While the much-anticipated showdown between Milan and Juventus arguably fell short of expectations, Serie A Round 9 still had its moments. With the exception of the Rossoneri, the big boys managed to come away with all three points, either by gaining labored victories or through comfortable routings. So let’s recap the most interesting events and moments from the Italian weekend by recognizing the best and worst performances in this latest edition of the Serie A Rops and Flops.
Top (Player): Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Following a somewhat lukewarm start to the campaign, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is slowly but surely regaining his best form, the one that earned him the MVP credentials last season.
While many expected Napoli to struggle without the injured Victor Osimhen, perhaps the Nigerian’s absence was the catalyst that triggered the Georgian who decided to step up to the plate and carry the team on his back.
After tying the knot with his new bride during the international break, the 22-year-old celebrated the grand occasion why leading the Partenopei towards an away victory over Verona while scoring a personal brace.
On both occasions, Gialloblu defenders couldn’t grab a hold on Kvara who utilized his brilliant skills to create himself a scoring angle and slot the ball past Lorenzo Montipo.
Flop (Player): Malick Thiaw
In the big showdown at San Siro, Moise Kean was on the receiving end of some rough treatment courtesy of Malick Thiaw. Nevertheless, the Juventus striker eventually used his trickery to skip past the German defender who decided to drag him down rather than granting him passage to Antonio Mirante’s goal.
In hindsight, this proved to be the wrong call from the young centre-back, as he left his team with a man down for 50+ minutes, which ultimately proved to be the decisive factor that tipped the scale in the Old Lady’s favor.
Committing such offense in the first half is scarcely a good call under any circumstances, let alone when the score is tied.
Top (Coach): Raffaele Palladino
Rarely do we have a manager who ended up on the losing side at the final whistle land in the Top category. Nevertheless, the tactical work conducted by Raffaele Palladino after Monza were reduced to 10 men was arguably the most impressive thing we’ve seen throughout Serie A Round 9.
Danilo D’Ambrosio was the main culprit in the defeat against Roma. The defender collected two yellow cards in Sunday’s early kick-off, something you wouldn’t quite expect from the vastly experienced veteran.
Nevertheless, Palladino introduced some changes, including the incredibly-talented Samuele Vignato who was causing havoc in the Roman areas and almost guided his team towards the unlikeliest of wins.
Nevertheless, Stephan El-Shaarawy came off the bench to rescue the capital side and save José Mourinho the blushes, but without taking anything away from Monza and their courageous young coach.
Flop (Coach): Alessio Dionisi
After beating Juventus and Inter in the space of four days, the expectations skyrocketed at the Mapei Stadium. Yet, Sassuolo have been dropping points ever since, and their most recent defeat came at the hands of Lazio who produced a dominant show and could have registered a much bigger result than 2-0.
Now surely Ruan’s blunders didn’t help Alessio Dionisi’s case, but the manager insists on playing with four attacking players, leaving his defense exposed. Let’s see if he’ll introduce some tweaks next weekend.
Top (Team): Napoli
We already dwelled on Kvaratskhelia’s heroics above, but Napoli as a whole put up a masterclass showing at the Bentegodi Stadium, with the only gaffe at the back resulting in a consolation goal for Verona.
Although he didn’t score, Giacomo Raspadori produced a lovely showing while replacing Osimhen upfront. For his part, Matteo Politano came away with a goal and a couple of assists for his Georgian teammate. And let’s not forget about Stanislav Lobotka who produced a stellar show in midfield.
That’s more like it from the reigning defending Italian champions.
Flop (Team): Torino
Following a positive start to the match, Torino simply ran out of steam in the second half against Inter. And once they conceded the opener, they never had the drive to try and drag themselves back to the match, instead, they simply succumbed to their fate and conceded another two goals.
These performances certainly don’t please the Granata supporters who held their hopes high at the start of the season, but are now losing faith with every uninspiring showing from Ivan Juric’s men.
Top (Goalkeeper): Rui Patricio
When Roma had the numerical advantage over Monza, Rui Patricio probably didn’t expect his services to be called up in the second half. Yet, the Portuguese had to produce two or three fabulous saves to earn a clean sheet.
Finally, a positive Round 9 outing from the Portuguese veteran who started his Serie A campaign on a relatively negative note.
Top (Third-Choice Goalkeeper): Antonio Mirante
Instead of picking a Flop custodian, let’s celebrate Antonio Mirante who has a strong claim for being the best third-choice goalkeeper in Serie A after a series of impressive saves against Juventus in Round 9.
The 40-year-old only conceded from a wickedly deflected shot. But otherwise, he was easily the best performer for Milan.
Flop (Match): Milan vs Juventus
In the introduction, we mentioned how this clash was below the expectations, after all, this was the most anticipated clash in the weekend. But perhaps this one panned out exactly how Massimiliano Allegri wanted it to, as his side adopted a low stance and tried to cause havoc on counter-attacks, one of which resulted in Thiaw’s red card.
So while the Juventus boss may have been pleased with the outcome (more on him later), this certainly wasn’t a great advertisement for Italian football.
Top (Match): Salernitana vs Cagliari
While Milan and Juventus were embroiled in a forgettable affair, Salernitana and Cagliari put the two Serie A giants to shame by producing an encounter that went all the way to the wire.
Although the score was goalless before the 78th minute, the last stretch was both glorious and chaotic, with the Sardinians taking the lead on two occasions, and Boulaye Dia equalizing twice to earn a point for Filippo Inzaghi on his return to the dugout.
Top (Coincidence): Manuel Locatelli
So Manuel Locatelli scored the winner for Juventus against Milan exactly seven years after scoring the winner for Milan against Juventus at the same stadium (also in the same Serie A Round) and almost in the same minute. And guess what, Both encounters ended 1-0.
What are the odds?!
Top (Goal): Stephan El-Shaarawy
Honestly speaking, this round didn’t feature a host of stunning strikes, so Stephan El-Shaarawy’s late winner for Roma gets the nod partially thanks to its great significance and the wild celebration that followed at the Olimpico.
Special Feature (Crazy Managers): José Mourinho vs Max Allegri
If you enjoy watching some of the most prominent football managers in the world losing their minds, then Calcio’s Sunday action surely had you covered.
The day began with José Mourinho pulling off the “cry baby” gesture to some members of the Monza bench while telling them to shut it, which obviously earned him the umpteenth dismissal of his illustrious career.
This “fascinating” behavior could have only been upstaged by some truly unique form of theatrics, so step forward “Mad” Max Allegri!
In what is becoming a trademark, the Juventus coach went absolutely berserk in the dying minutes against Milan, as he was apparently unhappy with some of the unnecessary “risks” that his players were taking instead of navigating towards safety.
Therefore, the Livorno tactician lashed out on his poor jacket and tie while showing no restraints when kicking seemingly innocent advertising boards (but you never know).
So whether you fancy a 60-year-old mimicking a crying baby towards fellow grownups or rather have a 56-year-old stripping out in anger in front of 80,000 in attendance and millions watching at home, we’ll leave the final say to you on this dilemma.
— Azzo (@Azzo10) October 22, 2023
|Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football|