Serie A round-up: Napoli extend lead at top, rotation costs Juve dearly, Icardi continues fine form and more

It was another eventful week in Italy’s top flight this weekend with a number of high profile clashes, derby day drama and another twist in the title race.

No stopping Napoli

Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli side have been the team to watch in Serie A this season, and they entered matchday 13 one point above reigning champions Juventus. Gli Azzurri knew that a win over a struggling AC Milan side would take them four points clear of Bianconeri (for 24 hours at least.)

After a fast start to the game, the league leaders opened the scoring as Lorenzo Insigne broke past Milan’s high line before tucking the ball home to give Napoli a lead just before the interval.

Former Liverpool target Piotr Zielinski doubled the lead late in the second half, as he latched onto Dries Mertens’ through ball before squeezing the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Milan goal to give Napoli breathing space.

AC Milan found the back of the net late on through an unlikely source, as defender Alessio Romagnoli’s sweet volley beat Pepe Reina from range, but it proved to be to little to late from a Rossoneri point of view.

Samp spring surprise

After Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, captain Gianluigi Buffon was left on the bench alongside fellow countryman Andrea Barzagli and star striker Paolo Dybala. This decision would prove to be costly for Mass Allegri.

Sampdoria had done well to contain Juventus in a tight first half of football, but La Samp went goal crazy in the second half racing into a 3-0 lead within 35 minutes courtesy of goals from Duvan Zapata, Fabio Quaqliarella and Lucas Torreira. However, Juventus’ Argentine frontline were on hand to take some gloss off of the scoreline as Higuain and Dybala both netted in additional time to make it 3-2. A big win for Sampdoria who aid their hopes of European football next season, whilst The Old Lady lose ground on Napoli at the summit of Italian football.

Roma restore bragging rights.

Roma vs Lazio was highlighted by many as the mouth-watering tie of the weekend, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Lazio were 3-1 winners in this fixture last year, and it looked like they could be heading for another win in Rome this time round, as Ciro Immobile fired Simone Izaghi’s side into an early lead.

Diego Perroti levelled proceedings in the second half, as he tucked his penalty past Thomas Strakosha to make it one each. Radja Nainggolan proved to be the hero once more, as his long range piledriver sealed a fifth successive win in Serie A.

In-form Icardi

Inter Milan knew that a win over Atalanta would see them leapfrog Juventus and move up to 2nd in the table, just two points off of leaders Napoli.

After a goalless first half, Mauro Icardi netted twice in the space of 10 second half minutes as his 12th and 13th goals of the season extended their 13 game unbeaten run in Serie A.

Benevento’s blues

Benevento’s search for a first point of the season goes on as the Serie A new-boys lost for the 13th straight league game, making it the worst ever start to any top flight campaign across Europe’s top five leagues. Breaking Manchester United’s 12 game winless run back in 1930/31 season.

De Zerbi’s side started strongly in the first half and went into the break tied with Sassuolo at 0-0. But, Alessandro Matri broke the deadlock on 57 minutes to give Sassuolo the lead. Samuel Armenteros then levelled proceedings, but shortly after the Oreste Vigorito faithful would be up in arms, as Letizia was sent for an early bath.

The referee was not making himself popular with the home fans, and he would soon turn villain once more as he awarded Sassuolo a penalty in the dying embers of the game. Domenico Berardi couldn’t convert his spotkick and it looked as though Benevento were set for a first point of the season…..until Federico Peluso netted a 94th minute winner.

Another week of drama, despair and delight in Serie A (dependent on your affiliate.)

featured image credit Rossoneri Blog