Italy

With A 7-Peat Looming, What Can Be Done To Curb Juve’s Power In Serie A?

This was meant to be a blockbuster weekend. There was so much going on in Serie A. The Rome derby. Inter versus Atalanta. Milan versus Napoli. All the fallout from the midweek European ties. The build up to next weekend’s potential title decider in Turin.

Instead, it all kind of fizzled out. All of the most interesting fixtures ended in goalless draws, extinguishing any chance of a title race and offering us no progress in the race for the Champions League. A damp squib of a weekend, all build up and no pay off.

A Week Of Massive Highs And Incredible Lows Left Us With Liverpool Vs. Roma, But How Did It Happen?

Roma, Juventus 

Oh, Michael Oliver.

Mikey, Mikey, Michael.

Michael Oliver, with a rubbish bin for a heart.

Michael Oliver, with his Citroen Saxo haircut.

Michael Oliver, with the face of an AirFix fanatic, all glue-eyed intricacy and camo paint fumes. 

Michael Oliver, with his absolutely correct refereeing decision in the biggest moment of the footballing season so far.

Michael Oliver, with the target over his head. The bullets are in the post already, Mike.

FC Salzburg Just Made Those Champions League Comebacks Look Like Child’s Play

Oh sure, the little Champions League was kinda entertaining this week, what with Roma beating Barcelona and Real Madrid holding off Juventus. But the 6-5 FC Salzburg comeback against Lazio in the Europa League on Thursday made all the drama from Tuesday and Wednesday look like child’s play. 

Mario Mandzukic Puts Juventus Two-Thirds Of The Way To A Miracle Against Real Madrid

Juventus arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu needing a miracle to overturn a three-goal deficit on the road at Real Madrid. By halftime on Wednesday, the Bianconeri were well on their way to a second straight Italian miracle thanks to two Mario Mandzukic goals against Real Madrid. 

On Tuesday, it was AS Roma rallying from three goals down to stun Barcelona. After losing 3-0 in Turin, Juventus was up against it against the two-time reigning champions. 

Mauro Icardi Misses Two Shocking Tap-Ins In A Scoreless Milan Derby

AC Milan’s Champions League quest — viewed as a necessity following their outrageous summer spending — is all but doomed following a scoreless draw with Inter Milan in the 168th Serie A edition of the Derby della Madonnina. Following today’s result, Milan still sit eight points back of Inter in fourth place with only eight matches remaining.

The scene at the San Siro before kickoff was exactly what you’d expect from one of the world’s fiercest derbies. Here’s the tifo from the Milan fans in the Curva Sud.

Is Liam Henderson Italy's Next Great Scottish Import?

They call him “Braveheart.” Of course they do. What else would you call a Scotsman from Livingston, some 15 miles west of Edinburgh, who came up through the ranks at Celtic before making the somewhat unusual move to Bari in Italy’s Serie B during the January transfer window?

However, Liam Henderson’s signing with the club based in southern Italy was/is not a gimmick, and there are many around Celtic who think the Glasgow giants made a mistake in letting him leave. And, it’s important to note, that Henderson is not the first Scot to make the jump.

For The First Time In 10 Years, Roma Are Through To The Quarterfinals

AS Roma did just enough to overturn their deficit against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday, Edin Dzeko scoring the lone goal in the 52nd minute to put Roma through via the away goals rule, 2-2 on aggregate.

Shakhtar went about their business professionally in the opening 45, looking dangerous on the counter and assured in possession while Roma struggled to generate any chances of note.

A Swelling Of Emotion In Florence Underlines A Dramatic Weekend In Serie A

If last week’s round of Serie A fixtures was dominated by tragedy, then this week’s matches were defined by flashes of beauty peering through the gloom. Across a number of games, there were flashes of brilliance which pierced through the fog for vastly different reasons. Even if, ultimately, the moments meant nothing, the surge of emotion and energy was undeniable.

Let’s begin with the most astounding of all.

A Shocked Serie A Mourns The Death Of Fiorentina's Captain

The death of Davide Astori was announced on the morning of March 4. The club captain of Fiorentina, he had been expecting to take part in a run-of-the-mill away game against Udinese. Instead, every match in Serie A was postponed in the wake of the news. 

The night before, Astori had been playing videogames with the Fiorentina goalkeeper, Marco Sportiello. The next day, as the players sat down to breakfast, his absence was noted. According to coaches, the center back was typically one of the first to rise on a match day. 

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