Here is Italian Football Daily’s Team of the Week for Matchday 34:
Emiliano Viviano (Sampdoria): Viviano was in excellent form as Sampdoria condemned Sassuolo to a third game without a victory. After Andrea Ranocchia’s sending off in the 27th minute, Samp knew that it would be tough and so it was. Viviano made eight saves, including saving Domenico Berardi’s penalty late on, as Samp secured a point at the Mapei Stadium.
Cristian Ansaldi (Genoa): Playing in a right wing-back role, Ansaldi had strong game as he was able to come in and follow the runs of Ivan Perišić, along with pushing forward with overlapping runs. Late on, Ansaldi forced a good save from Samir Handanovič as he came inside onto his stronger left foot and unleashed a powerful effort that seemed destined for the top corner.
Ezequiel Muñoz (Genoa): Genoa’s 25-year-old Argentine was solid at the back as Inter were unable to find a way through the Rossoblu’s defence. Muñoz made a huge individual contribution to Genoa maintaining a clean sheet as he cleared Mauro Icardi’s header off of the line in the first half. Going forward, it was his header from Suso’s corner that began the chain of events that led to Genoa’s goal as they won 1-0 to move up to 10th and comfortably clear of the relegation zone.
Kostas Manolas (AS Roma): After a pretty dismal first-half, the Greek centre-back bounced back in the second with style. First he equalised for the Giallorossi with a thunderous header from a corner. Then, just six minutes after Torino re-took the leader, Manolas’ flicked on header from Miralem Pjanić’s free-kick led to Francesco Totti’s equaliser in the 86th minute.
Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan): With his brother Simone starting for Carpi, it was an opportunity for both Romagnoli brothers to face off at the San Siro. Alessio had a strong game as Carpi were restricted to zero shots in the first half for the first time this season. For the whole game, Romagnoli was cool, calm and collected as he cleared up any chances that Jerry Mbakogu and, once he came on, Kevin Lasagne created.
Silvan Widmer (Udinese): In Udinese’s surprising 2-1 victory over Fiorentina, the Zebrette’s engine on the right-wing was fantastic and even came up with the game-winning assist as he put in an excellent cross for Cyril Théréau to score. With reports that Widmer is being tracked by some of Italy’s bigger clubs, performances like this will only raise the 23-year-old’s transfer value.
Nicola Rigoni (Chievo Verona): Rigoni won the penalty that Sergio Pellissier scored to make the game 2-1, and he also scored arguably the goal of the weekend – if not, that title would surely go to Gennaro Sardo with his goal that made it 4-1 – as he lobbed Nicola Leali to put the Flying Donkeys 3-1 ahead. Chievo would then go on to win the game 5-1 after going 1-0 behind, and the win meant that Chievo scored five goals in one Serie A game for the very first time.
Dries Mertens (Napoli): Mertens scored a hat-trick and grabbed an assist as he staked his claim to start in Monday’s game away at Roma in the Derby del Sole. The four goals that Mertens was involved in led to the 6-0 defeat of Genoa being the club’s biggest win in Serie A since October 1987. Overall, it was an unbelievable game by the Belgian.
Paulo Dybala (Juventus): From the off Dybala was causing major headaches for the Biancocelesti defence as Federico Marchetti had to make several good saves to keep the Argentine out. Seven minutes after half-time, though, Dybala was able to score from a penalty. And a further 12 minutes later, Dybala was able to score a right-footed goal, his first with his right in Serie A, to condemn Simone Inzaghi to his first defeat as Lazio boss.
Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli): In the final game of Gonzalo Higuaín’s suspension, Gabbiadini proved to Sarri – and to Antonio Conte – that he can be a valuable player in the final weeks of the season, even if the lead to Juventus now appears to be unassailable. Gabbiadini grabbed his first brace in Serie A to give Napoli a 2-0 lead against Bologna going into half-time. With a dearth of attacking options for Conte going into the European Championships, the former Sampdoria attacker should be seriously considered; even if it is just to be an option off of the bench.
Francesco Totti (AS Roma): Roma were 2-1 down in the 85th minute and Luciano Spalletti, who reportedly had a bust-up with Totti after the Atalanta game, called on the 39-year-old. One minute later, he equalised; and a further three minutes later, Roma were awarded a penalty (although they should have arguably had two previous penalties in the match). Totti then stepped up and sent the Stadio Olimpico into ecstasy by scoring to secure a 3-2 victory, his third goal in two substitute cameos now. Il Re della Roma.