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Serie A Weekly: Inter sink Roma, Napoli’s comeback holds Milan, historic scenes in Sardinia

A Serie A weekend headlined by the derbies, produced breathtaking moments, out-of-this-world comebacks and late drama.

We walk you through the happenings of the Serie A Matchday 10.

Juventus leave it late to beat Verona

A nervy contest at the Allianz Stadium, highlighted by controversial VAR interventions, saw Juventus score a 96th-minute winner to overcome out-of-sorts Hellas Verona 1-0 on Saturday night. 

Moise Kean, who scored winning goals in both Serie A meetings between the sides last season, ran the show in Turin but had VAR working against him.

The ex-Everton striker thought he had opened the scoring with a brilliant solo goal, only to see his long-range strike disallowed for the tightest offside calls you’ll witness in Serie A this term.

Kean netted again at the beginning of the second half, but referee Ermano Feliciani disallowed the goal for a foul in the build-up after consulting with a side-pitch monitor.

When it looked like Verona would weather the storm and take home a precious point, Andrea Cambiaso tapped in the rebound inside the six-yard box to catapult Massimiliano Allegri’s side to second in the table.

Incredible scenes in Sardinia

Undoubtedly the most enthralling encounter of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign took place at Unipol Domus as newly-promoted Cagliari and Frosinone traded tackles in a seven-goal thriller.

Juventus loanee Matias Soule netted two unanswered first-half goals to fire the visitors 2-0 up at the break, although Claudio Ranieri’s side had a chance to score from the spot.

When Marco Brescianini made it 3-0 only four minutes into the second half, it seemed like Marco Mancosu’s first-half penalty miss would return to haunt Cagliari. 

However, not even the most optimistic Sardinian fans could’ve predicted what was coming.

Gaetano Oristanio and Antoine Makoumbou scored in the space of four minutes to whittle down the gap to a single goal heading into the last 15 minutes of play.

Despite scoring twice between Cagliari’s second and the final whistle, both Frosinone’s goals were ruled out for offsides, throwing the Islanders a lifeline they were more than happy to grab.

Long-serving stalwart Leonardo Pavoletti had an underwhelming start to the season, going scoreless in the first nine rounds. But he only needed two minutes in stoppages to send Unipol Domus into raptures.

The veteran’s brace beyond the 94th minute didn’t just get him off the mark but inspired Ranieri’s team to their first league victory of the season.

Thuram pushes Mourinho’s ‘bus’ off the road

Jose Mourinho wasn’t in the dugout after being sent off against Monza in the previous round as Roma slumped to a late 1-0 defeat at bitter rivals Inter Milan on Sunday evening.

Despite being forced to watch the game from the sidelines, the Portuguese manager explained his ideas to his players, who spent the entire match trying to fend off Simone Inzaghi’s high-flyers.

It was unfathomable how Inter failed to lead at the break, considering they had 12 attempts on goal and 65% ball possession, while Roma didn’t have a single shot on Yann Sommer’s goal.

Romelu Lukaku, who returned to Giuseppe Meazza as a foe following a tumultuous summer, encountered an expectedly hostile reception, but his role in this fixture was marginal.

However, he had hoped to waltz away from Lombardy undefeated, only for his Inter successor Marcus Thuram to catapult the Serie A pacesetters to a late victory. 

The Frenchman latched on to Federico Dimarco’s teasing low cross and slammed the ball past Rui Patricio to grab an all-important triumph in the 81st minute for the Nerazzurri. 

Derby of two halves results in shared spoils

After back-to-back defeats ‘to nil,’ AC Milan headed to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona seeking redemption for the Champions League fiasco at Paris Saint-Germain amid an injury crisis. 

Olivier Giroud’s first-half double fired Stefano Pioli’s men to a comfortable-looking 2-0 lead at the half-time interval, with the visitors squandering a couple of decent opportunities to extend their advantage.

Prolfigacy in these high-profile match-ups never goes unpunished, something the Rossoneri had to learn the hard way in southern Italy.

Whatever Napoli boss Rudi Garcia told his Victor Osimhen-less side in the locker room worked wonders in the second half as the reigning Serie A champions hauled back the deficit in less than 20 minutes.

Matteo Politano finished a stunning solo action with aplomb three minutes after the break, benefitting from Marco Pellegrino’s sloppy defensive reaction to initiate a comeback.

Despite growing into one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers in Europe, Milan stopper Mike Maignan made a rookie mistake to allow Giacomo Raspadori to level the score from a long-range free-kick.

The French keeper misjudged his angles, failing to set up the wall correctly, which gave the Italian forward enough room to pick out the far corner with a thunderous strike. 

Natan’s expulsion in the 89th minute reduced Napoli to ten men. Yet they could’ve clinched all three points if it wasn’t for Maignan’s marvellous leg save to deny Khvicha Kvaratskhelia deep into injury time.

Around the grounds

Salernitana’s worst start to a new season in their top-flight history continued with an uninspiring 1-0 defeat at promoted Genoa on Friday night, condemning Filippo Inzaghi’s side to a tenth consecutive Serie A game without a win in 2023/24.

Speaking of winless starts, Udinese pegged Monza back after a narrow half-time deficit but could only manage a 1-1 draw at the Brianteo on Gabriele Cioffi’s touchline debut after taking Andrea Sottil’s place on the bench.

Bologna lived up to their tag as ‘stalemate kings’ in Serie A with a 1-1 draw at Sassuolo, albeit maintaining their best unbeaten streak at Italy’s top table since 2009 with a ninth straight league game without a loss. 

Torino snapped their four-game scoring drought with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph at Lecce, while Atalanta eased past hot relegation candidates Empoli 3-0 on Monday. Lazio toppled Fiorentina on the same day, courtesy of Ciro Immobile’s stoppage-time penalty. 

Player of the week

You cannot write some stories. Cagliari fans were in a pit of despair after a nine-game winless Serie A start and a 3-0 deficit against Frosinone. 

They needed their hero to show up and save the day, which was what Pavoletti did in added time to possibly save Ranieri’s job and, more importantly, get the Sardinians within striking distance of safety.

Looking ahead

Udinese’s upcoming visit to the San Siro is the perfect opportunity for out-of-form Milan to return to winning ways, while their city rivals Inter travel to Bergamo to lock horns with Atalanta.

Fiorentina, who stunned Napoli before October’s international break, will put Juvnetus’ Scudetto credentials to the test in Tuscany.

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