No blunders in Turin or Naples
When the sun shines on Stadio Olimpico in Turin, it’s arguably one of many most exquisite grounds to watch a game of football and that was the case on Sunday inside the Derby della Mole. There was no end of sub plots preceding this game – would ‘Gigi’ Buffon break Sebastiano Rossi’s clean sheet record? Could Torino get revenge for their painful last minute defeat within the last Derby? Would Juventus bounce back from their tortuous defeat to Bayern Munich inside the Champions League and keep themselves as firm favourites for the Scudetto?The answer from the Bianconeri was emphatic on all fronts. Buffon broke the record, recording 974 minutes without conceding, before finally being beaten by Toro’s only goal with the game, a penalty coolly converted by Andrea Belotti. The Old Lady dominated the game, scoring four times. Paul Pogba started the ball rolling as he curled in a beautiful free kick. Sami Khedira had made in 2-0 before the Granata pulled one back but a brace from Alvaro Morata put any thoughts of a comeback on ice.
Pogba’s pass for Morata’s first was such a thing of beauty it deserves special mention – Juventus continue to look like champions elect.It was a warm night in Naples as Maurizio Sarri and company welcomed and energetic Genoa, the bats were flying around the roof on the stadium welcoming in Spring but it was Napoli who were flapping as Genoa opened the (gain fifa 16 coins) scoring. The Grifone stunned San Paolo when Tomas Rincon’s powerful effort threatened to break the Partenopei’s net. Napoli laid siege to Genoa after this and finally broke them down with Gonzalo Higuain grabbing his 28th and 29th in the season, the second scored to a noise that surely has only be heard the last time Mount Vesuvius erupted. The icing on the cake came within the final minutes when Omar El Kaddouri scored to put the game beyond doubt, the title race is still on.
Luciano Spalletti watched Roberto Mancini arrive in Rome with particular interest. The last time the Giallorossi set a record number of wins on the bounce it was ended by the Inter ‘mister’ in his first tenure. With eight straight wins Roma have been in fine form but the Nerazzurri have also been resurgent and now are seriously looking like they could challenge for the final Champions League spot. This seemed especially evident when Ivan Perisic gave the visitors the lead, a goal that many thought would be enough to win the tie on the back of the performance. However, as the clock ticked Radja Nainggolan got on the finish of an accidental Edin Dzeko assist to save their blushes and keep a distance between themselves and Mancini’s men.Fiorentina were certainly not out of the hunt for the Champions League spot and they were hopeful as they travelled to take on relegation threatened Frosinone. The 0-0 draw that ensued saw both teams hit the woodwork but the point helps neither in their plight. This result perhaps saw Frosinone ending the most disappointed as Carpi, also threatened by relegation, beat bottom club Hellas Verona 1-2 at the Stadio Bentegodi. With the game poised at 1-1 Kevin Lasagna curled in a free kick that was a goal worthy of winning any game. Carpi are now out with the relegation zone whilst Hellas are planning their Serie B campaign.Atalanta have also been looking over their shoulders at the drop and perhaps were not looking forward to a visit from Roberto Donadoni and his Bologna team. The fight it seems however, has returned to Bergamo as inside the Sunday early kick off they pulled off a credible 2-0 win. The away side admittedly went down to nine men but Alessandro Diamanti put on a master class, scoring the second goal to earn his team a valuable three points.The lights beamed from San Siro as Milan took on Lazio within the Sunday night fixture. The match itself was a sad image of how the teams have fallen and the empty stands showed this.
The early moments inside the game however were promising and when Marco Parolo’s early strike was cancelled out by Carlos Bacca breaking his goal drought, it promised to be a classic. No more goals ensued, thanks to the superlative goalkeeping exhibited by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Frederico Marchetti and the game ended level. A disappointing result after the early promise.Elsewhere, Coach Gigi De Canio’s debut on the bench for Udinese saw them pick up an important point against Sassuolo away from home. Duvan Zapata opened the scoring but the Zebrette could not hold on for three points that would give them breathing space between themselves and the drop. Chievo beat a much improved Sampdoria 1-0 in a game that takes them up to ninth inside the table. They had Riccardo Meggiorini’s header to thank for the lead and it proved to be enough despite them missing a penalty. Finally, Friday night was a night for going out as those who stayed in to watch Empoli and Palermo were disappointed. Both teams have been in dismal form and this dull and featureless 0-0 showcased that neither look like improving anytime soon.