Serie A Roundup: Revitalised Crotone shock Inter
ROME—Relegation-threatened Crotone shocked Inter 2-1 thanks to a brace from Italian forward Diego Falcinelli. Elsewhere there were important wins for Juventus, Roma and Napoli as the Serie A enters its closing stages.
Inter travelled to struggling Crotone with the expectation of picking up an easy win that would boost their chances of Europa League football next year. Instead, a resurgent Crotone overcame the odds to secure their second consecutive win in Serie A. On-loan Sassuolo striker, Falcinelli, converted a penalty on 18 minutes before doubling his side’s lead four minutes later through a well-taken finish. Inter pulled one back after half-time but Crotone hung on to move to within just three points of escaping the relegation zone.
Juventus continue to remain unfazed by the prospect of winning their sixth consecutive Serie A title as they cruised to victory against mid-table Chievo in Turin. Argentine striker Gonzalo Higauín continued his fine goalscoring run as he scored twice in a routine win that maintains the Bianconeri’s six-point lead at the top of the table. The reigning Serie A champions will be buoyed by their recent strong home performances as they welcome Barcelona on Tuesday evening in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
However, Roma continue to keep up the pressure on Juventus as they responded to the leader’s win with a comfortable 3-0 victory of their own against Bologna. Edin Dzeko scored his 34th goal of the season on 75 minutes after Federico Fazio and Mohammed Salah had previously given Roma the advantage. The Giallorossi’s fourth consecutive win keeps them within touching distance of Juve but they will need a flawless finish to the season to spoil the party in Turin.
In one of the weekend’s more surprising results, Napoli romped past Lazio 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico to all but end the Biancocelesti’s chances of playing Champions League football next season. In what would have been considered a must win game for the home side, they were utterly outclassed by a dominant Napoli performance as a goal from José Callejón and a brace from Lorenzo Insigne extended the gap between them and their opponents to seven points.
AC Milan eased past a forlorn Palermo outfit 4-0 as they keep up their hunt for a Europa League spot. Suso, Mario Pasalic, Carlos Bacca and on-loan Everton striker Gerard Deulofeu were all on target for Milan, as relegation becomes a matter of when rather than if for Palermo.
Torino overcame Caglieri 3-2 in the highest scoring game of the weekend, whilst Atalanta could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Sassuolo.
There were goals at the Stadio Friuli as Udinese waltzed past Genoa 3-0 and also at Sampadoria as the home side were held 2-2 by Fiorentina thanks to a last minute Khoma Babacar equaliser for the visitors.
Empoli could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to bottom of the table Pescara, as their recent run of poor results has sucked them into a relegation scrap with a revitalised Crotone. Empoli sit only three points above the relegation zone as their run of Serie A games without a win extends to 10.