Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessman both saw action as Venezia pulled off a stunning upset over Jose Mourinho’s Roma, while Weston McKennie and Juventus barely slipped by Fiorentina in a last-second victory.
Juventus 1 – 0 Fiorentina
Weston McKennie put in a solid shift for Juventus on Saturday afternoon, helping them to lock down Fiorentina and eek out a narrow victory thanks to a late goal by Juan Cuardado.
The American was paired with Manuel Locatelli in the center of the team’s midfield, and was a general nuisance to Fiorentina’s attempts to push forward, as they held their opponents to a paltry total of six shots, with only one on target.
Juve only held a slight advantage in the attacking end, but were dealt a favor in the waning moments of the second half, when Nikola Milenkovic received two yellow cards in the space of seven minutes, forcing the visitors to play a man down for the final 17 minutes plus added time.
This turned out to be the opening the hosts needed, as late attack just past the end of regulation saw Locatelli lay the ball off to Cuardado just outside the right edge of the penalty area. The Colombian veteran proceeded to weave his way into the area and close to the touchline before unleashing a low, tightly-angled shot that beat the keeper at the near post for the winner.
Juve are still well out of the Champion League places even after the victory, with their 18 points leaving them considerable amount of work to do in order to reach the top four. They will face a tough return to action after the international break, as they will face Lazio, Chelsea and the mighty Atalanta within the space of seven days.
Venezia FC 3 – 2 AS Roma
Venezia dealt Roma a shocker on Sunday afternoon, with a pair of second-half scores building up on their unexpected blitzkrieg-opener, to take all three points against Jose Mourinho’s squad in the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo.
For the hosts, both Americans played significant roles, with Gianluca Busio going the distance as an attacking midfielder, and Tanner Tessmann entering the game immediately after the eventual winning goal as head coach Paolo Zanetti sought to lock down the victory.
Roma defender Bryan Reynolds was on the bench for visitors, but was not called into action by Mourinho.
While not contributing directly to any of the team’s three goals, Busio’s bite in the midfield was a major factor in helping the team offset Roma’s overall dominance of possession. The American completed nearly 90% of his 47 passes, and more importantly his precision passing and set pieces kept pressure on the visitors.
The unlikely offensive hero of the day for the hosts was on-loan central defender Mattia Caldara, whose first contribution was when he gave his team a third-minute lead after heading in a free kick from Mattia Aramu.
While shocked by the early setback, Roma did dominate the flow of the game for long stretches, holding more than 60% of possession and managing a whopping 27 shots, 11 of which were on-target. They equalized in the 43rd minute when Eldor Shomurodov barely beat Busio to a loose ball directly in front of goal for a short finish, then took the lead in the last seconds of first-half injury time after Tammy Abraham pulled down a long pass from Shomurodov and muscled his way to an opening to strike from short-range.
However, the second half belonged to the hosts, who staged a remarkable comeback.
In the 64th minute, Caldara and Roma midfielder Bryan Christante collided while leaping for a headed ball in Roma’s penalty area, and referee Gianluca Aureliano judged the Roma player to have been a bit too forceful. After some time to consult VAR, a penalty was awarded to the hosts, which Aramu easily converted to equalize.
Just under ten minutes later, Mourinho’s defense was caught napping as Busio won a struggle for possession in the midfield, and initiated a quick attack that ended with Ethan Ampadu lofting a long pass over the defense to David Okereke, who slotted his low shot to the left of the keeper for the 3-2 lead.
In the waning minutes, Roma were lucky to not find themselves with a taller mountain to climb as two consecutive corners from Busio in the 84th led to on-target headers from Marco Modolo and Okereke, which forced heroic saves from Roma keeper Rui Patricio, then a 90th-minute volley from Thomas Henry bounced off the crossbar.
In the end, the hosts held strong, claiming all of the points in front of the raucous home crowd.
Venezia climb to 15th with the win, putting a three-point gap between them and the relegation places. They They are back in action on November 21, with a visit to ninth-place Bologna.
Benevento 1 – 4 Frosinone
Frosinone continued their momentum in Serie B, blowing past hosts Benevento to extend their unbeaten run to five games, with American striker Andrija Novakovich entering as a late substitute midway through the second half.
Frosinone were handed a gift early on when Benevento defender Kamil Glik was sent off with a straight red midway through the first half for a reckless high kick, and quickly capitalized by jumping to a 3-0 lead within the next 25 minutes.
First, Karlo Lulic poked a low roller in from just inside the area in the 35th minute, then the Croatian added a second goal just before the halftime whistle with an emphatic strike from six yards out.
Gabriel Charpentier put the game out of reach five minutes into the half when he cleaned up a blocked shot by Emmanuele Cicerelli from short range.
By the time Novakovich entered the game in the 64th minute, there was little to do but protect the lead, however Cicerelli made it 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining with a picture-prefect free kick from 20 yards out.
Giuseppe di Serio did nab a consolation goal for the hosts in the 78th minute when he snuck in behind the sleeping Frosinone defense, however it did little to counter a thoroughly dominating performance from the visitors.
Frosinone’s rise in the Serie B standings continues, with the victory bringing them all the way to fifth. Their next outing is following the international break when they host Lecce.
Giuseppe Barone made his first appearance on Ascoli’s bench on Saturday, however was not called into action in their 2-1 home win over Vicenza.