Serie A

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Serie A: Mertens scores unreal goal; Napoli, Milan, Juve win (video)

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It’s early but signs of an actual title race in Italy are truly delightful.

Juventus and Napoli remain perfect, with the latter above the former in the Serie A table this early season following Wednesday wins.

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Roma and Atalanta posted blowout wins, while AC Milan won a day after their Milanese rivals Inter needed a 77th minute penalty to draw at Bologna.

Lazio 1-4 Napoli

There were five goals in this one, but the only one you need to witness comes on this unreal shot from an odd angle by the world’s top under-appreciated scorer: Dries Mertens.

Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina

Mario Mandzukic scored the lone goal as The Old Lady slipped further behind Napoli in goal difference.

AC Milan 2-0 SPAL

I Rossoneri scored on a penalty in each half, with new boys Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie converting the chances.

Benevento 0-4 Roma

Edin Dzeko buried a pair of goals and the hosts gifted i Lupi a pair of own goals.

Elsewhere
Bologna 1-1 Inter Milan — Tuesday
Cagliari 0-1 Sassuolo
Genoa 1-1 Chievo
Verona 0-0 Sampdoria
Udinese 2-3 Torino

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Napoli 5 5 0 0 19 3 16 2-0-0 3-0-0 15
 Juventus 5 5 0 0 14 3 11 3-0-0 2-0-0 15
 Inter Milan 5 4 1 0 11 2 9 2-0-0 2-1-0 13
 AC Milan 5 4 0 1 10 6 4 3-0-0 1-0-1 12
 Torino 5 3 2 0 10 5 5 1-1-0 2-1-0 11
 Lazio 5 3 1 1 10 8 2 1-1-1 2-0-0 10
 Roma 4 3 0 1 9 3 6 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
 Sampdoria 4 2 2 0 6 4 2 1-0-0 1-2-0 8
 Atalanta 5 2 1 2 9 7 2 2-0-1 0-1-1 7
 Fiorentina 5 2 0 3 8 7 1 1-0-1 1-0-2 6
 Cagliari 5 2 0 3 4 6 -2 1-0-1 1-0-2 6
 Chievo 5 1 2 2 5 8 -3 0-1-1 1-1-1 5
 Bologna 5 1 2 2 4 7 -3 0-2-1 1-0-1 5
 SPAL 5 1 1 3 3 8 -5 1-0-1 0-1-2 4
 Sassuolo 5 1 1 3 3 8 -5 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
 Udinese 5 1 0 4 7 10 -3 1-0-2 0-0-2 3
 Genoa 5 0 2 3 5 9 -4 0-1-2 0-1-1 2
 Verona 5 0 2 3 1 11 -10 0-1-2 0-1-1 2
 Crotone 5 0 1 4 1 11 -10 0-1-2 0-0-2 1
 Benevento 5 0 0 5 1 14 -13 0-0-3 0-0-2 0

La Liga & Serie A: Real Madrid cruises, Napoli nets six

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid

No Ronaldo. No problem for Real. Despite facing a stiff test from Sociedad on Sunday, Los Blancos used its depth to replace its Portuguese star. Borja Mayoral scored the game’s first goal for Real, ironically the 20-year-old’s first La Liga goal, before the home side equalized nine minutes later. The lead was restored in the 36th minute off of a Kevin Rodrigues own goal, while Gareth Bale tacked on the third for Real after the hour mark. Sociedad remains ahead of Madrid in the La Liga table, but the gap is now just one point between the two sides.

Girona 0-1 Sevilla

Sevilla remained unbeaten through the opening four rounds of play on Sunday after facing a difficult road trip to Girona. The hosts had several opportunities throughout the match, but failed to notch a shot on target, which helped Sevilla make them pay. Luis Muriel scored the game’s lone goal in the 69th minute after the forward finished off the Franco Vázquez cross.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 0-3 Villareal
Las Palmas 1-0 Athletic Bilbao

 


Napoli 6-0 Benevento

When Napoli is clicking, they are a really difficult team to beat. The Serie A leaders remained unbeaten on Sunday after comfortably handling upstarts Benevento behind a Dries Mertens hat-trick. The hosts found the back of the net just three minutes into the match through Allan, before Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Mertens each scored before halftime. Napoli now boasts an impressive +13 goal differential after only four matches in domestic play.

Sassuolo 1-3 Juventus

Paulo Dybala’s hat-trick helped give Juventus its fourth win of the new Serie A season to remain level on points with Napoli. For Dybala, the Argentine surpassed the 50-goal mark with the Bianconeri with his first finish, before adding two more goals in the second stanza. Meanwhile, the home side scored almost immediately after Dybala’s second to make the match close, but Sassuolo couldn’t find a second.

Elsewhere in Serie A

AC Milan 2-1 Udinese
SPAL 0-2 Cagliari
Torino 2-2 Sampdoria
Chievo Verona 1-1 Atalanta
Genoa 2-2 Lazio

Serie A: Inter Milan run away late to stay perfect

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Inter Milan stayed perfect in Serie A with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Crotone, which remained on Saturday the only team yet to score a goal in the league.

Inter won its previous three matches comfortably but found it harder than expected at Crotone until eight minutes from time when defender Milan Skriniar broke the deadlock.

Ivan Perisic sealed the result in stoppage time.

“Crotone made it difficult for us … we’ll see how many teams manage to win here,” Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said. “We faced two situations where (Inter goalkeeper Samir) Handanovic did well but they shouldn’t have happened … we’re not a great team yet, but we played with character which is important.”

