Serie a Wrap: Juventus, AC Milan and Inter All Draw as Table Remains Tight
As we near the conclusion of Matchweek 13, the Serie A table is beginning to take on a more complete form.
Though I'm speaking before the obligatory Monday night game, this was a week in which all the big boys drew, and as parity reigned, the top of the table remained tight.
Let's take a look at some of the scores and news from around Italy.
Palermo are ruing the two penalties they conceded to Bologna, but they were roundly defeated by the home side 3-0 nevertheless . In conceding the second penalty, Samir Ujkani managed to get himself sent off, giving Palermo no chance of coming back.
They hover dangerously above the relegation zone in 16th place.
On his return from injury, Sergio Almiron made up for lost time. The Catania man put two past Chievo to cap a marvelous return and sink the visitors, whose only goal came during stoppage time.
It was not evident early on that Chievo would be in trouble. They started much the better side, but Catania eventually grew into the game and claimed a deserved win.
Fiorentina smashed Atalanta 4-1, as Alberto Aquilani netted two goals to continue his current purple patch.
After a half-hour the score was level due to a good piece of opportunism by Giacomo Bonaventura, but Aquilani smashed a delicious free-kick past the goalkeeper mere minutes later, and Atalanta never recovered.
After another Aquilani goal, Luca Toni put the icing on the cake late on.
In one of the most dramatic games of the weekend, Udinese and Parma drew 2-2 after exchanging blows for the entire game.
Antonio Di Natale opened with a penalty, before Marco Marchionni and Roberto Pereyra cancelled out each other's strikes.
An Udinese win seemed to be on the cards, but Raffaele Palladino came up big in stoppage time with a sweet lob to steal a point for Parma.
Though Juventus dominated Lazio throughout their fixture in Turin, consistently fabulous goalkeeping by Federico Marchetti kept the home side at bay. One slip out of many opportunities could have easily opened the flood gates.
Juve thoroughly dominated possession, but were not nearly as threatening as they could have been—it just didn't appear as though the team was firing on all cylinders. Though Gianluigi Buffon was rarely troubled, there was not enough produced at the other end.
Lazio will be thrilled to have gotten out of Turin with a point, and it was probably no less than they deserved.
AC Milan have had Stephan El Shaarawy to thank for many of their recent results, and Serie A's top scorer delivered twice more today to steal a point for the Rossoneri.
Christian Abbiati had a terrible day in goal for Milan, and Gokhan Inler was in vintage form for Napoli, but when a man as unstoppable as El Shaaraawy is right now is on the pitch, anything can happen.
Lo and behold, it did.
Down 2-0 early on, he pulled one back in stunning fashion just before half-time, and sealed the draw seven minutes from full-time with a calm, collected finish.
Handed a rare opportunity to gain ground on Juventus, Inter Milan drew 2-2 against Cagliari and squandered their chance.
It could have been a lot worse for Inter, though, because an own-goal inside the last 10 minutes of normal time gave them a point that they probably did not deserve.
Man of the match Marco Sau scored two goals in a dominating display, but Davide Astori bundled the ball into his own net when the game just needed to be managed to its conclusion.
In the end, Inter should be happy with their luck, rather than cursing what might have been if they made the most of their home advantage.
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