Monday January 13 2014
Berardi multiplies Milan’s misery

The top three all won resoundingly but a 19-year-old striker stole the headlines. Giancarlo Rinaldi joins the queue to pay tribute to the skills of Sassuolo’s matchwinner against Milan.

There might be better days to come in Domenico Berardi’s career, but it is hard to imagine many. With his team trailing 2-0, the teenage forward sparked into life in spectacular fashion with four goals to defeat one of European football’s elite. In the process, he added another miserable chapter to the gloomy tale of Milan’s season.

The timing of the performance could hardly have been better for the Sassuolo forward part-owned by Juventus. A ban on his international involvement after he failed to show up for a call-up to the Under-19s has just expired, freeing him to play for the Azzurrini - Italy’s Under-21s. On his showing against the Rossoneri, Cesare Prandelli might be taking a second look too.

“I will never forget this day,” said Berardi, in what was probably something of an understatement. “We played for our pride because we were having a bad spell of four defeats.” Indeed, the result had the air of a vindication for Coach Eusebio Di Francesco whose days at the club appeared to be numbered. His swashbuckling 4-3-3 was a key part in kickstarting a comeback after falling behind early on to goals from Robinho and Mario Balotelli.

“It was a strange defeat,” said Max Allegri. “We were 2-0 up after 12 minutes and everything looked simple. This was an important game to get a better position in the League table. We need to roll up our sleeves and start again.”

The Milan Coach, of course, is set to depart at the end of the season but the question must now be whether the club will bring his departure date forward. For a club with the Rossoneri’s reputation, this season has been harder to swallow than the roughest homebrewed grappa.

Things are much more smooth, of course, for table-topping Juve who indulged in what felt like a little one-upmanship. Rudi Garcia’s Roma went on a 10-game winning run at the start of the season as they devoured their opponents with their lupine lust for victory. But a come-from-behind crushing of Cagliari gave Juventus a club record 11th victory in a row in the top flight. The Old Lady, it seems, likes to spell out her superiority in the most emphatic terms.

There was a moment, at about 3.20pm on Sunday in Italy, when she dangled a morsel of hope for her closest pursuers when she trailed to a Mauricio Pinilla strike. It took all of 10 minutes to cancel out that lead before three goals in seven deadly second-half minutes swept the Sardinians aside. At the halfway point in the season, the Bianconeri enjoy an eight-point advantage and are setting a pace which would take them past a century if they maintained it for the whole campaign. Antonio Conte’s side seem to set landmarks with the regularity the rest of us set our alarm clocks for work.

“The record of 11 wins in a row is an extraordinary achievement, unique in the history of the club,” said the at least semi-satisfied Juve boss. But, with trademark tenacity, he added: “Now I want to extend this sequence of successes.”

The incredible thing about this championship is that the Turin giants are being driven to such feats by the achievements of their pursuers. Roma’s 44-point total is the best they have ever managed midway through a Serie A season and matches what Juve achieved on their way to the Scudetto last year. It is almost as if the Giallorossi have acted as a pacemaker in pushing Gigi Buffon and company to ever-greater heights.

The capital club shook off their showdown defeat by the Bianconeri with a 4-0 dismantling of Genoa opened by a wonderful overhead strike from Alessandro Florenzi. “If I scored a goal like that, I think I’d hang up my boots straight away,” quipped Francesco Totti, who also found the net. “Juve are in a league of their own, they are reigning champions and are proving their worth. But they have a strong Roma side behind them which won’t give up - we’ll push them all the way.”

Even third-placed Napoli would, in a normal year, find themselves in much closer contention. They faced a potentially tricky trip to the Stadio Bentegodi to face high-flying Hellas but goals from Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Blerim Dzemaili gave them a convincing win. Verona tested them at times, but the extra splash of class in the Partenopei’s ranks was enough to give them the edge.

“This was a tough game but we showed once again that we are a strong side,” said Rafa Benitez. “Our closest target is Roma but we’ll just continue going about our business and see where we end up.”

The only top team which failed to keep up the hectic pace was Fiorentina. Shorn of strikers Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi through injury they could do no better than a 0-0 draw away to Torino. There will surely be action on the transfer market soon as the Viola try to cling on to the dream of a return to the Champions League by the end of the season.

In Bologna, the Davide Ballardini revolution hardly got off to a gripping start as his side shared the spoils with recently-appointed Edy Reja’s Lazio. The goalless game smacked of the typical Italian brodino - a chicken broth to aid the recovery of two ailing teams. It did not, however, prove a very appetising medicine for the home support, who jeered the Rossoblu as they left the pitch.

