AS Roma’s 1-0 victory over Qarabag in Champions League group play put the finishing touches on a remarkable progression for the Eternal City club. Coupled with Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in Tuesday’s other Group C match, Roma now finish atop the group and will face a runners-up opponent in the Round of 16.
Goals change games. That’s pretty much football 101. That’s how the game works. But not every goal is created equal. This week in Serie A, the true value of a goal was shown to be different on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So let’s take a look at the three goals that defined the weekend and why they differed so widely.
This goal has some layers to it, y'all.
Udinese put three goals past Crotone in Serie A on Monday, and the best of the bunch was the third, a delicious, flavorful team move finished off by ...
(takes megaphone out of oven, wearing oven mitts, obviously, because the megaphone is really hot)
(blows on megaphone to cool it down a bit)
Georghe Hagi had a knack of scoring from anywhere on the pitch. Like Steph Curry, give him a few feet and he could launch a shot from anywhere inside his own half — and usually score. Now the Romanian legend’s 19-year-old son is doing the same with Fiorentina, which beat Chievo Verona 3-2 in a youth match thanks to an unlikely Ianis Hagi goal.
Benevento’s raucous point against AC Milan on Sunday, their first after 15 matches in Serie A, was as historic as it was surreal. It put an end to the worst losing start ever in Europe’s big five leagues, but it was also miraculously earned by goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli after the shot-stopper pushed forward on a 95th minute free kick.
Also, it was a glorious diving header to make life that much more hellish for the floundering seven-time European champions, Milan.
Benevento finally got off the goose egg. After starting the Serie A campaign with 14 straight losses, an Alberto Brignoli goal in the 95th minute gave Benevento a 2-2 home draw with AC Milan on Sunday. Oh, did we mention Brignoli is a goalkeeper?
With Benevento trailing 2-1 late but with a man advantage after Alessio Romagnoli was sent off for a second yellow card, Brignoli marched up the pitch for a free kick in the fifth minute of five minutes of stoppage time. Improbably, the ball found his head and zipped past Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the goal.
This isn’t exactly a hot take, but damn that Juventus defense can be impressive, even after losing two key figures from last season’s rearguard. Massimiliano Allegri has created a defensive unit that, on its day, can shut down the most potent of offenses. They don’t sit super deep or press super high, but their supreme organization dulls even the sharpest of attacks.
The Bianconeri defense pitched a ninth shutout of the season in a 1-0 blanking of league-leading Napoli on Friday at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, the home side’s first Serie A loss of the season.
So maybe VAR doesn’t get every single little call right. Nor does it turn referees into infallible robots. But we think every soccer fan can get on board with the VAR decision during the Roma-Genoa match on Sunday. The VAR spotted this pathetic Daniele De Rossi slap on Gianluca Lapadula, which resulted in both players rolling around on the ground like they had just been shot.
After a review, the referee brandished red for De Rossi. Lapadula miraculously recovered from his injuries and scored the ensuing penalty to equalize and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Vincenzo Montella has been fired as AC Milan coach.
Finally, Milan has initiated the “Unsworth protocol” — sack an underachieving manager after he’s overseen a summer of massive spending and dismal football, only to replace him with a vastly unqualified club legend. In many ways, Everton and Milan are exactly alike.
But whereas Everton is currently fighting an unlikely relegation battle, Milan sits seventh place in the table. Surely, after such a huge overhaul, they should be allowed time to gel together, time to fail together and time to come together as a team?
As unbelievable as it sounds, Italy could still go to the World Cup. Peru is looking at trouble as they could possibly be excluded from the international championship by FIFA should a Congress initiative become effective.
The problem is that the initiative, proposed by legislator Paloma Noceda, would potentially result in the government taking over the Peruvian FA.