The race for fourth place continues to offer one surprise after another, with Inter and AC Milan unable to find any consistency in results. Roma and Lazio were able to smiled again, while Luciano Spalletti's Napoli returned to victory. Here's what happened over the latest Serie A weekend...
MATCH OF THE WEEK - LAZIO vs JUVENTUS
Lazio played in search of confirmation for second place in the standings, Juventus to continue its chase while awaiting final verdicts over their various investigations. It was a beautiful, tense match, full of twists and turns, but in the end it was Maurizio Sarri's team that came home with the three points.
A solid performance by the Biancocelesti, Juventus fans complained about the referee's performance, because indeed on the occasion of the first goal (scored by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic) there is doubt that a foul was not whistled, but Adrien Rabiot and his teammates woke up too late in this match.
It was Milinkovic-Savic who scored the first goal, found alone in the box by his teammates. After a few minutes Rabiot struck the equaliser, showing that he wanted that goal more than anyone else. In the second half, the Biancocelesti found the second goal at the end of a fantastic play, started by Felipe Anderson, propitiated by Luis Alberto's backheel for Mattia Zaccagni, who confirmed himself as Lazio's most in-form player. He is the first Italian player to have scored ten league goals this year, but for behavioral reasons right now Roberto Mancini does not consider him for the national team.
A defeat that probably puts an end to the comeback hopes of Max Allegri and his boys, while these three points for Lazio are a kind of guarantee for one of the top four places in the standings at the end of the season. A great result for Sarri and his team, who from now until the end of the championship will only have to try to keep their position.
SURPRISE OF THE WEEK - BOLOGNA AND ATALANTA
Thiago Motta is confirming himself match after match, his Bologna is a sight for sore eyes and above all it is a solid team that collects positive results, wins even against the big teams in the league and is now within touching distance of the European places for next season.
No one could have imagined such a thing when the former Italian national team player was put in charge of Bologna, but now it is hard to imagine that at the end of the season he could still be on that bench.
Last weekend in the league, Bologna beat Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta, putting the brakes on the European race of Duvan Zapata and his teammates, but more importantly getting closer to them in the standings: they are now only five points behind Atalanta and even one point behind Juventus. A truly sensational season for Motta.
On Saturday there was no scares over the 90 minutes and the victory was flawless: first a goal by Morgan Sansone in the 49', then the second by Riccardo Orsolini a few minutes before the 90th minute. It was a defeat without appeal for Gasperini and his men, which gives further certainty to Motta and his boys and pushes Atalanta's season into a bleak transitional year.
Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee, who with Motta is growing match after match, offered a glimpse of all his talent, which has yet to blossom and already has the world talking about him. Bologna won 0-2 at home to Atalanta, and the surprises do not seem to end there.
TALKING POINT - THE RACE FOR FOURTH PLACE
If the Scudetto race was over too soon, or rather perhaps it is better to say that it never really started thanks to an extraordinary season by Luciano Spalletti's Napoli, the battle for a place in the next Champions League is the only real reason for interest in the current Serie A.
Milan and Inter seem to be in the race for those who don't want to be in the Champions League next year. It may be because of European commitments that absorb all concentration and energy, but the league progress of Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi's teams are bleak, and fans of both are hanging on the hope of an unexpected and complicated success in the European arena to give a positive assessment to the season.
Milan and Inter over the weekend drew against Empoli and Salernitana respectively, the former 0-0 and the latter 1-1. The Nerazzurri had even taken the lead with a goal by Robin Gosens after six minutes, but in the last minutes of the match Andre Onana naively conceded the goal to Antonio Candreva, who in an attempt to cross found an insidious shot on target which the Inter goalkeeper failed to read correctly.
Maurizio Sarri's Lazio is actually on the runway, five points ahead of Jose Mourinho's Roma (distance depending on the two derbies, for information ask Roger Ibanez), but the safety distance from the Milanese is starting to be considerable.
It undoubtedly is affected by the elimination from the European Cups (first the Europa League, then even the Conference League), which is allowing Sarri to manage the energy of his players in the best possible way. So far Lazio's championship is really positive.
YOUNGSTER OF THE MOMENT - TOMMASO BALDANZO
This is the case of Tommaso Baldanzi, an Italian offensive midfielder born in 2003, one of the most interesting players in the league and a key man for Empoli. Several top Serie A teams have their eyes on him, and the president is rightly already waiting for offers because the capital gain will be rich.
Fast, technical, quick, difficult to tackle, always able to free himself in the middle of the field. Still very young, he has a whole career ahead of him and props to whoever gets to him first, because the talent is there for all to see.
He showed all his maturity against AC Milan, as he's managd so many times already during the season, playing behind the two strikers, but above all helping his team in the defensive phase, which is not at all a given for such a young boy. One to watch