It was a positive opening weekend for the favorite teams for the Scudetto of Serie A, as holders Juventus and contenders Inter and Napoli both took the 3 points. Meanwhile, Roma was held to a 3-3 draw, that still appealed to neutral fans who enjoy a goal fest.
Debutants Brescia also came back with a win, although the eagerly expected return of Mario Balotelli hasn’t happened yet. On the other side, AC Milan took off the same way as they finished last year: disappointing the ones who are expecting them to finally break into the top 4. It’s too soon to say it, but it might be another season for the rossoneri to stay locked outside the Champions League spots.
Here is everything that happened in the Serie A schedule during matchday one.
VAR takes away Ronaldo’s goal, but Juventus still get the 3 points
Maurizio Sarri took over Juventus this Summer and he had a pretty standard start, with a win away over Parma (0-1). Just a few minutes in, Cristiano Ronaldo took the measures of the goal a bit too wide, as he headed the ball past the bar after Khedira’s cross.
However, it wasn’t CR7 who broke the deadlock, but Giorgio Chiellini. The experienced center back took advantage of a rebound, after a corner kick, with Alex Sandro sending the ball into the box. Bonucci played a dummy, assisting his defense partner for the opening goal.
VAR still reviewed the goal, but Chiellini was ‘on side’ and the scoreline was 0-1. The same VAR, however, would rule out Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal some minutes later, claiming the Portuguese forward was offside. We let you judge on this one, but we doubt Ronaldo’s nose is that big to be offside.
Juventus would keep the tight margin til the end and an overwhelming number of 14 attempts, none was able to expand the scoreline. Still, there was time for Rabiot to come in the second half and make his debut with the ‘Vecchia Signora’. On the other hand, €80M signing De Ligt did not come out of the bench, which shows how much depth Sarri disposes of right now in Juventus.
Napoli survive to a goal fest in Florence
Fiorentina hosted Napoli in the first matchday of Serie A and what a game it was. 9 minutes in and a handball by Zielinski, sent the hosts to the penalty spot, after a VAR check. Chilean Erick Pulgar, signed by Fiorentina from Bologna, put the Viola ahead.
It took until 38 minutes for Napoli to strike back, with the usual suspect. The Belgian Dries Mertens received a pass from Mario Rui outside the box, curling a stunning finish past Dragowski. Just 4 minutes later, Mertens again was tripped in the area and the ref pointed at the penalty spot again. Insigne turned the tables and put Napoli ahead for the first time in the game (1-2).
Still, the party wasn’t over, and the second half would bring another rollercoaster of emotions. First, it was Milenkovic, putting the game as a draw again, netting a header after a corner for Fiorentina.
Then, five minutes later, without time to breath from the goal suffered, Napoli put themselves in front once again, with Callejon firing a superb strike.
Another five minutes and Fiorentina were on the fight again. Debutant Kevin Prince Boateng showed why the Viola have signed him and in another outside the box shot, shook Napoli’s goalie for the third time.
It was Insigne to put the final nail in Fiorentina’s coffin, as he netted a header after a Callejon’s precise pass. A curious goal for a player who is just 1,63m tall (5ft 4.1).
The final 10 minutes did not bring more goals, but it was enough time for Ribery to make his debut for Fiorentina. The game ended 4-3, but there were plenty of reasons for Fiorentina fans to be excited about the new season.
Inter cruise past Lecce on Monday evening
The last match of the Serie A table happened on Monday evening, with Internazionale receiving Lecce, on their return to Italian topflight. Antonio Conte had his first official match in charge of the nerazzurri and it couldn’t have been better.
Lecce’s resistance took until the 21 minutes when Marcelo Brozovic shot a stunning curled effort from outside the box to the top corner of the opponent’s goal. An absolute masterpiece goal, which would be the perfect start for a perfect game.
Three minutes later, former Sassuolo man, Stefano Sensi, signed this season by Inter had a perfect debut, dribbling past two defenders, to put the ball slowly into the back of the net.
In the second half, another goal for another debutant. Romelu Lukaku, signed this summer from Manchester United, enjoyed a rebound, after a Lautaro Martinez attempt, to put his name on the scoresheet.
Still, the icing on the cake was reserved for last. Antonio Candreva received a pass from Nicolo Barella – one more Summer signing – to shoot a rocket from distance. A perfect volley, that sealed the deal for Inter, who won 4-0 and made a statement that Serie A this year will be very interesting to watch.
