Ciarán Murphy gives you the 5 talking points from GW 21 of Serie A
1. Inter struggle at Sassuolo
On Sunday afternoon Sassuolo jumped ahead of Inter to eight in the Serie A table after recording their first ever victory over the Nerrazurri. Twice in their last three meetings Inter had won 7-0 but at the Mapei Stadium it was Sassuolo who made the most of their chances.
Roberto Mancini was forced to make wholesale changes to his team due to injuries and suspensions. Juan Jesus, Danilo D’ambrosia, Yuto Nagatomo, Hugo Campagnaro and Jonathan were all missing.
Inter started the better of the two teams and were passing the ball with purpose. Early chances fell to Isaac Donkor and Nemanja Vidic but both attempts were well saved.
Sassuolo then took the lead against the run of play. Simone Zaza finished emphatically after turning his marker smartly. This was Sassuolo’s first ever goal they had managed to score against Inter.
The Vervoerdi kept pushing and doubled their lead on the half hour mark. Another sensational strike, this time from Sansone, who unleashed a rocket which bounced in off the under side of the bar.
Inter came out hungry in the second half with Xherdan Shaqiri looking dangerous. However he could not convert any of his chances and it remained 2-0 to Sassuolo.
Inter were handed a lifeline in the 83rd minute when Francesco Magnanelli left his back pass short allowing Mauro Icardi to slot home. Just as it looked as if Inter might push for an equaliser both teams lost their tempers.
This resulted in a red card for Sansone for following through on Shaqiri and a second yellow for Donor who was judged to have pushed Zaza off the ball. Domenico Beradi slotted home the resulting penalty to secure the three points.
Result: Sassuolo 3 – 1 Inter
2. Milan get off the mark for 2015
Milan recorded their first victory in Serie A in 2015 after beating Parma 2-1 at the San Siro.
Milan have not been having a great time of late. New boys Mattia Destro and Salvatore Bocchetti were brought straight into the first eleven, with Alessio Cerci and Keisuke Honda were also included.
Things have hit rock bottom for Parma and it now looks as if all hope has been lost. Antonio Cassano terminated his contract after claiming he hasn’t been paid in six months.
Milan were awarded an early penalty when Cristian Rodriquez was judged to have handled the ball. Jeremy Menez slotted the resulting spot kick to put Milan one clear.
Typical of Milan of late instead of asserting their dominance they let their lead slip. Andrea Poli failed to deal with a free kick from Daniele Galloppa and Nocerina reacted the quickest to tap in from six yards.
Milan started to play again after the equaliser with Alex and Destro creating the best two chances but they could not finish. Destro and Marco Van Ginkel looked like a promising combination for Milan going forward.
Menez grabbed his second in the 57th minute after a smart cross from Cerci allowed Menez to finish well. Milan added a third goal to seal the win when Zaccardo broke from the defence, exchanged passes with Menez before firing into the net.
Result: Milan 3 – 1 Parma
3. Roma slip up at home
Coming into the game at the Stadio Olimpico the pressure was on the Giallorossi after four draws in the last five had allowed Juventus to open up a seven point lead in Serie A.
Roma’s team was heavily changed due to the news Kevin Strootman’s season is over, and Daniele De Rossi, Leandro Castan and Fredrico Balzaretti were injured.
Empoli looked dangerous on the break from the opening. In the 40th minute Riccardo Saponera broke the offside trap before been taken down by Kostas Manolas. A red card was shown before Massimo Macaroni put Empoli are ahead.
Roma equalised just before the hour mark with a smart finish from Maicon. Roma looked like a different team in the second half but could not find a winner.
Result: Roma 1 – 1 Empoli
4. Juventus held by Udinese
Juventus had the chance to go nine points clear at the top of Serie A but failed to find a way past Udinese. Juve badly missed Aturo Vidal, Kwadwo Asamoah, Romulo and the suspended Claudio Marchisio.
Udinese looked most dangerous on the counter attack and Bruno Fernandes missed after a good interchange of passes. Cyril Thereau was the next to get a chance and only managed to test Gigi Buffon.
Pual Pogba tried his best to find a breakthrough but his effort was easily smothered by Orestis Karnezis. Overall Juventus created very little in the first half and looked short of ideas.
In the second half Alvaro Morata and in particular Carlos Tevez missed guilt edge opportunities for the Turin giants. Di Natale also missed a good chance for Udinese which sealed the stale 0-0 draw.
Result: Udinese 0 – 0 Juventus
5. Napoli hang on in Cheivo
Napoli were forced to work hard for their 2-1 win at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday. This is a win which moves them to within four points of Roma.
Rafael Benitez’s men went one up after 18 minutes through a bizarre own goal. Gonzalo Higuain found Albano Bizzarri in an onside position and his shot deflected off the face of Bostjan Cesar and into the net.
Chievo equalised seven minutes later through an equally sloppy goal. Rafael failed to deal with a cross and could only manage to parry it into a group of bodies in front of him before watching it roll into his net.
Both Napoli and Chievo created chances in an attempt to steal the three points. Pelisse came close with a header for Chievo while Higuain always looked dangerous for Napoli.
Napoli eventually took the lead just after the hour mark. Ivan Strinic, who looked lively throughout the game, set up Gabbiadini who controlled, turned and finished confidently.
Chievo pushed hard for an equaliser with Ivan Radovanovic coming closest but Napoli hung on.
Result: Chievo 1 -2 Napoli