Much of the talk this week as Rodrigo de Paul returned from international duty with Argentina was that AC Milan were plotting a swoop for the 24-year-old, who has been one of the standout performers in Serie A so far this season.
De Paul backed that up on Saturday with a match winning display for Udinese against Roma, scoring a fine solo goal to end a woeful run of form for the Zebrette and dent the visitors hopes of climbing towards the top four.
Roma failed to take their chances and it was in fact former Racing goalkeeper Juan Musso who impressed between the sticks for Udinese making nine saves en route to a vital clean sheet but the home side still needed to find a match winner. And that came in the form of De Paul shortly after half time. There didn’t appear much danger when compatriot Ignacio Pussetto flicked the ball into the path of De Paul but cutting in off the left between two Roma defenders, the Argentine found himself one-on-one with Antonio Mirante and finished superbly.
If his call-up to the Argentina squad were not evidence enough, De Paul is in the form of his career and finally making good on his enormous potential as a teenager at Racing Club.
Another graduate of La Academia was also on target in Italy as Lautaro Martínez found the net in Inter’s 3-0 win over Frosinone.
Resting Mauro Icardi ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, Inter manager Luciano Spalletti looked to Martínez to make an impact and although Keita Balde scored twice, the 20-year-old Argentinian scored his second league goal of the campaign.
A fine header from Keita’s left-wing cross doubled Inter’s lead just before the hour mark and with Inter securing the points, the Nerazzurri moved alongside Napoli in second place.
Inter’s city rivals AC Milan were denied victory by a stoppage time equaliser from Joaquín Correa.
The 24-year-old came off the bench during the second half for Lazio in search of a winner but it was Milan who led with a little over ten minutes remaining though Franck Kessie. However, deep in added time, Correa controlled a high ball on his thigh before rifling a half volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
With three goals to his name this season, Correa will be hoping to force his way into Lazio’s starting eleven on a regular basis and then perhaps reclaim a spot in Argentina’s squad ahead of next year’s Copa América.
The big story in LaLiga was Real Madrid suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Eibar.
Santiago Solari was named permanent manager after a successful stint as caretaker but the Argentinian coach was handed a first defeat as Eibar celebrated a first ever win over the Spanish giants.
Boca Juniors academy product Gonzalo Escalante bundled Eibar in front after quarter of an hour and although further goals by Sergi Enrich and Kike made the victory all the more emphatic, it in no way flattered the relative minnows.