Ah, calcio. The gift that keeps on giving.
The most exciting title race in YEARS took another turn on Matchday 31 as the leaders faltered after their leading challengers both secured massive victories away from home.
The league’s most in-form side are also making a push for the top-four, with several European spots well up for grabs.
At the bottom, minimal success means the situation hasn’t changed dramatically. Although, Spezia all but confirmed their presence in the top-flight for the 2022/23 season.
Serie A Matchday 31 round-up
Here’s a round-up of all the action across Serie A on a drama-laden Matchday 31.
Inter & Napoli pile the pressure on Milan
We’ve got a three-horse race for the title, folks.
Inter and Napoli heaped the pressure on league leaders AC Milan as they both secured MASSIVE victories on Sunday. First, Napoli, who were without leading marksman Victor Osimhen, beat Atalanta 3-1 in Bergamo.
Luciano Spalletti’s side raced into a 2-0 lead at half-time before Marten De Roon halved the deficit before the hour. The Neapolitans were under the cosh, but just when it looked like they’d succumb to Atalanta’s ever-increasing pressure, Elif Elmas re-established Napoli’s two-goal advantage after rounding off a rapid counter-attack.
Then, as Juventus fans very much know, Inter ground out a hugely impressive 1-0 win in the Derby d’Italia on Sunday night to reignite their Scudetto hopes while simultaneously ending the Bianconeri’s.
As a result, Milan were level on points with Napoli and just three ahead of Inter, who have a game in hand, as they played host to Bologna on Monday night. And, once again, the Rossoneri’s woes against middling opposition reared their ugly head.
Bologna gave as good as they got in a goalless draw as Milan could only extend their lead at the top to a point.
Watch out for Jose’s Roma
With Juve’s defeat to Inter all but ending their unlikely title charge, their focus before the season’s up will be to secure a top-four finish. And while Atalanta have fallen off the face of calcio, a new contender for the final Champions League spot has emerged in the form of AS Roma.
The Giallorossi are Serie A’s most in-form side, having claimed the most points from their last six games in the league. Jose Mourinho’s side haven’t tasted defeat in Serie A since they succumbed to a miraculous Juventus comeback in January, and they won once again – away at Sampdoria – on Matchday 31.
A flowing team move was finished off by Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the game’s only goal at the Marassi.
Other potential European contenders Lazio and Fiorentina claimed narrow victories on Matchday 31. The Biancocolesti bounced back from their humbling derby defeat by defeating the in-form Sassuolo 2-1, while La Viola beat Empoli 1-0 in a Tuscan derby.
Winless at the bottom
Spezia, not for the first time, claimed victory in an imperative six-pointer in the context of the relegation fight. Thiago Motta’s side beat Venezia 1-0 thanks to a dramatic late winner from Emmanuel Gyasi. The victory extended Spezia’s advantage over 18th-placed Venezia to ten points.
They’re safe, right?
Venezia, though, have safety within their reach despite losing their last five. With Cagliari losing 5-1 at Udinese on Matchday 31, the Venetians are just three adrift of Walter Mazzarri’s side with a game in hand.
Brazilian Beto was the star of Udinese’s rout, bagging a hat-trick, but it was Nahuel Molina who scored the goal of Matchday 31 with a delightful chip from distance.
Genoa, meanwhile, lost for the first time under Alexander Blessin as they were beaten 1-0 away at Hellas Verona. As for Salernitana, well, they’re down, aren’t they? They lost again on Matchday 31, this time at home to Torino.