Disappointing starts for Roma and AC Milan
Once again, the rossoneri look at their opponents firing goals, while they stay behind. AC Milan coach Marco Giampaolo did not have the start he was hoping for, falling short to a 1-0 defeat to Udinese.
The matchwinner goal came from a first time Serie A debutant, Rodrigo Becao, a Brazilian defender signed from Bahia to Udinese this Summer. Milan had very few attempts on target and can thank Donnarumma, for not having a larger difference on the scoresheet.
Roma also did not have the perfect start they wished for, but Paulo Fonseca should be trusted for the matches to come. They drew 3-3 at the Olimpico against Genoa. Turkish sensation Cengiz Under put the gialorrossi at the front with 6 minutes on the clock.
Just a few minutes later though, Italian international Andrea Pinamonti leveled it for Genoa. However, Roma’s Bosnian tower, Edin Dzeko put his team ahead on the match again, dribbling patch three defenders and finishing it perfectly.
The Romans would be unlucky and get a penalty before the end of the first half when clumsy defending by Juan Jesus, made Pinamonti trip over and the ref pointed to the spot. Criscito didn’t miss from the mark and the game was drawn again.
Kolarov would put Roma winning again after a flawless free-kick execution in the early second half, but Genoa did not give up and Kouame headed it in at the 70 minutes, to make the final score 3-3. Fonseca can trust his team for a positive Serie A campaign, but Roma will still need to address defensive issues.
Muriel with a perfect debut for Atalanta
What a first matchday for Serie A. Besides the 3-4 at Florence and the 3-3 at Roma, we would see another match full of goals in SPAL vs Atalanta. The Bergamo team, who will compete in Champions League this season, did not have the best start though as Federico di Francesco put SPAL ahead in the 6th minute.
Andrea Petagna would make it worse for the visitors, as he made it 2-0 for SPAL at 26. Atalanta showed immense spirit and came back, with Robin Gosens making it 2-1 in the first half.
The show was reserved for the second part though, as debutant Luis Muriel, signed from Sevilla this Summer, entered in the 55 minutes and had an immediate impact. The Colombian scored a brace, in the 70 and 76 minutes, to make Atalanta bag 3 points and prove they might not be a one-season wonder. And Gian Piero Gasperini keeps showing Europe he is one undeniably great coach.
Lazio and Torino start Serie A with wins
If Roma stumbled past a fierce Genoa side, their city rivals Lazio showed no mercy against Sampdoria. Ciro Immobile, who continues to bang goals for fun in Lazio, bagged two, while Argentinian midfielder Joaquin Correa complete the scoreline (0-3).
Meanwhile, Torino had to suffer to get past Sassuolo. Zaza and Belotti put the ‘Toro’ winning 2-0, but Francesco Caputo gave confidence to Sassuolo in the last minutes, which wasn’t enough for a win.
Torino bagged 3 points with a 2-1 win and they will need the extra confidence to reverse their Europa League tie (2-3 right now) when they travel to Moulinex this Thursday to face Wolverhampton.
Positive returns for Brescia and Hellas Verona
Brescia came back to Serie A, after eight years in the lower divisions and they had a perfect start, as they got past Cagliari with a tangential 0-1 win. Nainggolan started for Cagliari, where he moved this Summer, but he was not able to stop Brescia, who took advantage of a handball by Cerri to seal the result from the penalty spot.
Alfredo Donnarumma (no relation to the Milan keeper) was the one in charge to take the kick and he did not miss it. It wasn’t this time that we saw Balotelli debuting for Brescia though since the striker is still dealing with physical form issues.
In the remaining match of the Serie A round-up, Hellas Verona could also have the perfect return to the Serie A against Bologna, but they were 10 men down after Pawel Dawidowicz was sent off at the 13 minutes. The Polish defender made an illegal tackle on Orsolini and the ref not only showed the red card but also pointed to the penalty spot. Sansone did not hesitate and made it 1-0 for Bologna.
Hellas showed a tremendous spirit though, and shortly after their new signing, Miguel Veloso scored a perfect free-kick to make the game 1-1. They held tight to the draw and took 1 point with them.
That’s it for Serie A matchday one, but lookout for the next weekend, when Juventus will host Napoli, in the first match between Scudetto contenders. If that is not enough for you, Lazio and Roma will measure forces in the capital derby in the Olimpico. Stay tuned!
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