiorentina still couldn’t put one past Torino goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, thus ending the encounter in a stalemate.

This one would have been completely forgettable if it wasn’t for the bizarre incident that ensued on the touchline.

Top (Moment): Juric and Italiano Hug it Out

Torino coach Ivan Juric and his Fiorentina counterpart Vicenzo Italiano began their meeting with a warm embrace before kickoff.

The meeting also ended with a hug during the post-match interviews, much to the delight of the viewers at home.

However, it was the notorious back-and-forth jabs that ensued in between the two embraces that made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with Juric earning his marching orders for threatening to cut his colleagues’ throat, before jumping over the fence to join the Granata fans in attendance for the final minutes of the encounter.

Yet another Serie A exclusive!

Top (Drama): Lazio vs Milan

Has there ever been an image that depicts an entire match of football more than the one above with referee Marco Di Bello raising the yellow card in Christian Pulisic’s face in one hand while simultaneously showing Mateo Guendouzi the red?

This was Friday’s night encounter in a nutshell, a match that failed to live up to expectations on a technical level but would serve as a useful guide for how Not to officiate a major Serie A clash.

We always avoid getting into never-ending Moviola discussions and judging refereeing performances, so let’s not dwell too much on Di Bello’s poor display, but you just don’t often see a team getting decimated to eight men after receiving three red cards, not to mention the overall nine yellows.

This was Serie A calamity at its finest.

Top (Super-Sub): Noah Okafor

But amidst the chaos, Noah Okafor emerged from the dust to consolidate his role as Stefano Pioli’s ultimate super-sub with yet another late winner.

The young Swiss is struggling for playing time in his first season at Milan, but if we can maintain his cool and continue to sharpen his weapons, a bright future could be awaiting him at San Siro.

Flop (Not-So-Super-Sub): Samuele Ricci

On the other hand, Samuele Ricci replaced his injured Torino teammate Ivan Ilic in the first half only to receive a red card just before halftime after two successive bookings, the first for elbowing an opponent, and the second for dissent.

Good luck trying to explain yourself to Juric!

Top (Goal): Hassane Kamara

For his first goal in Serie A, Udinese wingback Hassane Kamara casually went for a jaw-dropping bicycle kick against Salernitana.

Instead of trying to describe just how brilliant it was, we’ll just drop the video below.

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