Serie A, Round 19 review: Unchanged at the top while Milan sides suffer against teams fighting the drop

Claudio Villa

The top five remain unchanged in Italy's top division, although it's looking more and more unlikely that sides will be able to challenge for third. Meanwhile, Sassuolo beat Milan and Inter could only draw Chievo, increasing the Milan sides' misery.

We've reached the midpoint in Serie A after quite an eventful round of matches. Week 19 saw Napoli, Roma and Juventus record convincing wins, making it difficult to believe the top three will change come May.

The matches also brought yet another managerial shuffle, with Domenico Berardi scoring four to send Massimiliano Allegri to the unemployment line. And apparently allowing Amauri to score two goals against your side is also deserving of the sack, because Davide Nicola got the boot as well.

Livorno 0-3 Parma

Livorno remain even with Catania at the bottom of the table after barely putting up a fight against Parma. By the second half, the hosts finally clued in and turned up their attack, forcing Antonio Mirante to wake up and make a few saves. But late in the game, Francesco Bardi allowed Amauri to sneak in a goal, adding to the opener from Raffaele Palladino. As if that weren't embarrassing enough, Livorno allowed a second from Amauri, a penalty conversion deep in stoppage time. That should've belonged to Nicola Sansone.

Bologna 0-0 Lazio

There was nothing surprising about Bologna's first game under Davide Ballardini. The new manager has a mandate: keep Bologna from slipping into Serie B. And how best to achieve that? Why, by grinding out goalless draws, of course? The only thing that can be said about this match is Miroslav Klose whiffed a sitter in the second half.

Full match report available here

Torino 0-0 Fiorentina

While this match was also scoreless, it at least provided some entertainment. Vincenzo Montella finally got a chance to field 37 midfielders at once, but to no one's surprise, the lack of forward presence made it difficult for Fiorentina to score. The viola managed to keep Alessio Cerci from adding to his goalscoring tally, but with just a point, Fiorentina stay five back of the Champions League positions. Where art though, Giuseppe Rossi?

Full match report available here

AS Roma 4-0 Genoa

Genoa went into this one without Alberto Gilardino, so they were already set to simply hold their ground and play for a point. It seems that strategy backfired slightly. It took nearly half an hour, but Roma were able to break through the rossoblu defenses, thanks to a spectacular bicycle kick from Alessandro Florenzi. That sent Mattia Perin into one of his tailspins, and Roma were able to score three more in the next half hour.

Full match report available here

Atalanta 2-1 Catania

The elefanti stay bottom, unable to get more than a consolation goal, from Sebastián Leto in the 89th. But two goals from Germán Denis and Maxi Morales got Atalanta back on track at home, where la dea are doing their best to return to formidable opposition.

Cagliari 1-4 Juventus

Cagliari surprised by taking the lead after just twenty minutes, courtesy of a goal from Mauricio Pinilla. But by the end of the match, Pinilla was sent off for dissent and Juventus had scored four. The Old Lady are now on an eleven game winning streak and it looks as though they'll be unstoppable for the rest of the season.

Full match report available here

Hellas Verona 0-3 Napoli

Napoli broke the Bentegodi, a fortress where Verona had dropped points just once this season, in a loss to rivals Chievo. While Verona provided fast-paced football, they somehow couldn't get through the Napoli defense, although that's probably more to do with the partenopei Rafael than anything else. That, and the tendency of Luca Toni to put his shots on target. The visitors' counterattacks were pure perfection, however, splitting apart the defense and leaving the Verona Rafael with no chance. Dries Mertens scored his third in two games, Lorenzo Insigne finally got a Serie A goal and Blerim Džemaili added a third.

Full match report available here

Sassuolo 4-3 AC Milan

Sunday night will live in history as the night an 18 year old brought down Max Allegri. Sassuolo had failed to score in their last five matches, but teenage striker Berardi netted four against a rather incompetent rossoneri side. If Milan hadn't thought they had defensive troubles before, they certainly should know now. It's likely it wasn't Allegri that was the problem, but they've got half a season without him to prove otherwise.

Full match report available here

Sampdoria 3-0 Udinese

With just half a season left, it's looking less and less likely that Udinese will pull off an incredible run that puts them into Europe. The zebrette are now down in 15th, just a few points above the drop. The squad has enough talent - and other sides are simply too bad - to ensure that Udinese don't slip down to Serie B. But their display against Samp was just pitiful, notching just four shots and finishing the last twenty minutes with nine men. Sampdoria, meanwhile, continue edging their way into safety under the guidance of Siniša Mihajlović - and the goals of Éder.

Inter Milan 1-1 Chievo Verona

After the ink flowed from plenty of computers on Inter's revival under Walter Mazzarri, the admiration has started to fade. Sure, the nerazzurri are still fifth, which is better than ninth, but it's clear that the squad needs an overhaul. This season, fifth means 20 points out of first, 10 points out of third. It means closer to the bottom than the top. It means only having the ability to draw against sides struggling to avoid the drop. But that's what happens when you can only manage to win one of your last seven.

Full match report available here

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