Juventus faced their toughest assignment of the Serie A campaign when the defending champions welcomed high-flying Napoli to Turin on Saturday night. In a tense encounter, Napoli’s prolific Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani came close in the first half when his free-kick struck the crossbar from an acute angle. For Juve, Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco registered shots off target as the top-of-the-table clash appeared set to finish in a stalemate. However, it was the Turin outfit’s own Uruguayan Martín Cáceres who finally made the breakthrough in the 80th minute with a thunderous header, before former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba scored his first goal for the club since joining this summer, volleying from outside Napoli’s area to seal maximum points. It leaves Juventus three points clear of Walter Mazzarri’s side and extends their unbeaten run to 47 games in Serie A ahead of a trip to Catania next weekend.
Surprisingly, AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani continues to back his manager Massimiliano Allegri despite the San Siro outfit hurtling towards the foot of the Serie A table at alarming speed following a 3-2 loss to Lazio on Saturday night. The Rome side took the lead in the 24th minute courtesy of Hernanes’ deflected effort, before Antonio Candreva’s speculative long-range effort moved dramatically in the air to beat Milan’s second-choice goalkeeper Marco Amelia. Any realistic hope of a comeback was quashed four minutes after half-time, with Germany international Miroslav Klose expertly connecting with Candreva’s cross to volley past Amelia. Perhaps in a sign Allegri has not lost his dressing room quite yet, Milan managed to mount a fightback of sorts, with former Manchester City midfielder Nigel De Jong poking a close-range effort in Lazio’s goal, followed shortly after by Stephan El Shaarawy’s fifth goal of the season. But the Eagles clung on to move into third position, while Milan are languishing in 15th place – but for Siena’s six-point penalty, Allegri’s side would be level on points with the 18th and 19th-placed sides.
Roma president Thomas Di Benedetto is a minority partner in Fenway Sports Group, the company that bought Liverpool in 2010, and both clubs are currently in transition. But while Brendan Rodgers’ men are struggling for goals this season, Roma continue to score for fun with a 4-2 victory over Genoa on Sunday meaning only Juventus have netted more in Serie A this season. Former Roma striker Marco Boriello teed up Juraj Kucka to put Genoa ahead within seven minutes and Bosko Janckovic doubled their advantage to put the home side in control in a breathtaking opening 15 minutes. But Zdeněk Zeman’s side responded, with Francesco Totti scoring his 217th Serie A goal in clinical style before Italy international Pablo Osvaldo levelled the match on the stroke of half-time. The former Espanyol striker made it 3-2 with a header from Totti’s corner and Erik Lamela netted Roma’s fourth in the 83rd minute to move Roma into fifth position, four points behind bitter rivals Lazio, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.
This edition’s goal of the week goes to Candreva for his stunning long-range strike in Lazio’s 3-2 victory over Milan.