WINDHOEK, OCT. 1 – Italian champions Juventus struck a huge blow in the Serie A title race this past weekend, claiming a 3-1 win over nearest rivals Napoli to open up a six-point lead at the head of the table after just seven rounds of matches.
Juve, featuring Moroccan Mehdi Benatia in defence, racked up win number six last midweek when goals from Paulo Dybala and Blaise Matuidi saw them defeat Ibrahima M’Baye’s Bologna 2-0.
Max Allegri side followed that up with a blockbuster 3-1 win over Napoli on Saturday night: Kalidou Koulibaly and the Naples team went ahead through Dries Mertens, but the Old Lady proved too strong in the end, as a brace of goals from Mario Mandzukic (and two assists from Cristiano Ronaldo) secured a key triumph.
If Napoli’s title hopes appear to already be fading, Internazionale’s ambitions are very much on the rise. Kwadwo Asamoah and Keita Balde’s Nerazzurri defeated Fiorentina 2-1 last week and followed it up with a 2-0 triumph over Cagliari to take significant strides up the table.
One could say the same for Roma, who have bounced back from the despair of back-to-back losses against Real Madrid and Bologna which threatened to see the end of manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s reign.
The Giallorossi first powered to a 4-0 win over Raman Chisbah’s Frosinone last midweek and followed it up with a 3-1 triumph over Lazio in the Rome derby, thanks to goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini, Aleksandar Kolarov and Federico Fazio.
“The choice to bring the team to the withdrawal is due to this; today the team have played a derby for men, a real men’s match. It makes it clear that it can not be a different team than the one I train. This is the attitude that will lead us to pick up fantastic results,” said Di Francesco after the derby.
Sassuolo had a mixed week, but they remain very much in Champions League contention at this early stage. The Green and Black defeated SPAL 2-0 away from home last Thursday, including a goal from Italian/Ghanaian Claud Adjapong, before suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Milan on Sunday.
The Rossoneri claimed their impressive victory at the MAPEI Stadium with an opening strike from Ivorian Franck Kessie. The result left Milan in 10th place, while Kevin-Prince Boateng’s Sassuolo are fifth and only out of the Champions League berths on goal difference.
Sunday also saw Gervinho score the only goal of the game as Parma defeated Empoli, Ola Aina put in an impressive showing for Torino in their 1-0 win at Chievo, and Christian Kouame provided two assists in Genoa’s 2-1 win at Frosinone.
The schedule for this latest round of Serie A matches wraps up on Monday night when Alfred Gomis’ SPAL play away to Sampdoria.
Serie A results, 25 September – 1 October
Tuesday 25 September
21:00: Internazionale 2-1 Fiorentina
Wednesday 26 September
19:00: Udinese 1-2 Lazio
21:00: Atalanta 0-0 Torino
21:00: Cagliari 0-0 Sampdoria
21:00: Genioa 2-0 Chievo
21:00: Juventus 2-0 Bologna
21:00: Napoli 3-0 Parma
21:00: Roma 4-0 Frosinone
Thursday 27 September
19:00: SPAL 0-2 Sassuolo
21:00: Empoli 1-1 Milan
Saturday 29 September
15:00: Roma 3-1 Lazio
18:00: Juventus 3-1 Napoli
20:30: Internazionale 2-0 Cagliari
Sunday 30 September
12:30: Bologna 2-1 Udinese
15:00: Chievo 0-1 Torino
15:00: Fiorentina 2-0 Atalanta
15:00: Forsinone 1-2 Genoa
18:00: Parma 1-0 Empoli
20:30: Sassuolo 1-4 Milan – Contributed