Italian Serie A Review – Round 8: AC Milan Win Thriller, Juventus Held At Home

After a week of goal-less draws, Serie A sprung back into life last weekend, which witnessed one of the most exciting comebacks in football history, which saw an incredible hattrick from The Prince of Milan. 27 goals were scored. Udinese and Juventus managed to remain unbeaten this weekend whereas Cesena dropped to the bottom of the table with only 2 points so far. TheHardTackle reviews the weekend action as it happened.

The 2-2 draws

The weekend action started off with Catania taking on Fiorentina with the home team looking to end their winless streak. The Artemio Franchi witnessed the revivial of one of the best players in Serie A – Jovetic. The Montenegrin has been in and out of the team due to injuries, and his start against Catania must have come as a breath of fresh air to his fans. Jovetic put Fiorentina forward early on in the game but Catania were not to be cowed down. Delveccio equalized for the visiting team just before halftime to leave the fans on the edge of their seats. The second half saw more of less of the same as once again Fiortentia failed to hold on to their lead given once more by Jovetic. The match ended 2-2 and it condemned Fiorentina to their fourth winless match.

Juventus then played host to the oldest club in Italy with one eye on stretching their lead at the top of the table. Matri found a rare starting spot under Conte as he immediately repaid that with a goal within 6 minutes. Genoa equalized through Merkel, who is currently on loan at the club, as his pin point cross was met by Rossi. Matri once more put Juve on top and then the Vecchia Signora tried to slow down the pace of the game. Genoa pulled one back at the death through Caracciolo and Juventus were hence held at home.

The next match witnessed Atalanta taking on Parma at Ennio Tardini. Parma went on the attack from the very onset of the match but their efforts were in vain as they failed to find the back of the net after creating good chances in the first half. A twin strike from Moralez in the space of  three minutes gave Atalanta the lead which they defended valiantly till the 80th minute, when Parma pulled one back. The game ended 2-1 in favor of the visiting team, which took Atalanta to 4 wins out of 7 matches so far this season.

Cesena visited Siena next where the home team was on the look for their second win this season. A 9th minute superb solo effort from Gonzalez gave Siena the lead which they fought hard to keep. Cesena were not intent to return home empty-handed and they threw in everything into the match. Inspite of all their valiant efforts, a goal eluded them. Meanwhile, Siena scored their second in the 53rd minute and put the game beyond doubt for the home team.

Inter shine as Napoli is held

Internazionale finally returned to their winning ways courtesy a win over Chievo. Ranieri had a tough task to find the first home victory of the season and against Chievo he finally delivered it. Motta scored with the head from a Sneijder corner and Inter saw away the match with that goal only. Chievo rarely threatened and rarely attacked as the home team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. The win took Inter to fifth place from bottom of the table.

Napoli visited Cagliari next, looking to strengthen their strong start to the season. Both Cavani and Lavezzi started for the visiting team as they went all out for three points. Coming off a midweek 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich, it was expected Napoli would get past Cagliari, but in the end they failed to deliver. The match ended goalless as both teams wasted chances to score.

Di Natale on top

Novara then faced the wrath of Di Natale-led Udinese as the striker made his presence felt big time. Granted that the first goal from Di Natale did involve a huge amount of luck, but the striker showed his class with the second and third goal for Udinese. His second, Udinese’s third was a beautiful free-kick which curled over the crossbar into the top corner of the net. However, despite his superlative performance, Di Natale failed to add to his tally as he shot over the goal in a one-on-one situation. The win took Udinese to the top of the League table. After Bayern Munich conceded two goals last night, Serie A side Udinese now hold the record for the best defense among the top European leagues having astonishingly conceded just one goal.

Roma was up next against Palermo, as they looked to come back from the humiliating Derby defeat to Lazio last matchday. Erik Lamela made his debut memorable for the Romans as he scored as early as the seventh minute and his side saw away the match with that solitary goal. A notable mention must be made for Stekelenburg, who made as many as 8 saves in goal.

The last match of the weekday took us to Reanto Dall’Ara, where Lazio looked to built on their Derby victory last weekend. The first goal of this encounter saw an own goal from the home team, when Hernanes’ free kick was deflected into goal by Acquafresca. The game see-sawed between the two sides and Lulic put the game beyond doubt three minutes from the restart. The victory put Lazio second in the table, one point behind Udinese.

Match of the Week

Lecce 3-4 Milan

Even Steven Spielberg could not have scripted such an incredible and amazing match. Relegation threatened Lecce was the unlikely surprise in the early kick-off as they raced to a 3-0 lead against the Champions. Milan were pathetic in the midfield and appalling at the back in the opening 45 minutes, which saw them commit errors of humongous proportions. First Giacomazzi scored in the 4th minute, which was doubled by a controversial penalty which the former Milan player, Oddo stoked calmly into the net. Antonini was to blame for the third goal as he let in Grossmuller, who made no mistakes from close range.

Halfway through the match, the Champions were facing a horrible time and Allegri’s squad selection was coming under heavy fire. In came Aquilani and Boateng at the start of the second half. In a space of only 17 minutes, the game turned on its head as Boateng scored as many goals as he had scored the entire last season in that time period only. The Prince was up and running, his heavily tattooed physique behind each and every attack that Milan created. When he scored his third, not only were the players on the field charged up, but it also evoked memories of previous comebacks, most notably against Inter. Yepes scored the winner from a Cassano assist as the win took Milan to seventh in the League table.

The match was not only a showcase of the unpredictable nature of Serie A, which to date remains the only competitive League in Europe but also came at the right time when everyone was suggesting that Italian football had gone back to its days of goalless draws. The Cinderella story was cut short, but not before it gave the world a glimpse of the thing we love most about Italian football – unpredictability.

Star of the Week

Boateng (Milan)

In his short career with the Rossoneri, this particular hattrick against Lecce will forever be etched in memory. Milan were reeling at halftime, down 3-0 against a team which at best is a relegation specialist. The pathetic defensive and midfield display forced Allegri into making drastic changes at halftime and in stepped Boateng. For the next 17 minutes, the world watched in awe as the Ghanian scored not only one, two but three decisive and superb strikes to pull Milan out of the doldrums.

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Cometh the hour, cometh the man

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From his very first shot in the match, Boateng gave the feeling that he is not going to play safe as his volley was parried over by Benassi. The first goal was the result of a corner, which he dispatched into the top corner of the net. One goal, two more to go. His second goal was another beauty which he placed in the top left corner. His third brought in waves of relief not only to the traveling fans but also to the millions watching worldwide. A star-studded performance from a star-studded player.

Goal of the Week

Gonzalez (Siena) v Cesena

Team of the Week

 

 

Results at a Glance

Fiorentina 2-2 Catania
Juventus 2-2 Genoa
Lecce 3-4 Milan
Parma 1-2 Atalanta
Siena 2-0 Cesena
Inter 1-0 Chievo
Cagliari 0-0 Napoli
Udinese 3-0 Novara
AS Roma 1-0 Palermo
Bologna 0-2 Lazio