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Serie A 2016-17 Roundup: Matchweek 1

AS Roma
As Roma were the biggest winners on the first day of the Serie A
Rahat Jain
ANALYST
Modified 23 Aug 2016, 15:25 IST
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It was a fantastic week of Serie A action to begin the new season. 32 goals were scored in the opening set of 10 matches, and there wasn’t any lack of drama either. Milan had to turn to their star 17-year-old goalkeeper to save a penalty in stoppage time to hold on for a win, and Napoli clawed back from a two-goal half-time deficit to earn a point. 

Lazio would win a 7 goal thriller at Atlanta while Juventus would edge ahead of Fiorentina at the Juventus stadium. Roma took a while to break the deadlock against Udinese, but eventually powered through.

We take a look at the action in depth:

Roma thrash clueless Udinese (Roma 4 – Udinese 0)

This could have been a tricky fixture for the Romans, sandwiched in between their trip to Portugal for the Champions League play-offs and the next leg at the Olimpico. Luciano Spalletti could have chosen to rest a chunk of his players for their CL qualifier, but he named a very strong 11. Only Daniele De Rossi and Diego Perotti were replaced.

It took Roma a while to break the deadlock, though they always looked lively. Edin Dzeko was brought down in the box, and Diego Perotti (who had been subbed on) stepped up to bury the penalty.

Perotti was confident taking on another penalty only 11 minutes later, and he scored again to give Roma a comfortable lead. Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah would add their names to the scoreline within the next ten minutes, netting goals that their performances deserved.

Roma ran out comfortable 4-0 winners at the Stadio Olimpico and their coach will hope that their momentum carries onto to their season-defining match against Porto.

Higuain wins it for Juve against Fiorentina (Juventus 2 – Fiorentina 1)

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Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain scored the winner for Juventus

Such is the strength of the Bianconeri’s squad that even whilst missing midfielders like Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio because of injury they hardly looked too perturbed against one of the better sides in the division. Mario Lemina keeps improving and Kwadko Asamoah is getting back to his best after a spate of injuries. It was their dynamic German midfielder Sami Khedira who gave Juve the lead though with a great finish.

His ability to hustle around the pitch and find space to chip in with goals makes him one of the best midfielders in world football. Nikola Kalinic nodded in a corner to get Fiorentina level, but Gonzalo Higuain (who else?) would come off the bench and poke in the winner from close range. Can anyone stop the Juve juggernaut?

Also read: Serie A 16/17: 5 things we learnt from Matchday 1

Bacca edges Milan past Torino (Milan 3 – Torino 2)

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Carlos Bacca scored a hattrick to edge Milan past Torino In a thrilling game at the San Siro. Sinisa Mihajlovic was returning to his old club in his first Serie A match after being dismissed as the Rossoneri coach from last term, hoping to get a result. Milan’s Colombian star forward showed his poaching instincts to put Milan ahead off a gorgeous Abate floated cross only for Andrea Belotti to equalize off another lovely cross by former Juve player Cristian Molinaro.

Milan fans had only started pulling out their hair when Bacca struck again, this time after some great work by M’baye Niang down the touchline. He would go on to bury a penalty won by Jack Bonaventura minutes later and Milan even looked like they could score a 4th goal.

But if recent years are any marker, than Milan rarely like to make things easy for themselves and some slack defending let Daniele Baselli calmly slot in for 3-2 in stoppage time after chaos in the Milan box.

And when Torino were given a penalty for the last kick of the game after some shoddy defending from Gabriel Paletta, Rossoneri fans must have been getting ready to smash their TV sets.  But Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his side embarrassment again (At 17 years old, he’s already done that several times) and kept out Belotti’s penalty.

Inter fall to Chievo (Chievo Verona 2 – Inter Milan 0)

Frank De Boer got a ruthless welcome to Serie A with a loss at Chievo Verona. The ‘flying donkeys’ were in fine form, as tight as ever in defence and making their chances at the other end count. Eder had a powerful low shot saved before Valter Birsa, one of the more underrated trequartistas in Serie A gave them Chievo the lead.

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Birsa evaded several Inter defenders to bundle his shot in and the home crowd went berserk. Inter had a couple of set pieces from which they threatened but struggled to create chances in open play. Birsa would then score a gorgeous curler from outside the box to make his manager Rolando Maran break into one of the biggest grins you’ll ever see from him.

Napoli rescue draw at Pescara (Pescara 2 – Napoli 2)

Napoli had to comeback from 2 goals down to rescue a point at the Stadio Adriatico. Napoli have been immensely active in the transfer market, even if they have failed in finding a like for like replacement for Gonzalo Higuain. A lot of talented players have been brought in though, including Poland forward Arkadiusz Milik.

Milik wouldn’t start though, and it was Ahmed Benali who gave Pescara the lead when he clipped the ball over Pepe Reina. Gianluca Caprari, who was playing as a false 9  then sent the Adriatico into ecstasy when he doubled the newly promoted side’s lead before half-time.

The well-drilled outfit managed by former Milan player Massimo Oddo was showing their potential.  Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri brought on Milik and Dries Mertens to attempt to turn the tide, and the latter would score two excellent goals to draw his side level.

Other results

Genoa 3 – Cagliari 1

Bologna 1 – Crotone 0

Empoli 0 – Sampdoria 1

Atlanta 3 – Lazio 4

Palermo 0 – Sassuolo 1

Published 23 Aug 2016, 13:50 IST
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