Serie A Femminile: Juventus extend their lead, Hellas Verona go down and Empoli edge closer to safety

Date:23rd March 2022 at 9:15am
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Round 17 of Serie A Femminile saw Juventus Women take another step towards their fifth title in a row and Empoli edge closer to safety, whilst Hellas Verona had their relegation confirmed.

There was also a feel-good story surrounding a Ukrainian referee who was given the opportunity to take charge of Inter’s match against Sampdoria.

Juventus on the brink of another Serie A Femminile title

Ever since a gap formed between Juventus and Sassuolo after Christmas it has seemed inevitable that Juve would be winning their fifth straight Serie A Femminile title.

Roma’s recent resurgence and two poor results for the Bianconere against Fiorentina and Empoli meant there was a glimmer of a title race. The gap was just three points heading into this weekend.

Being the ruthless winning machine that Joe Montemurro’s side are, they have swiftly put an end to any real speculation about a second-place finish.

They comfortably beat Napoli 2-0 in Campania with a goal in each half from Lina Hurtig and Arianna Caruso.

That result was followed by Roma only managing a 1-1 draw with AC Milan thanks to Andressa Alves’ equaliser in the second half after Lindsey Thomas had opened the scoring against her former side.

With only five games left, if Roma do have any hopes of overtaking Juve they simply must be winning every single game and be relying on favours from elsewhere. The gap is now five points.

What those two results do mean, though, is that the race for the second Women’s Champions League spot behind Juventus is going right down to the wire.

Sassuolo could only manage a 1-1 draw away at Empoli, needing an 86th-minute equaliser from Alice Parisi. Their drop in form means that Roma sit in second with 39 points, Sassuolo have 36, and Milan have 34.

That may seem like a wide points range but with the unpredictable nature of the results recently, both Sassuolo and Milan can harbour hopes of Champions League football next season. Sassuolo host Roma at the Stadio Enzo Ricci on March 26.

If they’re feeling really ambitious, you could throw Inter into that mix. They’re now on 32 points after a dramatic 4-3 win at home to Sampdoria. It would take a big turnaround but Rita Guarino’s side are not completely out of the fight yet.

Hellas Verona go down as Empoli edge closer to safety

The writing had been on the wall for a very long time but Hellas Verona finally had their relegation to Serie B confirmed at the weekend.

They have been sat on a singular point for the majority of the season and have never looked like adding to that tally. A lot of work has to be done at that club if they are to stand any chance of returning to Serie A at the first time of asking.

Lazio are not officially down although they are 11 points off safety. The Biancoceleste’s game against Pomigliano was postponed due to COVID-19 cases. In terms of those in the fight whose fate is not a foregone conclusion, it was not a good weekend for Napoli.

They of course lost at home to Juve and it was Fiorentina who sent Verona down by winning 6-0. Whilst Empoli did not win, their point at home to Sassuolo is an impressive one and every point is like gold dust for those teams fighting to avoid that last relegation spot.

Napoli occupy that spot right now on 15 points, with Fiorentina on 18 and Empoli and Pomigliano on 19. They’re all undoubtedly in danger and the next five games will be fascinating to see who can escape, especially given there are plenty of direct clashes between those four teams towards the end of the campaign.

Ukrainian referee takes the field in Milan

There was an important and heart-warming moment in Serie A Femminile this weekend as leading Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul was chosen to take charge of Inter’s match against Sampdoria.

Monzul comes from Kharkiv, a city that has been specifically targeted by the Russian military in their invasion of Ukraine. She fled the fighting in her country and has found herself in Italy. The FIGC has said that its doors are open to help those living through difficult times.

Monzul first made headlines when she became the first woman to referee an England men’s international match. Now she will be refereeing in Serie A Femminile until at least the end of the season.

Serie A Femminile Round 17 results:

Napoli 0-2 Juventus
Roma 1-1 Milan
Empoli 1-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 6-0 Hellas Verona
Inter 4-3 Sampdoria
Pomigliano P-P Lazio