It was yet again another whirlwind weekend in the world of calcio. Round 7 brought plenty of notable performances and drama, with several regular International Champions Cup participants yielding mixed results, yet still providing the action we all have to come to expect from the league.
Saturday saw AC Milan visit the Marassi to play Genoa, two clubs employing managers currently on the hot seat amidst treacherous starts to the campaign. Former Ajax midfielder Lasse Schöne put the hosts ahead after deputy goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s howler. Eventually, Brazilian starlet Lucas Paquetá, newcomers Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leão, helped steer the Rossoneri back on track with a second half surge to earn a nail biting 2-1 win despite a Davide Calabria red card and late conceded penalty.
Three points will certainly help calm some nerves heading into the international break, but manager Marco Giampaolo’s future remains in doubt. As for skipper Eusebio Di Francesco, his fate has already been decided following Sampdoria’s 2-0 defeat away to newly promoted Hellas Verona as it was announced Monday the sixth loss from seven would be the final nail in the coffin on his time in charge.
Days after 36-year old Frenchman Franck Ribéry was crowned Serie A Player of the Month for September after rolling back the years in a drubbing of Milan, his ACF Fiorentina continued to move from strength to strength, with Vincenzo Montella’s side riding Serbian defender Nikola Milenković’s goal to their third straight win. With this result over Udinese, La Viola moved into the top half of the table and ensured Rocco Commisso’s ambitions for the club are beginning to align with a positive run of form.
Elsewhere on the peninsula, Italy’s capital clubs AS Roma and SS Lazio produced a myriad of moments behind refereeing controversy and goals. The Giallorossi fell behind early as a farcical penalty ruled against them led to Cagliari’s João Pedro opening the scoring, only to be spurred on to chase three points with Luca Ceppitelli’s own goal in the 31st minute.
Forced to settle with a 1-1 draw, Roma’s fellow Stadio Olimpico tenant Lazio four goals were split equally in a seesaw affair as Azzurri striker Ciro Immobile’s brace ultimately ensured the club did not drop points to Bologna in a thrilling 2-2 finish.
Though there were a bevy of fixtures to recap, goals to sift through and drama to digest, none delivered more more than the weekend’s main event, the marquee matchup between Inter and Juventus.
Sunday afternoon set the stage for the rivaling outfits to collide at the San Siro, authoring another chapter in the Derby d’Italia’s history. Breaking a record for gate receipts estimated at €6.5 million with an attendance exceeding 75,000, supporters flooded the stands hoping to see these two giants placed 1st and 2nd go at each other like a heavyweights in a prize fight to deliver a performance reminiscent of calcio’s glory years, and they were richly rewarded.
Paulo Dybala’s early snap shot left footed strike had Juventus ahead, with Lautaro Martinez punching right back through an equalizer from the spot after a Matthijs de Ligt handball. Sarri’s double switch to bring in Rodrigo Bentancur and Gonzalo Higuaín proved decisive in the end as the two linked up to grab the lead and see out a 2-1 win to knock Inter off their perch atop the table.
Serie A football will take a brief backseat to the international break before the restart in two weeks time.