Serie A roundup: Juventus win, Napoli lose; gap at the top is now 9
A roundup of the weekend’s action in Italy’s top flight…
Juventus 4-0 Palermo
Remember the months of August and September? You know, when everyone thought Juventus wouldn’t win a fifth-straight Serie A title? Those were fun times, believing in parity and intrigue in Italy’s top division. That was a long time ago.
Fast forward seven months, and Juve haven’t lost a league game in 23 outings and have dropped just two points during that time (their last league defeat came on Oct. 28). Following Sunday’s 4-0 hammering of Palermo, their lead atop the league table stands at nine points with five games left to be played.
Sami Khedira, Paul Pogba, Juan Cuadrado and Simone Padoin provided all the goals Juve would need (and more) on the day, as Massimiliano Allegri’s side needs to gain just seven more points between points won themselves and points dropped by Napoli to complete their half-decade of dominance.
Inter Milan 2-0 Napoli
Juve’s nine-point lead was made possible by Napoli’s 2-0 defeat away to Inter Milan on Saturday. Playing once again without their talisman (and scorer of 30 goals in 31 league games this season) Gonzalo Higuain (suspension), Napoli created very little (10 shots in total) and threatened the Inter goal even less (two shots on target).
Mauro Icard’s 15th league goal of the season put the hosts ahead after four minutes, and Marcelo Brozovic added a bit of insurance just before halftime. Napoli’s lead on Roma in the race for second (and automatic qualification to the UEFA Champions League group stage) now stands at just five points.
Atalanta 3-3 Roma
Roma could have moved to within three points of Napoli, but instead they drew away to Atalanta in a 3-3 barnburner on Sunday. Lucas Digne and Radja Nainggolan put Roma two goals ahead just before the half-hour mark, but Atalanta responded with three of their own between minutes 33 and 50. Francesco Totti entered the game in the 78th minute and made a quick impact, bagging an equalizer in the 85th.
The point sees Roma stay four points clear of Inter in the race for third, though they entered the weekend six ahead.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Fiorentina 3-1 Sassuolo
Sampdoria 0-1 AC Milan
Lazio 2-0 Empoli
Hellas Verona 1-2 Frosinone
Bologna 0-1 Torino
Carpi 4-1 Genoa
Udinese 0-0 Chievo