CHANGE OF GUARD IN INTER GOAL
A wind of generational change followed Inter Milan to Sassuolo on Saturday when 26-year-old goalkeeper Andre Onana started his first Serie A game for the club while 38-year-old veteran Samir Handanovic was relegated to the sidelines.
Inter captain Handanovic has had several good performances this season but a slow start to the campaign seems to have convinced coach Simone Inzaghi that some new blood is needed.
While Italian media discussed whether Cameroonian Onana was ushering in a new era at the Milan side, Inzaghi still relied on the 36-year-old Edin Dzeko, who scored both goals, and 33-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 2-1 win at Sassuolo.
But with a long injury list and a demanding schedule ahead, Inzaghi might need to bring in even more younger players.
JUVE HAS MUCH TO FIX, SAYS ALLEGRI
Juventus further compromised its title hopes with a 2-0 loss at AC Milan on Saturday and its situation worsened on Sunday when table-toppers Napoli won 4-1 at Cremonese to increase its lead over eighth-placed Juve to 10 points.
But while the club has enough games to fix its lowly position in Serie A, they are running out of time in Europe.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side got its first Champions League points with a win over Maccabi Haifa last week and sit third in Group H, with three more games in its bid to make it past the group stage, starting with the reverse fixture on Tuesday.
“We have time to fix the championship, we have to fix it and we will,” Allegri said. “We have to react: on Tuesday there’s an important game and then there’s the (Torino) derby.
“Somehow we have to get out of this situation. By good means or bad, but we have to get out of it.”
NAPOLI WAKE UP TO PRODUCE LATE GOALS
Napoli summoned up the willpower for an impressive sprint finish after showing a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the first 75 minutes of its trip to Cremonese on Sunday.
Looking likely to come away with a 1-1 draw, Napoli suddenly remembered what was at stake and produced three late goals -- two of them in added time -- to secure a 4-1 win and give itself a two-point lead in the league table.
With Cremonese in the relegation zone, the match was a perfect example of a game that any would-be champions could not afford to throw away.
The extra effort that Luciano Spalletti’s men put in towards the end showed that Napoli can adapt and, more crucially, know how important it is to not take such winnable games for granted.
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