The 2019/20 Serie A season has been an action-packed one, filled with big wins, nail-biting finishes and huge upsets along the way. It had the makings of one of the most closely-contested title races in Italy that we’ve seen in recent years until the coronavirus pandemic struck and the season had to be suspended last month.
With the season currently on an indefinite pause, SportsAdda takes a look back at five of the best matches from the 2019/20 Serie A season so far.
Juventus 4-3 Napoli (August 2019)
Aside from two early title contenders facing off, the event also marked Maurizio Sarri’s first match against former employers Napoli. Naturally, fireworks were expected and we were not disappointed.
Within twenty minutes, Danilo and Gonzalo Higuain had put Juventus two goals ahead, and once Cristiano Ronaldo made it 3-0 in favour of the reigning champions at the hour mark, it felt like the game was done and dusted.
However, Napoli rallied back with vigour. Quickfire goals from Kostas Manolas and Hirving Lozano brought the Partenopei right back into it before Giovanni Di Lorenzo squared things up in the 81st minute, completing an unlikely turnaround.
The drama wasn’t over though. Into the stoppage time, Kalidou Koulibaly diverted the ball into his own net, handing Juventus a crucial win early in the campaign breaking Napoli’s heart after their sensational second-half display.
Atalanta 2-2 Fiorentina (September 2019)
Atalanta have been one of the most prolific teams in Serie A over the past couple of seasons. So, when they were two goals down against Fiorentina courtesy of a Jose Luis Palomino own goal in the first half and a Franck Ribery strike in the second, it would’ve been imprudent to count them out of the contest yet.
With a handful of minutes left and no changes to the scoreline, it started to feel like Fiorentina were going to walk away with three points. That’s when Josip Ilicic struck, in the 84th minute, to pull one back and set the game up for an entertaining finish.
Mario Pasalic seemed to have levelled it up in the 91st minute, but his goal was ruled out by VAR due to handball in the buildup, handing Fiorentina a lifeline. However, Timothy Castagne pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in the final minute of stoppage time, unleashing a fierce volley to send his teammates, his manager and supporters into a frenzy.
Cagliari 4-3 Sampdoria (December 2019)
This was a game in which Cagliari snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The hosts had been pegged back by Sampdoria through a Fabio Quagliarella penalty in the first half, before Gaston Ramirez had made it 2-0 early in the second period.
But Cagliari fought back hard as Radja Nainggolan pulled one back for his side in the 69th minute. However, Quagliarella would strike in the next minute itself to restore the visitors’ two-goal cushion again. With their back against the wall, Cagliari rallied, and a quickfire double from Joao Pedro in the 74th and 76th minute brought the teams on level terms.
It looked like the spoils would be shared between the two sides, but five minutes into stoppage time, Alberto Cerri found the back of the net to send the home crowd into raptures, capping off a sensational comeback.
Inter Milan 4-2 AC Milan (February 2020)
The Derby Della Madonnina is always a special occasion in Serie A, with AC Milan and Inter Milan reviving their intense rivalry on the field, and on this occasion in February, it was no different.
AC Milan hadn’t had the best season, while Inter were pushing for the title. Antonio Conte’s side, therefore, went in as the favourites.
But the Rossoneri stunned everyone, as Ante Rebic handed them the lead in the 40th minute before Zlatan Ibrahimović made it 2-0 early in the second half. Inter, though, did not lose hope. Goals from the unlikeliest of sources — Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino — brought them right back into the game, as both teams upped the ante in search of a winner.
The turnaround was complete in the 70th minute when Stefan de Vrij found the back of the net. Romelu Lukaku then added the cherry on top, finishing off a fine counter-attacking move late in the going.
It was yet another riveting and pulsating encounter between the two behemoths of Italian football.
Lecce 2-7 Atalanta (March 2020)
To be fair, Atalanta have scored seven goals in two more games along with this and either of them would have been a justified addition to this list. However, this one makes the list as there was some sort of fightback from the opposition, at least in the first period.
Indeed, when Atalanta were 2-0 up halfway through the first period due to a Guilio Donati own goal and a Duvan Zapata strike, Lecce rallied back and levelled things up well before half-time as Riccardo Saponara and Donati found the back of the net.
However, after the restart, La Dea stepped it up a notch and annihilated their hosts. Josip Ilicic made it 3-2 just two minutes in before Zapata completed his hat-trick with two quickfire strikes.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men were not done though as substitutes Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskiy got into the act late on to add more sheen to the scoreline.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Marco Bertorello