Lazio, Juventus, Inter and Roma reduced the difference at the front of the pack over Napoli and Milan significantly on a weekend, which was governed by late winners. The 20th round of Serie A kicked off with the clash between a goalless class between Napoli and Fiorentina. The second-placed side from Naples failing to close-in on the league leaders AC Milan. In the last match of the day, Inter continued on with their winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Bologna at the San Siro. Although the Nerazzurri won their third successive match under Leonardo, they should thank their stars and the linesman who allowed both their first half goals to stand after both were scored by their strikers in the offside position. Lazio moved up to second place along with Napoli courtesy a late strike by their Czech striker Kozak whose late strike stunned the visiting team.
Meanwhile, Aquilani’s late winner handed a 2-1 victory to the side from Turin and A.S. Roma were fortunate to walk away with three points from Dino Manuzzi after an own goal from Cesena’s defender Maximiliano Pellegrino in the 89th minute proved to be disastrous for the home team, who had defended brilliantly up to that point . Later on Sunday, leaders Milan with the best goal difference record in the league; failed to score a win over Lecce – the team with the worst goal difference record in the league. After being put in-front by the sheer brilliance of Ibrahimovic, the Rossoneri couldn’t quite kill the match after they conceded to Olivera with just eight minutes remaining on the referee’s watch.
This means that Milan’s lead at the top has been cut short to just four points over the rest of the pack and with couple of games in Inter’s hand, one can expect Inter to join in the battle for the Scudetto very soon.
Game of the Week: Juventus v Bari
Olimpico Grande Torino witnessed a mouth-watering clash on Sunday as Juventus overcame the shock of a 3-0 thumping received by hands of Napoli last week to by securing a late win over Bari at home. Legendary forward Alessandro Del Piero put the hosts in the lead after scoring through a scorching free kick just two minutes before the half-time whistle. Mad celebrations erupted as Del Piero went over to the fans to celebrate the lead.
Juventus v Bari
Juventus kept the pressure on the visiting team but it was Rudolf who scored the equalizer for Bari against the run of play just before the hour mark. Del Neri’s men again went on the offensive and this time it was Aquilani – the midfielder who is on-loan from Liverpool – who hammered a goal past the Bari keeper from just outside the box to score a deserved winner for the home side.
Serie A Player of the week: Samuel Eto’o against Bologna
Eto’o has been on song more often than not this season and he put up another wonderful display this weekend. Whereas, on the one hand, his fellow striker Milito’s season is going from bad to worse, Eto’o has been quietly and quickly notching up strikes one after another. His brace against Bologna puts him in third place in the race for the ‘Golden Boot’. The first of his goals was a result of a neat 1-2 between him and Milito, which finished with the ball in the far corner. His second came by virtue of a free-kick with eighteen minutes to go, putting the match beyond Bologna and also securing Leonardo’s fourth successive win in as many matches. Inter are only 9 points behind leaders AC Milan with a couple of games in hand. The chase is well, and truly, on!
Goal of the week: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (against Lecce)
Only a player of Ibrahimovic’s caliber can think of scoring a goal like the one he scored against Lecce last week. He does it with some ease and arrogance, as well. A clearance from Bonera landed at the feet of the Swede with two defenders to give him company. Ibrahimovic somehow managed to not only register a shot but lob the ball over the goalkeeper from well outside the penalty area. A super goal from, at times, a super striker.
Stunning, stunning goal!
Flop of the week: Edinson Cavani (against Fiorentina)
After scoring a hat-trick against Juventus last week, much was expected out of a high-flying Cavani. However, he failed to come to the party against the Viola over the weekend. With the likes of Hamsik suspended, Cavani was expected to raise his game as three points here would have taken them to just one point off the league leaders. He was named our Serie A player of the week last week, but this week he failed to land a single shot on goal.
Team of the Week: 4-3-3
Race for the Golden Boot:
Antonio Di Natale 14
Edinson Cavani 13
Marco Di Vaio 11
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11
Samuel Eto’o 11
Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina
Inter 4-1 Bologna
Cagliari 3-1 Palermo
Catania 1-1 Chievo
Lazio 1-0 Sampdoria
Juventus 2-1 Bari
Brescia 2-0 Parma
Genoa 2-4 Udinese
Cesena 0-1 AS Roma
Lecce 1-1 Milan