Five things you may have missed in Serie A


Milan (AFP) – Napoli pulled four points clear at the top of Serie A on Monday with a 5-0 hammering of Cagliari a day after champions Juventus’ game in Turin was snowed off.

Maurizo Sarri’s side have 69 points from 26 matches, four points ahead of Juventus, who have a game in hand, with Lazio moving up to third after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Sassuolo.

Here are five things you may have missed from the 26th round of Serie A matches:

Zapata wonder goal

Sampadoria striker Duvan Zapata scored a wonder goal in his side’s 2-1 win over Udinese which evoked memories of Geroge Weah’s famous strike for AC Milan in 1996. 

“I’ve never seen his (Weah) goal, they told me about the resemblance, but actually I just wanted to give (Fabio) Quagliarella the ball,” said the Colombian international. “It was meant to be a cross.”

Zapata took possession of the ball behind his own penalty area and made a solo dash past Ivorian midfielder Seko Fofana and defenders to lob into the corner of the net for his eighth goal this season.

Roma players ‘go missing’

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco accused his players of “going missing” in the second half of their 2-0 home defeat with AC Milan’s youth-academy recruits Patrick Cutrone and Davide Calabria scoring.

“We went missing after they scored in the second half, which is worrying and something we should think about,” said Di Francesco.

Radja Nainggolan, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under all asked to be substituted in the second half.

“Nainggolan went off without a tooth and was feeling a little dizzy,” said Di Francesco of the Belgian who lost a tooth in a clash with Franck Kessie.

Gattuso surprising even AC Milan

AC Milan managing director Marco Fassone admitted even club bosses were surprised at the impact coach Gennaro Gattuso was having after extending his unbeaten run to 12 matches and reviving their hopes of a Champions League spot.

“Maybe even we didn’t expect this and we can only take our hats off to his work. I also have to congratulate (sporting director Massimiliano) Mirabelli, who pushed me to make this choice,” said Fassone of the decision to appoint the former AC Milan youth coach last November.

“The most surprising thing is the speed of Gattuso in making the team motivated and able to achieve results. The lads believe in him, things have changed, winning helps you win.”

Napoli in “unknown territory”

Coach Maurizio Sarri said his side were in “unknown territory” as they bid to snatch the Serie A title from six-time defending champions Juventus.

“It’s unknown territory for us,” said Sarri as Napoli chase a third Scudetto and first since 1990. “Juve are a great team, who have infinite qualities, otherwise they would not be between 90 and 100 points for seven years now,” he said after their 5-0 win at Cagliari.

“I hope to get to 100 points. But for us it would be unknown territory, we don’t know if we can get there. 

“I told the lads that of the 12 games left we have to win 11 and draw one,” he added with Napoli’s next two games against Roma and Inter Milan.

Skriniar lost in translation

Slovak international Milan Skriniar headed in Inter Milan’s opening goal in a 2-0 win over Benevento and dismissed talk of a move away from the San Siro as a problem of translation.

The 23-year-old moved from Sampdoria last summer but there had been increasing speculation over his future after a recent interview given in Slovak.

“The translation was wrong, all it takes is to change two or three words and it changes the meaning,” said Skriniar. “I’ve never said I wanted to leave, just that anything can happen. I see myself here at Inter for many years.”

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