Cross-town rivals Internazionale had ended their unbeaten streak at home while AC Milan followed that act by inflicting the first away defeat for Juventus in almost one and half years. Despite the controversial penalty kick which led to the match winning goal the Bianconeri have very little to complain about. Lining up with the same starting XI (sans Chiellini and Lichtsteiner) which outplayed Chelsea in mid-week Juventus looked a mere shadow of their past match.
AC Milan started the match with higher tempo and squeezed out space efficiently. Juventus, on the other hand looked jaded and uninterested. The midfield of Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal, usually so reliable, completely failed to click and each of the three players miss-passed many times during 90 minutes. The defence was pulled apart time and again by El Sharaawy’s runs while brilliant performances from De Sciglio and Constant ensured that Juve wingbacks, who caused all sorts of problems to Chelsea, were rendered completely ineffective. Juventus’ second half performance didn’t improve much though they threatened the Milan goal slightly more.
The pressure on Max Allegri will slightly decrease after Milan’s recent string of positive results. Last week they drew with Napoli after being down 2-0 at one point before sealing their progress in Champions League in mid-week. Juventus will be left licking their wounds and must bounce back before the Turin derby next week. The derby will be followed by the daunting sway trip to Donetsk, perhaps the most important match for Juventus in this season till now.
More than five years ago Italian football was brought to a standstill on the aftermath of a notorious Sicilian derby. Policeman Filippo Raciti died in the riots that followed a Sicilian derby on 5th February, 2007 and football in Italy was suspended as a result of it. There were no tragic incidents as such on Saturday but Palermo captured three very important points against their rivals who were in better form. Two players made headlines for the home team – two players who have very different reputation at the Renzo Barbera.
Between the chasing pack Napoli took full advantage of Juve’s slip as they duly notched up a single goal victory in an away game against Cagliari. This could have been a dodgy fixture for Walter Mazzarri’s side as they missed talismanic striker Edinson Cavani as well as his experienced partner Goran Pandev. However, the third “tenor” Marek Hamsik rose to the ocassion eighteen minutes from time to score the match winning goal. Napoli moved within two points of Juventus after this win.
Andrea Stramaccioni’s side’s form has taken a sharp nosedive since their massive victory against Juventus three rounds back. Inter has not managed to do justice to the bookmakers who tipped them as Scudetto contenders, failing to win their next three matches. Last night they travelled to Parma, a side which had beaten the Nerazzuri last time when this fixture took place. Inter didn’t play to their potential and were punished in the second half when Nicola Sansone took advantage of a misdirected Inter throw, then dodged past two defenders before sweetly finishing it past Handanovic. For the second week running Inter failed to take advantage of a Juventus slip-up.
Club legend Fabrizio Miccoli celebrated his return from injury with a goal which was also his 100th in Serie A. Miccoli might not have achieved enough success that his talent demands but his status as one of the greatest players to have pulled on the pink t-shirt will always remain untouched. Two years back Josip Ilicic made headlines after he scored against Juventus, Inter, Roma and Fiorentina few months after making his Palermo debut. However, the Slovenian lost his form after his strong start and struggled with his scoring. Ilicic’s brace was vital in the Sicilian derby and Palermo will be hoping that this performance signifies a welcome return to form for him.
AS Roma continued their steady surge upwards after a difficult victory against Pescara, a club that their current coach sensationally guided to Serie A last season. Roma’s 1-0 win means they have now kept clean sheets for two consecutive matches for the first time this season, a rarity in Zeman sides. Matteo Destro grabbed his second goal for the Lupi as they overcame the spirited Delfini to hold on to that early lead. With Lazio playing on Tuesday, Roma temporarily moved level on points with their neighbours.
Ciro Ferrara saved his job last week when Sampdoria defeated Genoa in the Derby Della Lanterna last week, after a run of eight back to back losses. The ex-Napoli and Juventus defender picked up three more important points as the Blucerciati dispatched ten men Bologna by a goal to nil. Just like Ilicic, another player who rose to prominence in 2010, Andrea Poli, has showed signs of fulfilling his potential. It was his goal that gave Sampdoria the victory on Sunday.
Torino almost pulled off an upset before their derby against Juventus next weekend. Possibly the most thrilling match of the weekend, this encounter also saw Luca Toni and Kamil Glik getting hospitalized after a violent clash of heads. Toro twice took the lead but were pegged back each time by Fiorentina with three goals coming in last 16 minutes of the match. Torino ended Fiorentina’s spectacular 5 match winning streak – Viola hasn’t lost a match in Serie A since 1st October.