As the midweek round of fixtures come to a close, TheHardTackle reviews all the action from across the peninsula and analyzes the winners and losers of Round 10 of the Serie A
All eyes this week were set on Florence a Napoli visited Fiorentina in one of the most hotly awaited clashes of the season. Both teams came into the fixture on the back of successive victories, domestically and in Europe. Besides their aesthetically pleasing style of play, the talk of both teams being challengers to Juve set it all up for a marquee 90 minutes at the Artemo Franchi. Elsewhere, a struggling Milan hosted Lazio and Inter visited Atalanta. Juventus were at home against Catania and a high flying Roma hosted Chievo.
Inter continue to lose momentum
After a flying start to the campaign, Inter have somewhat been pegged back since going down at home to Roma. A dampening loss is never easy to overcome and Mazzarri’s men are just discovering the same. An unlucky last minute equalizer at Torino and a grim draw at Atalanta have pegged the Nerazzurri back in the race for Champions League qualification and although these are still relatively early days to talk about the table, the squad must re-instill that “killer instinct” that has been conspicuously missing in terms of finishing games.
This is what Ricardo Alvarez had to say after the Nerazzurri were stunned by a late Atalanta equalizer –
“Today we go away only half-satisfied. We played a great game. They are a difficult squad that play well at home. But we need to be more clever. We have gone ahead but not taken home the three points – like against Torino and Cagliari. This is what we’re lacking to move forward. We have played well in all the games, but we have not held on to the advantage until the end.”
Certainly, Walter Mazzarri must soon forge a way out of recovering that early season ruthlessness before things start slipping away from hand.
Fiorentina – Napoli lives up to all expectations
If you were looking for an advert to the Serie A, look no further than Napoli’s triumph in Florence. The 90 minutes at the Artemo Franchi had a mixture of all ingredients that constitute a truly exhilarating fixture, witnessing an intriguing battle between two forerunners of displacing the traditional powerhouses of Italy. After Callejon got the score-board up and running, Guiseppe Rossi leveled matters with a well taken penalty and Dries Mertens clinched the winner with a beautiful finish, following a lovely one-two with Higuain.
The action though, did not end at just the goals. Montella’s men threw bodies forward in search of the equalizer and came close on more than one occasion. Cuadrado hit the wood-work and Rossi came close a couple of times. Besides this, there was the usual bit of controversy that surrounds fixtures of such magnitude. Rossi and Cuadrado both got booked for audacious dives and the former got a second booking for a second alleged dive, which according to replays wasn’t really one. Strong runs, last ditch tackles, some excellent finishing, sublime movement of the feet, silky passing and controversy all added up to a truly entertaining evening of Italian football at its best.
Roma continue their record-breaking run
Before the season started, not even Rudi Garcia would have envisaged this coming. Performance after performance of the highest order, the Giallorossi have won over many suitors with their expansive game. Chievo’s visit to the Olimpico on Thursday evening was expected to end in a trouncing win for the home team and though the result was far from expectation what mattered at the end of the 90 minutes was Roma are yet to drop a point.It was ugly, unconvincing yet effective; a Marco Boriello header in the 67th minute was enough to see of the Flying Donkeys and take Roma five points clear at the top.
If this streak continues for a little longer, who knows? Though right now, as Marco Boriello said after the game –
“It is the first target achieved, if we want to call it that. It’s satisfying that this Roma side has entered the history books, so we’re going to enjoy it.”
It would only be fitting if Fransesco Totti were to bow out with the Italian crest embedded at the heart of his Roma outfit
A struggling AC Milan were at home to Vladimir Petkovic’s Lazio, and almost ran out with all three points courtesy of a moment of sheer genius from Kaka but his party was to be spoiled only 18 minutes later by Michael Ciani who grabbed his first goal for the blues, ensuring the points were shared between the two in a largely inconsequential result. Juventus strolled to victory at the Juventus Arena against a hapless Catania, scoring four in the process. Though the Sicilians threatened on the counter at times, it was largely a comfortable evening for the Old Lady who moved five points behind Roma into third place.
Livorno and Torino played out an enticing 3-3 draw at the Stade Armando Picchi. The home team were a whisker away from bagging all three points when Alessio Cerci’s penalty leveled things up two minutes from time. Udinese recovered from the set-back at the weekend to defeat Sassuolo, which was the latter’s sixth of the season so far. Hallas Verona maintained their blistering start to life in Serie A as they dispatched away Sampdoria in a comfortable 2-0 win. They now sit at fifth place, level on points with Inter.
There was some respite for Genoa as they sleeked out a slender victory over Parma, who themselves were fresh off the back Sunday’s win over Milan. Bologna scraped out of the relegation zone with a convincing three goal trouncing of Cagilari.
The Winners and Losers
In an action packed round of mid-week games across Italy, Roma proved to be the ultimate victors of the round as they moved five points clear at the summit of Serie A. Napoli were among the other beneficiary’s as they bagged three invaluable points to reduce the gap at the top to five points. On the other hand, Milan continued to disappoint as they failed to make up any ground as they keep on jostling in mid-table. Fiorentina slipped down to sixth and will be looking to cover up for their loss to maintain their quest for Champions League qualification.