Juventus struggled against Torino while Roma impressively dispatched a below average Inter Milan to keep up the pressure on the champions. Mario Gomez finally scored his first goal of the season while Napoli needed a last minute equalizer against high flying Sampdoria.
Andrea Pirlo’s brilliance decides Derby Della Mole
Torino thought they had done enough to end their derby curse last night but a moment of magic from Andrea Pirlo gave Juventus an undeserved yet memorable 2-1 win over Torino. It was a bitter blow for Giampiero Ventura’s men who displayed solid organization and indomitable spirit throughout the game only to be thwarted by an act of sheer quality from the 35-year-old star. Juventus were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off for a second bookable offence after mistiming a sliding challenge on Omar El Kadodouri. Going into the game Torino were in 15th place but Ventura’s side had a surprisingly decent defensive record although they were desperately looking for someone to score the goals at the other end of the pitch.
Arturo Vidal gave Juventus the lead in the 15th minute from the penalty spot and seemingly set them on their way towards a comfortable win at home again. But Toro had other ideas. They had not scored in the derby for over 12 years but broke the drought in style when Bruno Peres did a coast to coast carrying the ball from his own half, turning on the turbo to breeze past Patrice Evra and Arturo Vidal before smashing a shot across Marco Storari which went in off the the inside of the post. A memorable goal which was truly worthy of the occasion and it also ended Torino’s goalscoring duck in this fixture since February 2002. Torino nearly took the lead after the restart when two ex-Juventini, Amauri and Fabio Quagliarela, combined well to open up the defence but Quagliarela could only find the outside of the upright. Toro had good openings on the counter but lacked the quality in the final third and were made to pay the ultimate price when Pirlo’s daisy-cutter rifled into the bottom corner to give Max Allegri’s men a dramatic victory.
Miralem Pjanic brace leads Roma past sluggish Inter Milan
Roberto Mancini suffered his first defeat since taking over as Inter coach as he saw his side fight back twice from being a goal down but ultimately were just not good enough against the impressive Giallorossi. Mauro Icardi and Mateo Kovacic started from the bench while ex- Roma players Dodo and Pablo Osvaldo were on the starting 11. Roma came into this game on the back of a poor result against CSKA Moscow in midweek and were glad to welcome back Douglas Maicon after six weeks. De Rossi was rested while Jose Holebas was preferred ahead of Ashley Cole.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when Gervinho turned home Adem Ljajic’s cross to grab his first Serie A goal since the opening match week. The Ivorian had the ball in the back of the net once again moments later but was correctly flagged offside. Rudi Garcia’s men handed the initiative back to Inter when Andrea Ranocchia rose unmarked to steer his header from a corner past the hapless Morgan De Sanctis. The beginning of the second half saw a goal of immense quality as Greek fullback Jose Holebas surged forward from his own half, rode two challenges before smashing an unstoppable drive beyond Samir Handanovic to score a memorable goal. Daniel Osvaldo scored the equalizer with the help of an assist from ex-Roma left back Dodo and he did not hesitate even once to celebrate against his old club. But Roma immediately went back in front when Francesco Totti, lying on the floor, prodded a ball back for Miralem Pjanic to give Roma the lead. Second half substitute Juan Iturbe missed two good chances to increase the deficit but it was the Bosnian maestro Pjanic who sealed the three points with a trademark freekick past Handanovic’s outstretched hand to take Roma within three points off the leaders Juventus.
Last gasp Napoli deny Sampdoria
Only one point separated these two teams before kick-off and both were playing catch up in the race for third spot with Genoa. Rafa Benitez had plenty of injury concerns to deal with so he used Faouzi Ghoulam in an advanced role while Sinisa Mihajlovic surprisingly used Roberto Soriano in the trequartista position role behind the front two of Eder and Stefano Okaka dropping Manolo Gabbiadini. A tight first half did not create many openings but Sampdoria took the lead in the second half when Eder’s turn and shot found the bottom corner. Both sides had chances to get on the score-sheet but bad decision making in the final third meant the score remained same as Mihajlovic shifted to a 4-3-3 with the introduction of Manolo Gabbiadini. Napoli were reduced to 10 men when Kalidou Koulibaly was shown his second yellow card but the Partenopei scored the all important equalizer in the dying moments when substitute Duvan Zapata found the back of the net with a diving header from Ghoulam’s cross.
Elsewhere in Serie A…
Jermey Menez scored twice as Milan beat Udinese 2-0 at San Siro to climb up to 5th spot in the table. The Rossoneri were under pressure after four draws and a defeat but two second half goals from the Frenchman gave them a well deserved win in a match where there was a debatable penalty, two dismissals and a controversial disallowed goal which will give rise to calls for the use of goal-line technology in Italy. Mati Fernandez scored twice while Mario Gomez scored his first goal since March to give Fiorentina a comfortable 4-0 win over Zdenek Zeman’s Cagliari. The Sardinians were torn to shreds by a counter-attacking masterclass from Vincenzo Montella’s men which extended their run to three straight wins in all competitions ahead of next week’s blockbuster clash against Juventus. Lazio were denied by a stunning goalkeeping display from Cheivo’s Albano Bizzarri while Genoa continued their impressive run with a comprehensive 3-0 win away at Cesena. All the three goals came in the first half as Alessandro Matri, Luca Antonelli and Nicolas Burdisso made sure the Grifone temporarily climbed up to third place after the end of Sunday’s games.
Parma remain rooted to the bottom of the table after yet another defeat this time at the hands of Palermo. Edgar Barreto was the chief protagonist as he created the opener for Dybala and then scored the winner to secure all three points against 10-man Parma. Empoli and Atalanta played out a dour 0-0 draw while Sassuolo climbed upto tenth spot with a comeback win over Hellas Verona on Saturday.
Juventus have already received 4 red cards in this Serie A, one more than in the whole previous two seasons
Each of Alessandro Matri’s 6 goals in this Serie A season have come away from home
Prior to Juventus Torino, Pirlo’s last goal from open play in Serie A came back in March 2012, against Fiorentina
José Holebas is the 12th player able to score a goal for Roma during the current season
Prior to Bruno Peres’ goal, last Torino’s goal in the Derby came in February 22nd 2002, 4662 days ago
Mario Gomez has now scored 259 days after his last goal for Fiorentina
Goal Of The Week
This match week saw some fantastic strikes which makes it really hard to choose only one from so many wonderful goals. Miralem Pjanic’s freekick was outstanding, Holebas’ pile-driver was another beauty, Nicola Sansone’s outside of the boot strike deserves praise while Andrea Pirlo’s pearler was nothing short of extraordinary. However, just for the sheer imagination associated with the set-piece routine Paulo Dybala’s opener is our goal of this week. A training ground routine which was executed to perfection was brilliant to watch and the coaching staff definitely deserves the credit for chalking out this move.