Moroccan makes instant impact but can’t prevent Rossoneri losing.
It was a mixed weekend for Serie A’s top clubs as Napoli and AC Milan put on a show at the San Paolo on Saturday before Hellas Verona held champions Juventus, much to the frustration of coach Antonio Conte.
Making his debut for the Rossoneri, former QPR star Adel Taarabt proved to be an instant hit as his well-taken goal capped off an impressive first appearance for the club.
1. AC Milan – Adel Taarabt
The 24-year-old was direct, full of ideas and tracked back tirelessly as he instantly repaid the faith shown in him by coach Clarence Seedorf, and although Mario Balotelli struggled to influence the game, the Dutchman will be pleased from what he saw from his January signing.
2. Napoli – Gokhan Inler
However, Taarabt’s early goal was cancelled out by Gokhan Inler’s long-distance strike, while Gonzalo Higuain hit a brace to secure all three points for Rafa Benitez.
Meanwhile, despite two goals from Carlos Tevez, Juve were unable to take advantage of Roma being held in the Derby della Capitale, as Luca Toni and Ignacio Gomez hit back for Hellas Verona to earn a point.
3. Hellas Verona – Luca Toni
Conte was said to be furious with his players after the game, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting on Monday morning that he had cancelled their scheduled rest day.
Nevertheless, they maintain their nine point lead over Roma, although the Giallorossi do have a game in hand which could allow them to continue to put the pressure on as Juve must cope with the added strain of the Europa League.
Elsewhere, Fiorentina sealed a 2-0 win over Atalanta to keep the pressure on Napoli for third place and Champions League football, with Josip Ilicic’s free-kick arguably the goal of the weekend.
4. Fiorentina – Josip Ilicic
Despite previous plans of retiring at the end of the season, Antonio Di Natale showed on Saturday that he still has plenty of scoring left in him as he helped guide Udinese to a 3-0 win over Chievo. The veteran striker scored a brilliant half-volley from a tight angle to open the scoring, before the Zebrette made the points safe with two more goals.
5. Udinese – Antonio Di Natale