It was a poor weekend for the two Milan sides who lost ground in the Serie A title race. Three teams in the top six heading into match week 19 dropped points, meaning the momentum has swung direction once again.
Inter and AC stumble
The biggest game of the weekend came at San Siro, where Milan were blown away by Atalanta in a 3-0 defeat. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were at their fluent and dynamic best. Goals from Cristian Romero, Josip Illicic, and Duvan Zapata meant they have now achieved their best points tally at the half-way point of a Serie A season.
Despite a strong start, Milan were powerless to resist the intensity of Atalanta’s performance. Illicic ran the game without breaking a sweat, and the Rossoneri struggled to create many chances of note at all.
This meant Juve had a great chance to make up some ground in Sunday’s early kick-off. Despite a few less than convincing defensive moments, they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at home to Bologna. The goals came in each half from Arthur Melo and Weston McKennie.
It was McKennie that heavily influenced the game. His relentless energy and commitment in the midfield meant Bologna found it near impossible to get the ball up to the forwards at times. That result means Andrea Pirlo’s side are just seven points behind Milan with a game in hand.
Drama in Rome
The prize for the most entertaining match has to go to AS Roma and Spezia, who played out a fascinating ding-dong battle that ended 4-3 to the Giallorossi. The match was 1-1 at half time, but Roma soon raced into a 3-1 lead. Diego Farias made it 3-2 with half an hour to play, and then former Roma man Daniele Verdi made it 3-3 in stoppage time. It seemed Roma had hit crisis point again, but then in the 92nd minute, Lorenzo Pellegrini dug them out of trouble. That win keeps Paolo Fonseca’s side in 3rd, six points off the top.
Napoli dropped from 3rd to 6th this weekend, after they were beaten 3-1 by the ever-entertaining Hellas Verona. Ivan Juric tactically outwitted Gennaro Gattuso, aided by goals from Federico Dimarco, Antonin Barak, and Mattia Zaccagni.
Lazio edged past Sassuolo 2-1 at home, and there were also wins for Fiorentina, Genoa, and Sampdoria. The only draw of the weekend took place at Benevento, who played out a 2-2 stalemate with Torino.
The bottom three now consists of Crotone, Parma, and Cagliari in ascending order.
Milan still lead the way on 43 points, but Inter sit just two points behind them. Roma and Juve round out the top four, with Atalanta, Napoli, and Lazio following just behind.