MILAN (Reuters) – Napoli closed the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus to six points with their 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday, although the Turin side are at home to bottom club Chievo on Monday.
Here are five talking points from the Serie A weekend.
Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi had played in every minute of every match since Oct. 18, 2015 until the 70th minute of Sunday’s game against Napoli when he was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
To add insult to injury, it appeared that he should not have been sent off.
Acerbi, who joined Lazio from Sassuolo before the start of this season, was booked for a foul on Jose Callejon in the 36th minute, a decision which appeared harsh compared to other tackles which referee Gianluca Rocchi left unpunished.
His second booking was for another foul on Callejon, although replays suggested he played the ball.
“On the first yellow card, Callejon was clever to get in front of Acerbi and then stop, making the defender run into him,” said coach Simone Inzaghi. “As for the second, he clearly got the ball and it was not even a foul.”
Acerbi played 149 matches for Sassuolo and Lazio during the run, with the Italian record of 162 belonging to Javier Zanetti of Inter Milan.
GENOAFANSSET TO BOYCOTTMILANMATCH
Genoa supporters are planning to boycott their home match against AC Milan on Monday to protest the decision to play the game in mid-afternoon.
The match is being staged on Monday to give Milan time to recover from the Italian Super Cup against Juventus, played in Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday.
The league moved it to an afternoon kickoff following a request from the government’s agency for safety at sports events which regarded the fixture as high risk because of a long-standing rivalry between the two sets of fans.
NAPOLIMAKELIGHT OF ABSENTEES
Napoli again showed their versatility as they made light of the absence of four key players — Allan, Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly were suspended and Marek Hamsik injured — in the 2-1 win over Lazio.
“We have a squad which gives us a chance to do well in all three competitions. We had important players missing, but nobody noticed,” coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
“We’ll carry on this way, seeing as everyone is doing so well. There is no need to have a first choice eleven.”
AS Roma’s 19-year-old midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo gave another display of his potential in the 3-2 win over Torino, where he scored the opening goal.
Zaniolo managed to gather the rebound from his own attempt while on the ground in a crowded box before pivoting and firing a shot into the roof of the net.
“He shows his determination and strength. He really believes and never stops chasing,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said.
“He does a lot of defensive work and that’s where the attacking side of his game starts. He wins lots of balls back and breaks up opposition moves.”
Torino coach Walter Mazzarri, however, was furious with his players.
“We allowed a player to have two shots at goal when he was on the ground,” he said. “We were let down by our own naivety. Sometimes we fall asleep, the lights go out.
“Some of the mistakes were just absurd. We do this too often and are self-destructive, ruining otherwise positive performances.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by John O’Brien)