Elsewhere, Atalanta grabbed three precious points in the Bergamo fog with a 2-1 win over Catania while Parma snuffed out Livorno - and probably Coach Davide Nicola - with a convincing 3-0 triumph in Tuscany. Many pundits thought the world might be about to end when that particular match included a double from Amauri. But amazing things can happen - and continue to happen - in this most intense of Italian seasons.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Seedorf with fiori, Stam and crespo? Really? I await to be surprised
on the 14th January, 2014 at 11:32am
He's definitely worth the Juve shirt next season.
Remember Alex del Piero? he was as young as Berardi when joining Juve, but managed the expectation well since then.
Thanks God half of Berardi is ours.
Expect another sensation from other Italy's class of 94 on the verge of breaking out!

Fino alla Fine
on the 14th January, 2014 at 9:58am
Those would be good choices for Milan at this time:

1. Trap,
2. Del Neri,
3. Di Matteo,
4. Viktoria (so he could claim here was a penalty for Balotelli)

Pippo or Seedorf are pathetic choices. Same Leonardo scenario would be played all over again.
on the 14th January, 2014 at 8:52am
A coach wants control, investment and the backing of owners, no real coach will come to milan. There will be no real investment or any planning for the future, as once a player becomes "good enough" wel sell him. No Mourinho or lippi would ever accept this disgraceful project berlusconi has created.
Famiglia berlusconi/galliani want puppets, coaches who are weak and that will jump when told to. inexperience is also great for cheap labour and a great scapegoat in failure!
on the 14th January, 2014 at 12:49am
How milan or more to the point famiglia berlusconi have treated allegri is horrendous. Hiding behind allegri is shameful. They all but sacked him whilst he was in the middle of his post match interview, its shameful. We are in a mess thanks to the lack of investment. The greed of the berlusconi family is the problem, they accumulated over 100mil for kaka, silva, ibra and virtually pocketed the whole lot. Wev been left with a bunch of overated egotistic half wits that have ruined milan.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 11:44pm
What Milan need is Di Matteo as a Coach. He does have the know how to get this team back to competitive level (What do you think)! He needs a job.........
on the 13th January, 2014 at 10:14pm

Doubt anyone will agree with you on the shirt pull on balo. That should have been a pent. I'm just saying even how awful things are we haven't been exactly lucky this season. Offensively we play good football def we are nothing but awful. Or left and right are solid our center backs are pathetic. I
on the 13th January, 2014 at 8:57pm
I don't think Seedorf or Pippo are the answer – they barely have any coaching experience between them. I do not understand why Tassotti can't keep the bench until the summer, and then Milan could approach Prandelli about joining them – the Italy coach has said that he might not stay on after the World Cup. Being determined to bring in Seedorf makes me wonder if Berlusconi/Galliani should also go if the situation is to improve.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 6:50pm
If he had resolved to go, he should have just left immediately instead of wasting half of Milan's season this year. All of this season Milan have been far too temperamental as a team, playing well for brief spells and otherwise looking like their hearts aren't in the game. Allegri has said the same things, "I am calm... I am angry... We lost concentration... We give too much away on set plays... We give too much away in the air...", week after week, but nothing ever changed.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 6:41pm
I supported Allegri all the way through last season when he was being unjustly criticised for Milan's difficult circumstances. Milan's season was turned around and I believe that was down to his efforts. But I am very disappointed with his performance this season. He admitted that after the friction with Berlusconi last summer he resolved to go after this campaign, and now I can't help thinking he hasn't taken this season at Milan seriously, and has let the team slump knowing he is going anyway.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 6:28pm
Mark F I completely agree about bonera. It's embarrassing really. Still no talk of signing defenders. Looks like matri was a complete waste of time. Who would've thought we didn't need another striker!
on the 13th January, 2014 at 5:59pm
Not much point slagging off allegri at this stage what's done is done. Milan continue to struggle while Galliani is at the club. Hiring seedorf as a manager in this crisis is nothing short of an insult to milan fans. Even he has the potential to be a decent coach he's being put into an extreme difficult position. The only upside is the seasons already a write off. As long as he doesn't get us relegated!
on the 13th January, 2014 at 5:57pm
thank god juventus didn't buy that heap of rubbish i dont think Ive ever seen a kid as strong as him that goes down in installments so easy he needs to get on the leg weights and hes over rated, plays well for Italy rubbish at club level bad attitude doesn't put nearly enough effort in in fact he wouldn't get in the juventus team because he would cover more ground in one game for juve than he has done in three seasons anywhere else Milan simply put are awful.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 5:22pm
my god Victor really even when Milan get crushed you somehow see things in a game that no one else even remotely was 2 0 up and you lose 4 2 to the worse team in the league and yet you still manage to see good things in that game lol lol really.spec savers 2 for 1 pal jump on it because you eye sight is clearly blinkered as for balo Ive seen more strength in a four year old than that kid he dives every game he should have been booked for diving then sent off for doing it again.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 5:18pm
Good bye Massimo...I as a Juve Fun I always wanted all Italian teams upgrading them selves. I hope Milan could fire Galiani and sign contemporary director and coach and do well in UCL. Berardi has a lot to do and above all he should develop his status, character and ambition. Juve should sign him in the summer
on the 13th January, 2014 at 3:43pm
Berardi looks a real prospect. He and Cristante can be added to the growing list of emerging Italian talent. I hope he can develop into the next truly world class Italian international. I just hope he doesn't become one of those prospects who never live up to their true potential
on the 13th January, 2014 at 3:15pm
"We could be witnessing something very enigmatic here something that italian calcio hasn't seen, since the likes of Baggio, Vieri, Signori, Inzaghi and ofcourse DelPiero. What Berardi is doing for this club and for himself Whoa!... only 19 yrs of age.......against Milan 4goals unreal.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 3:10pm
When it looked like Cagliari would score a winning goal and it became evident Roma and napoli were on their way to huge victories, Rubentus thugs threatened the Cagliari dugout and the player's families and, ahem, convinced them to lose by a wide margin.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 2:18pm
Good job on coach Allegri. Keep playing Bonera Max lol.. This guy isn't even good enough to be playing in a house league let alone anywhere in Serie A. He's garbage. Milan lose nearly every game he plays. And he told Prandelli he's available if needed ??? lol. Prandelli must have had a good chuckle to himself. I blame this loss on the coach who's the only one who belives Bonera is worth of a spot and I blame the whole front office for not telling Max to never play this guy again. Garbage.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 2:06pm
Always exciting whenever a young Italian striker emerges.

