Five things we learned in Serie A this weekend
Second-placed Napoli were held to a goalless draw by AC Milan while Inter Milan lost 1-0 at Torino to slip a distant third 19 points behind the leaders.
Here are five talking points from Serie A this weekend:
Ronaldo shrugs off woes
Cristiano Ronaldo once again shrugged off his personal problems to seal Juventus’s victory from the penalty spot with two minutes to go in Rome for his 15th goal this season.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was fined millions and handed a two-year jail sentence which was also reduced to a fine by a Spanish court during the week for committing tax fraud while at Real Madrid.
“When you play like this and win it’s a good signal on a mental level,” said Allegri of his side’s battle with Lazio.
“It’s an important step for the Scudetto.”
Ageless Quagliarella back in Italy frame
Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella has moved back into the Italy frame eight years after last playing for the national side after his brace against Udinese equalled Gabriel Batistuta’s record of scoring in 11 consecutive Serie A games.
Quagliarella, who turns 36 this week, is the in-form striker in Italy with 16 goals, five more than Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
Italy boss Roberto Mancini watched in the stands in Genoa and former Napoli and Torino coach Walter Novellino says it would be impossible to overlook a player who has scored more goals than Ronaldo.
“Mancini’s project is important but we have to look at reality and today Fabio is the in-form striker,” Novellino told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Age doesn’t count for anything, he’s a leader.”
Icardi draws another blank
Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi drew another blank as he went a fifth consecutive game without scoring.
The Argentine, the joint top scorer last season is currently in contract negotiations with Inter and reports have linked him to Real Madrid and Chelsea.
The 25-year-old last scored in Serie A on December 15, to bring his tally to nine goals.
But it was a nervy display as coach Luciano Spalletti’s two-striker strategy of Icardi and Lautaro Martinez failed to spark as a first-half Armando Izzo goal sealed victory for Torino.
Dzeko back but Roma fragile
Edin Dzeko got back scoring for the first time since October with a brace but Roma managed to squander a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Atalanta.
“I’m feeling better and better,” said the Bosnian. “These goals will give me confidence. I hope the last four months of the season will be better than the first six.
“Hopefully I’m through a rough patch. I have never been out so long because of an injury – and longer still because of the winter break.”
Roma missed a chance to move into fourth place, and Dzeko said he was shocked by their collapse.
“Atalanta are a strong side, they’ve shown that, but with all due respect at 3-0 it really can’t finish 3-3.”
Gattuso likes Piatek debut
AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said he “liked what he saw” from new Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek who made his debut for the final 20 minutes against Napoli in the San Siro.
Piatek joined on a 35 million euros ($40 million) deal from Genoa after Argentine Gonazlo Higuain’s six-month loan move to Chelsea.
The 23-year-old Piatek is expected to start Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final also against Napoli in the San Siro.
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