Opportunities were few and far between at Stadio Scida and it was Crotone which had the best chances, with Handanovic pulling off two fine second-half saves to deny Aleksandar Tonev and Marcus Rohden.

However, Inter took the lead when a free kick ricocheted around the area before Skriniar bundled in the ball with his third attempt for his first Serie A goal.

Perisic was left unmarked to gather Joao Mario’s pass, cut inside, and fire into the bottom right corner.

Federico Chiesa scored a goal his father would have been proud of to set Fiorentina on its way to beating Bologna 2-1.

“He’s a good lad who should not listen much to what is being said around him and instead center himself a lot on his work: He can still improve, together with the team,” Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli said. “I never doubted he would stay here: He is only at the start of his journey.”

Little of note happened before Chiesa – the son of prolific former goalscorer Enrico – cut inside the left of the area, beat a defender, and curled a fantastic strike into the far side of the net in the 51st minute.

However, Bologna was back level a minute later when Rodrigo Palacio finished off a rapid counterattack with a half-volley.

German Pezzella scored what was to prove the winner in the 69th with a looping header from a corner.

Palacio almost equalized but his header came off the left post.

It was Fiorentina’s second successive victory after losing its first two matches.

Serie A: Icardi, Perisic keep Inter Milan perfect; AC Milan trounced

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ROME (AP) The dynamic duo of Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic are proving unstoppable in Serie A and Inter Milan is quickly moving on from last season’s failures and upheaval.

Icardi scored his fifth goal in three matches and Perisic added another as Inter beat Serie B champion Spal 2-0 Sunday to extend its perfect start in the Italian league.

Each of Inter’s eight goals this season have involved either Icardi or Perisic, with goals or assists.

Video replays were used to set up Icardi’s first-half penalty and Perisic sealed the result three minutes from time.

Inter drew level on points with six-time defending champion Juventus, which defeated Chievo Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

Later, Napoli also had a chance to extend its perfect start at Bologna.

Big-spending AC Milan dropped its first points in a 4-1 loss at Lazio, which got a hat trick from Ciro Immobile.

Including Roberto Mancini’s surprise resignation two weeks before the season began, Inter struggled through four managerial changes in the 2016-17 campaign and finished seventh to miss out on European competition.

But order appears to have been restored with the appointment of former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti in June.

“There are three big points, especially since Inter struggled against the smaller clubs last season,” said assistant coach Marco Domenichini, who handled the post-match interviews because Spalletti lost his voice during the game.

“It’s great to have nine points but we’ve still got to improve, especially in terms of ball control,” Domenichini added.

Leonardo Semplici, the coach of Ferrara-based Spal, believes Inter will challenge Juventus and Napoli.

“They’ve got a really good and experienced manager. They’re going to battle until the end for the title,” Semplici said.

At the San Siro, Inter was in control from the start and Icardi used a quick touch to set up Joao Mario at the edge of the area when the Portuguese international was tripped by a defender.

The referee immediately pulled out a yellow card for the defender, Francesco Vicari, and then a five-minute delay ensued as the referee sought video assistance to determine if the foul occurred inside or outside the area.

Eventually, the penalty was awarded and Icardi calmly slotted his spot kick in the left side of the goal as the `keeper went the other way.

It was Icardi’s 77th goal in Serie A for Inter, placing him joint 10th on the club’s all-time list with Attilio Demaria.

After Inter’s Milan Skriniar hit the crossbar, Perisic volleyed in a cross from Danilo D’Ambrosio for his second score of the season to go along with his four assists.

Fresh off his goal for Italy in a 1-0 win over Israel in World Cup qualifying, Lazio striker Immobile was in full control at the Stadio Olimpico against remodeled Milan, which spent more than 200 million euros (nearly $250 million) in the transfer market.

Late in the first half, Immobile converted a penalty and then scored again with an acrobatic volley.

After the break, Immobile slotted inside the near post following an expert setup from Marco Parolo then provided the assist when Luis Alberto finished off a swift counterattack.

Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back for Milan in a match in which kickoff was delayed for an hour due to severe rain.

After scoring only one goal in its opening two matches – both losses – Fiorentina routed promoted Hellas Verona 5-0.

Giovanni Simeone, Cyril Thereau, Davide Astori, Jordan Veretout and Gil Dias scored for the Tuscan club, which has had to overcome the sale of nearly all of its most prized players.

Fiorentina sold Nikola Kalinic to Milan, Borja Valero and Matias Vecino to Inter Milan and Federico Bernardeschi to Juventus.

Verona had never lost by four or more goals at home in Serie A.

Also, Atalanta beat Sassuolo 2-1; Cagliari celebrated the opening of its new stadium, the Sardegna Arena, with a 1-0 victory over Crotone; and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men.

VIDEO: Immobile nets rapid hat trick as Lazio beat AC Milan

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Ciro Immobile is in the form of his life.

The Italian international striker scored a 10-minute hat trick in Lazio’s 4-1 demolition of big-spending AC Milan on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome with the kick off delayed due to heavy rainfall in the Italian capital.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

This game took a while to get going but all four of Lazio’s goals came in an 11-minute spell around half time as Immobile started the scoring in the 38th minute and Luis Alberto ended it in the 49th minute.

Milan pulled a goal back through Roberto Montolivo but Vincenzo Montella, who spent $235 million on new players over the summer, could only look on in disbelief as his side succumbed to an incredible blitz.

Immobile (who scored 29 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions last season) has now scored six goals in four games for Lazio to start the 2017-18 campaign — he has 17 Serie A goals in 2017, with only Dries Mertens scoring more — as they momentarily moved into third place in the table.

Take a look at Immobile banging them in below.