Juventus dropped points at home against Sampdoria while Inter Milan recorded their first league win under newly appointed coach Roberto Mancini. Roma secured a vital away win at the Marassi while Milan were thoroughly impressive in their 2-0 win over Napoli.
High-flying Sampdoria end Juventus’ 25-game Serie A home winning streak
The league leaders and champions hosted fourth-placed Sampdoria in the afternoon kickoff on Sunday with both teams losing only once this season. The Blucerchiati were the last team to win against Juventus at their stadium back in January 2013. Max Allegri had to use Angelo Ogbonna in defence as Giorgio Chiellini was suspended while Fabrizio Cacciatore , who scored last season against Juventus for Hellas Verona,started in place of Lorenzo Di Silvestri.
Juventus began the match on the front foot and deservedly took the lead in the 12th minute when Patrice Evra rose highest to nod in his first goal for the Old Lady since his move from Manchester United this summer. Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba came close to extending the lead in the first half but Juventus were made to rue their missed chances later on as the match progressed. Sinisa Mihajlović changed the system by bringing on Manolo Gabbiadini who is partly co-owned by the Bianconeri and switched to a 4-3-3 with Eder and Gabbiadini flanking Stefano Okaka. The change immediately paid dividends as Sampdoria equalized with their first genuine attempt on goal. Gabbiadini rounded off a quick counter attack with a trademark left footed curler into the bottom corner of Buffon’s goal. Juventus pressed hard for the winner but it was Sampdoria who came closest to grab all the three points and were only denied by a marvelous save from Buffon who tipped Gabbiadini’s dipping effort over the bar late in the second half. The result leaves Juventus without a win in their last three games.
Roma cut the gap to the top of the table
It was second against third as surprise package Genoa took on a rattled Roma at the Luigi Ferraris on Sunday afternoon. Roma were fresh from their midweek Champions League elimination and were without the suspended Daniele De Rossi. Nicolas Burdisso returned from his ban to face his old club while Mauricio Pinilla only started from the bench for the Grifone. Roma had lost five of their last six trips to Marassi and were without their group of fans who were banned for this game.
Roma created the better openings in the first fifteen minutes and were only thwarted by the brilliant Mattia Perin in Genoa goal. However on the half hour mark Perin was sent off for a rash challenge on Radja Nainggolan but Adem Ljajic missed from the spot. Few minutes later substitute keeper Eugenio Lamanna had no chance though as Nainggolan’s sensational scorpion kick gave Roma the lead in the 40th minute. Roma seemed to take their foot off the pedal in the second half as Florenzi, Pjanic and most notably Gervinho failed to extend their lead and nearly conceded a late equalizer when Tomas Rincon turned home a flick on from point-blank range but he was correctly judged offside. Roma were able to hang on for the vital win which helped them climb to within a point of Juventus at the top of the table.
Assured Milan Breeze Past Napoli
Jeremy Menez and Jack Bonaventura were on target as Milan secured a vital win in the big kickoff on Sunday evening. Milan were without a win in this fixture since February 2011 and were without Fernando Torres for this game. Rafa Benitez dropped the off-form Marek Hamsik for this game and surprisingly handed the captaincy to Giandomenico Mesto.
Milan took the lead after just five minutes when Jeremy Menez turned on the turbo to skip past Kalidou Koulibaly before confidently placing the ball in the far bottom corner. This was his eight goal of the season and set Milan on the front foot right at the beginning. Diego Lopez was forced into a double save to deny Napoli the equalizer. Napoli began the second half more aggressively but it was Milan who doubled their advantage. Former Napoli fullback Pablo Armero’s pinpoint cross found Giacomo Bonaventura who made no mistake from six yards out. Poli and Menez created threatening openings after that as Milan grew in confidence and Napoli had no real answers to them. The result helps the Rossoneri reach 24 points and move upto joint sixth position in the table, just two points off Lazio, Genoa and Sampdoria.
Elsewhere in Serie A…
Lazio ended their run of one point from three games last week with a win over Parma and Stefano Pioli’s men followed it up with a comfortable 3-0 win over Atalanta. All the goals came in the second half as Felipe Anderson and captain Stefano Mauri combined to score the opening two while Senad Lulic netted late with a diving header to take Lazio upto third place on the table. Fiorentina ruined Mimmo Di Carlo’s Cesena debut with a 4-1 win against the Sea Horses. Cesena were without a win since the opening weekend and the appointment of a new coach did not make any difference on Sunday. Despite Neto’s howler which gifted Cesena a way back into the game Fiorentina were clearly the better side on the night and deservedly recorded a thumping win. Inter Milan ended Chievo’s five match unbeaten run to celebrate their first Serie A win under new manager Roberto Mancini.
Andre Belotti’s late winner extended Palermo’s unbeaten run to seven games in the first ever Serie A meeting between Palermo and Sassuolo. Eusebio Di Francesco’s men were unbeaten in nine games but fell behind within the opening two minutes when Luca Rigoni nodded in Paulo Dybala’s corner. Sassuolo were dealt a major blow in the 70th minute when Andrea Consigli was sent off for bringing down Enzo Maresca outside the box but they managed to find an equalizer when substitute Leonardo Pavoletti scored with his first touch. However, Belotti who came on as a substitute in the 89th minute secured all the three points deep into stoppage time. Paolo Cannavaro was sent off for a blatant kick on Dybala moments before the final whistle. Hellas Verona came back from a goal down to secure a vital away win in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Derby on Sunday afternoon. Antonio Di Natale once again found the back of the net for Udinese but Lazaros Christodoulopoulos settled the contest with an assist for Luca Toni in the first half and then netting the decisive winner in the second half. A stalemate between basement clubs Cagliari and Parma will only add more pressure on their respective managers and quality of the game showed why these two clubs are languishing near the foot of the table. The task does not get easier for Cagliari as they take on Juventus next while Parma must quickly look to turnaround their fortunes this season. Torino and Empoli played out a drab 0-0 draw on Monday evening.
Zdenek Zeman had not drawn a Serie A match 0-0 since his Lecce visited Bologna on November 28,2004
Palermo have gone unbeaten for seven consecutive Serie A games (W4 D3) for the first time since January 2010
Stefano Mauri is the most prolific midfielder of this Serie A term on six goals scored in 10 appearances
Atalanta have not found the net in seven consecutive Serie A away games for the first time in a single season
Antonio Di Natale has a hand in 11 of the 18 Udinese’s goals in the Serie A 2014-15 (three assists, eight goals)
Fiorentina have won each of their last 3 away league games, scoring 10 goals in the process
Jérémy Menez has already scored 8 league goals, his best tally in a single season between Serie A and Ligue 1
Diego López made seven saves against Napoli, his best tally in a Serie A game
Andrea Ranocchia has now scored three goals against Chievo in Serie A, including his very first in the league (October 2009 for Bari)
Goal Of The Week
Luca Toni reached the milestone of his 300th career goal with a sublime finish against Udinese on Sunday. His quick turn and shot on the stroke of half-time was his fifth goal this season, four fewer than current topscorer Carlos Tevez.