Higuain fires double as Balotelli’s tears make the headlines.
It was another dramatic weekend of football in Serie A, with Roma being held in the Rome derby and missing out on the chance to close the gap on leaders Juventus.
Rudi Garcia had fired up the war of words with opposite number Edy Reja in the build-up to the game, but the city rivals were unable to break the deadlock in a goalless draw at the Stadio Olimpico.
While a draw in the Derby della Capitale wouldn’t ordinarily be seen as a disappointing result, the Giallorossi would later rue missing out on the chance to cut the gap at the top of the table as Juventus were held in Verona.
A Carlos Tevez brace seemingly had the reigning champions on their way to another victory which would have stretched their lead to 11 points, however, a late equaliser for the hosts courtesy of Ignacio Gomez after Luca Toni’s goal ensured they shared the spoils.
Juve coach Antonio Conte was reportedly furious with his players after their uncharacteristic late lapse in concentration, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting on Monday morning that he had cancelled a scheduled rest day for the players.
With Roma having a game in hand over their rivals, they will be determined to cut their deficit to six points, although priority will perhaps lie with their Coppa Italia second leg clash with Napoli later this week.
While Juve and Roma were held, Napoli had no such problems as they entertained AC Milan at the San Paolo on Saturday night, securing a 3-1 victory to complete a league double over their rivals after success at San Siro earlier in the season.
A brace from Gonzalo Higuain cancelled out a dazzling debut goal from Adel Taarabt, while headlines were predictably dominated by Mario Balotelli’s tears on the sidelines after being substituted.
Initial reports of racism were immediately dismissed by both Milan and Napoli, with the general consensus that Balotelli was purely upset with something more personal or perhaps with his performance and seeing his team defeated again.
“We are players and there are times when we express ourselves that way. I see nothing wrong or abnormal in that. I experienced it at times too,” Seedorf told Sky Sport Italia after the game, as reported by Football Italia.
It was the first league defeat of Seedorf’s tenure as Michael Essien also made his debut for the club, while Napoli sustained their slender lead in the race for third place and Champions League football.
In Sunday night’s game, Hernanes made his debut for Inter in their 1-0 win over Sassuolo, and while the Nerazzurri were far from convincing, coach Walter Mazzarri will be delighted with the three points after Walter Samuel scored the only goal of the game.
Serie A Results:
Fiorentina 2-0 Atalanta
Udinese 3-0 Chievo
Napoli 3-1 AC Milan
Torino 1-2 Bologna
Lazio 0-0 Roma
Sampdoria 1-0 Cagliari
Parma 0-0 Catania
Livorno 0-1 Genoa
Verona 2-2 Juventus
Inter 1-0 Sassuolo