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Serie A

Serie A Review: Week 15 – Goalkeeper Goal Riles Rino As Benevento Finally Clinch a Point

This week saw things become interesting at the top of the table, while it was a record-ending one at the bottom as Benevento finally have a positive result.

Friday 1 December

Roma 3-1 SPAL

Roma kicked off the month and this round of matches with a comfortable win over struggling SPAL. A red card in the ninth minute, for SPAL defender Felipe, made a difficult match nearly impossible. Ten minutes later, Edin Dzeko ended his seven-game Serie A drought to open the scoring, with Kevin Strootman and Lorenzo Pellegrini made it three for the home side. Kostas Manolas then conceded a penalty, which Federico Viviani converted and was at least a consolation for SPAL. Roma are now five points off the top but with a game in hand while SPAL stay in the relegation zone.

Napoli 0-1 Juventus

Napoli could have gone four points ahead of the reigning champions with victory in this week’s heavyweight match. Instead, Gonzalo Higuain scored his fifth goal in five games against his former club, and gave Juventus the lead in 12th minute following a rapid counter-attack. Napoli dominated most of the possession (67%) but couldn’t create many clear opportunities and find a way through Juve’s stubborn and well-organised defence. A narrow win now leads to the narrowest of gaps between the two clubs, just one point between them in second and third.

Saturday 2 December

Torino 1-1 Atalanta

This match was a symbol of how even Torino and Atalanta are this season. Both mid-table, both sit on 20 points, and both scored a single goal in Saturday’s only game. Nicolas Nkoulou’s header gave Torino the lead seconds before the half-time whistle, however, Atalanta responded brightly after the break and equalised through Josip Ilicic. As the game wore on, both teams seemed to settle for a point, with Torino’s fourth consecutive draw, the last time they done so was 2009.

Sunday 3 December

Benevento 2-2 Milan

Perhaps the highlight of many Serie A fans’ week was Benevento finally claiming their first point of the season against AC Milan. Jack Bonaventura broke the deadlock, with George Puscas and Nikola Kalinic also scoring to make the game 2-1. Milan dominated possession and were on course to see the game out. Alessio Romagnoli’s red card in the 75th minute set up a nervy finish for the Rossoneri, before Benevento’s goalkeeper, Alberto Brignoli, scored a header which will go down in Benevento’s history and no doubt, internet folklore. One person who won’t forget is Milan’s new manager, Gennaro Gattuso, who said “it would have been better to be stabbed.”

Bologna 1-1 Cagliari

Bologna and Cagliari shared the points in what was a feisty draw, with eight yellow cards in total. Joao Pedro, Cagliari’s bright spark this season, scored his fifth goal of the season before half-time. As frustrations grew for the home side so did the number of bookings, before Mattia Destro’s header in the 81st minute finally evened the scoring. Bologna will be disappointed not to take a victory given the chances and possession they had, but are still on course for an impressive season, currently sitting ninth on goal difference, but level on points with seventh.

Fiorentina 3-0 Sassuolo

Sassuolo’s woeful season continued with Fiorentina’s convincing victory over them. It was youth who provided Fiorentina with the goals, 22-year-old Giovanni Simeone and highly rated 20-year-old Federico Chiesa scored, as well as a goal for Jordan Veretout. What will worry Sassuolo is the manner of the defeat, Fiorentina had 64% possession and 23 shots, condemning the away side to their worst ever start to a top-flight season. Both sides remain seventh and 16th as they both continue their contrasting seasons.

Inter 5-0 Chievo

For all the summer speculation around Ivan Perisic, and the fan fallout with Mauro Icardi, both players are certainly focused on delivering for their club this season. Perisic was the hat trick hero against Chievo, while Icardi scored his 16th goal in 15 Serie matches. Milan Skriniar, who has turned out to be somewhat of a bargain since arriving in the summer, also scored, and put Inter top of the table, overtaking Napoli. Chievo meanwhile, continue their solid season despite a heavy defeat, 12th on goal difference with 20 points.

Sampdoria 1-2 Lazio

Sampdoria were set to upset Lazio’s chase for the top four, after the home side took the lead through Duvan Zapata. However, Lazio rallied and showed the resilience needed to reach the Champions League by the end of the season, with Sergei Milinkovic-Savic equalising and Felipe Caicedo winning it in the 91st minute. Come May, Lazio could look back at this as a vital win, while Sampdoria are now six points behind in sixth.

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