It was looking like a quiet weekend of football in Serie A. Headed into the weekend’s last game there hadn’t been the usual crazy game or wacky result. Roma had beaten Frosinone at the death and Juventus had eeked past Bologna, but they were not great games to talk about. However, when we all needed it most, Inter Milan and Fiorentina turned up with the game of the weekend.
Serie A Weekend: Inter Milan’s Wild Month Continues
Fiorentina 3-3 Inter Milan
When Inter travelled to Florence to take on Fiorentina, they knew they were in for a test. La Viola are unbeaten since the start of the new year, are in a Coppa Italia semi-final and have been scoring for fun. In the last month, they put seven past Roma, four past Chievo and SPAL, and three past Sampdoria. After one minute against Inter, they had their opening goal through a lovely finish from Stefan de Vrij.
From that moment on, this game was crazier than Inter’s last few weeks combined. They got an equalizer through Mattias Vecino in the sixth minute, with VAR needed to confirm the goal. Then they took a 2-1 lead when Matteo Politano did his best Arjen Robben impersonation with a left-footed curler and, after Inter were awarded a pretty awful penalty to take a 3-1 lead, it looked like they could cruise.
Fiorentina had other ideas, though. First, defender Cristiano Biraghi had a goal ruled out by VAR because Luis Muriel whacked Inter defender Danilo D’Ambrossio in the shin. It was the right call to rule it out, but that wouldn’t stop Muriel. About five minutes, later he pegged Inter back with a lovely free-kick.
Muriel has been outstanding for Fiorentina since coming back to Italy from Sevilla in January. The Colombian has now scored five goals in eight games for La Viola, and they have been some huge goals. But not as big as what was to come in this game.
VAR at it Again
In the 96th minute of seven added on, the referee gave a penalty against Inter for handball. When the first replay was shown on TV, it was clear the ball hit the player’s chest, not his arm. So, VAR got involved and told the referee to have another look at it, and he went over to the monitor to have a look.
After at least two minutes at the monitor, the referee came back over and stuck with his original decision. Eventually, Fiorentina’s Jordan Vertout dispatched the penalty, but it should not have been given. It gave Fiorentina a point in one of wildest games of the Serie A season, but the lost point by Inter is more interesting.
After Roma and AC Milan had picked up all three points this weekend, Inter could not afford to drop points. They now only sit two points above their city rivals, but it’s worse than that. AC Milan have been playing much better football than Inter, and look like they could overtake them, a thought that was unthinkable a few months ago.
AC Milan 3-0 Empoli
The reason for such a great resurgence at AC Milan? There has been plenty of talk about it, but its all about Krzysztof Piatek and Lucas Paqueta. The pair were at their best again on Friday, with Piatek getting another goal. That’s now seven goals for him in a Milan shirt but, more impressively, that’s now 27 goals in 29 games in his first season in Italy.
It’s hard to think of another player that has hit the ground running in Italy quite like Piatek. He was completely unheard of and cost Genoa only £4 million just this summer. Now, he’s scoring all the time for one of the biggest clubs in world football, but his introduction has come with a team getting better and better.
They have a real chance at a trophy when they take on Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday. If they can get past Lazio, they await the winner of Atalanta v Fiorentina in the final. With Piatek and co playing so well, they are the clear favourites for a major trophy for the first time in a while.
After an awful performance which has earned plenty of criticism, Juventus bounced back with a win on the road against Bologna, but this game will do little to silence criticism of Max Allegri and his side. They were not good, they were out-possessed by Bologna and needed Paulo Dybala to come off the bench and score the winner.
It has been a few weeks now since Juventus looked at their best. The cup loss to Atalanta, the loss against Atletico in Madrid, and now this game, does not look good. They have a trip to Napoli coming next weekend and will need to be at their best against them, but lately, their midfield has been non-existent and their team has suffered because of it.
Today against Bologna and on Wednesday against Atletico, they failed to create almost anything through the midfield, but what is worse is that both teams cut up their midfield and created chances while only one team took them. Next weekend in Naples, Napoli will take those chances and that should frighten Allegri and his side.