As regards Milan, is anyone really surprised? With Berlusconi's past finally catching up with him, he's a much-reduced figure politically and financially these days, so investment into the squad was always going to suffer. It's fairly shameful to make Allegri the scapegoat; Berlusconi should do the honourable thing and sell the club on as soon as possible.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 1:27pm
Allegri should have gone long ago . Yes he did well season 1 and 2 but that was it. Yesterday's game was a one man show. However the post and the bar twice, one or two penalties for balo got ignored(seems like refs decided unless he gets punched in the face he's not getting anything). Hopefully this bonera last game too, horrendous defender.

Don't get pippo or seedorf, get someone with experience.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 12:47pm
Well done Sassuolo! Milan are rubbish with too many players whose egoes match their payslips but not their talent!
on the 13th January, 2014 at 12:36pm
At the moment Milan is nowhere close to Europe's elite. This Milan side has issues only a complete overhaul of the entire club structure would resolve. Juve is getting stronger every year and i hope that we can see this dominance in Europe in the next two seasons.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 11:39am
Does Galliani plan on resigning too after he has wasted yet more of the limited transfer funds available? Honestly I'd be happy to blow €11m of Berlusconi's money on a striker who we used to own and then sell him at a reduced price a mere 3 months later. Well done Galliani. Big clap. Moyes was at the Cagliari game so looks like we'll miss out on Astori.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 11:10am
I'm sure you'll run a seperate blog on this so that Milan Fans (being the most important fans in the world) can both thank Allegri and vent their frustration but I would just like to be the first to say thank you Allegri for delivering our first Scudetto since 2004. It is a shame in ended this way. We did have our differences but I believe you gave your best for Milan and a 1, 2, 3 finish is not a bad record to leave behind. Thank you.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 11:07am
What he did against Milan was one of the most exciting things I've have ever seen by a single individual in the game. That was pure finishing at it absolute finest, Glad to have witnessed it. I'm a fan of Berardi and I believe some very special achievements await him in his early career. Prandelli has to give him a chance for the national team and highly consider for the Word Cup if he keeps this goal scoring form.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 11:06am
It was quite a show last night. I compliment Milan for making my night.
on the 13th January, 2014 at 10:37am
A great showing from the teenager. And second in this seasons goal scoring charts. Let's hope Domenico Berardi continues this rich vein of form and maybe CP takes a long look at him to freshen up the azzurri and maybe a possible replacement for Rossi if injury keeps him out of the WC.

Forza Azzurri
on the 13th January, 2014 at 10:15am

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