Here's a round up the winners and the losers from Week 16 of the Serie A season.
Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus): While Gianluigi Buffon did his bit at one end of the pitch, fellow Old Guard member Alessandro Del Piero did the damage at the other end. Finally handed a starting shirt, the Italian fantasista reminded coach Claudio Ranieri of his ability with a fine brace which ensured a rare Juventus away win.
Amauri (Palermo): He may have rippled the net for both Palermo and Atalanta on Sunday, but the big Brazilian underlined his undoubted ability in Bergamo with another impressive 90 minutes of football. Rosanero boss Francesco Guidolin calls him his own Didier Drogba and it’s surely just a matter of time before a big club comes in with an offer high enough to secure his signature.
Sebastian Giovinco (Empoli): Another afternoon of tricks, flicks, assists and a goal for Giovinco won him the honour of Man of the Match against Genoa. Despite his tender years and his slight frame, the Under-21 international is becoming an integral part of the Tuscan side’s survival plans. If he keeps playing like this, it’ll be tough for Juventus to not recall him at the season’s end.
Alessandro Rosina (Torino): He’s widely considered as Torino’s best player which makes his below-par performances even more frustrating for fans. The Italian international has been struggling for form recently and that continued in his horror show against Roma. He struggled to make an impression offensively and never really recovered after he and David Di Michele combined for their miss of the season.
Marcelo Zalayeta (Napoli): Napoli’s goal machine went missing at Siena. Having impressed since his summer move from Juventus, the Uruguayan was orphaned without the sublime assists of the suspended Ezequiel Lavezzi. If the Azzurri are to secure UEFA Cup football, they need Zalayeta’s goals – with or without his Argentine strike partner.
Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria): He’s destined to be a boy who will never grow up – his astonishing strop during the game against Fiorentina illustrated that point. One can understand his disappointment at being booked which will rule him out of the Roma match next week, but his on-field tears highlight the fragile nature of his character. It’s a weakness which will rob us of his true footballing ability.
Goran Pandev (Lazio): Although the header which made it 1-1 at the Olimpico was simple enough for Goran Pandev, the build up play was of the highest quality. Tommaso Rocchi and Massimo Mutarelli combined well and at speed in the area which was just too quick for Juve to handle.
Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus): Pick whichever goal you like as his strikes were almost identical. Having controlled a long Cristiano Zanetti pass over the top, Del Piero had the speed to pull away from the chasing defenders and power the ball home past Marco Ballotta with his left foot.
Marco Donadel (Fiorentina): He doesn’t get many goals which makes his strike at Sampdoria all the more memorable. A partially cleared corner kick invited the former Under-21 international to smack it from 30 yards and it deservedly ended up in the back of the net.
Loving Lazio: Lazio are one of Alex Del Piero’s favourite targets. The Juventus captain has now scored 10 Serie A goals against them thanks to his double at the weekend. Parma remain his most prolific side with 12, followed by Fiorentina on 11.
Home boys: Atalanta’s 3-1 defeat to Palermo was their first at home in Serie A for almost a year. It was December 20, 2006, when the Bergamo boys were last defeated on their own patch when Udinese collected a 2-1 win. Seven wins and nine draws followed.
Sardinian shuffle: Cagliari chief Massimo Cellino may be regretting his decision to replace Marco Giampaolo with Nedo Sonetti. The veteran tactician, in his third spell at the club, has only collected one point out of a possible 15 after last night’s 2-0 loss to Inter.
Source: Antonio Labbate (C4 Football Italia)