Milan secure comeback win while Inter fail again.
Seemingly powering their way toward a third consecutive Scudetto, a ruthless Juventus were stopped on Saturday night as their week in Rome turned out to be somewhat of a nightmare.
Following on from their Coppa Italia elimination to Roma in mid-week, the Bianconeri were held by Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico which ultimately ended their 12-game winning streak.
Gianluigi Buffon was dismissed and will now miss next weekend’s encounter with bitter rivals Inter, although Fernando Llorente’s late goal prevented defeat as the Spaniard cancelled out Antonio Candreva’s opener.
However, having finally slipped up, Roma were able to take full advantage with their 3-1 win at Hellas Verona, which moved them to within six points of the leaders.
Goals from Adem Ljajic, Gervinho and Francesco Totti sealed the points for the visitors, and given Verona’s strong home performances so far this season, it is a difficult place to go and win.
Coupled with Napoli’s draw at home against Chievo, it was a perfect weekend for Rudi Garcia and his players, as they look to remain in the hunt for the title whilst also securing a top-three finish.
“In Verona we have given a strong signal in the championship and a positive boost to the ranking,” Totti said after the game on his personal website, as reported by Football Italia.
Having started the season strongly, the capital club appeared to be slipping off the pace prior to the winter break. However, they have regrouped and are continuing their growth this season as they will look ahead to making the most of their lack of European commitments next month.
Elsewhere, there was further misery for Inter boss Walter Mazzarri, as his side were unable to break down bottom-of-the-table Catania at San Siro.
The Nerazzurri are under pressure both on and off the pitch after their inability to get deals done in the transfer market, and they remain without a win in 2014 as they continue to struggle.
Mazzarri hinted that the players are now becoming scared of playing in front of their fans, such is the tension at San Siro, and has called upon the supporters to back the players and save their protests away from the games.
For the majority of Sunday afternoon, it appeared as though city rivals AC Milan would also be joining in on a disappointing weekend, but a late show from Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini ensured Clarence Seedorf picked up his second win in two league games.
The Rossoneri looked to be struggling against Cagliari as their defensive frailties came to the fore again. However, two goals in the last five minutes of the game turned things around and the result will undoubtedly boost confidence moving forward.
However, Seedorf still has much to prove as although he was able to obtain a result in Sardinia, there are question marks over how long it may take for him to implement his preferred style of football as he praised the “mental strength” of the players to produce a comeback.
The Dutchman will welcome Michael Essien to his squad this week after the former Chelsea man completed his medicals at the weekend, but it remains to be seen what impact he is able to provide.
Fiorentina ended the weekend’s action at home to Genoa, and the Viola suffered a blow to their chances of securing a Champions League berth after being held in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Vincenzo Montella has been hit with several injuries to key players over the season, and in the absence of Giuseppe Rossi, Mario Gomez and Borja Valero, they were unable to find a way to win despite a hat-trick from Alberto Aquilani.
Serie A Results:
Napoli 1-1 Chievo
Lazio 1-1 Juventus
Verona 1-3 Roma
Cagliari 1-2 Milan
Parma 1-0 Udinese
Torino 1-0 Atalanta
Sampdoria 1-1 Bologna
Inter 0-0 Catania
Livorno 3-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 3-3 Genoa