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Serie A roundup: AC Milan escape Genoa with cathartic win (video)

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AC Milan’s first win following three consecutive losses headlines Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Genoa 1-2 AC Milan

Cathartic: the word that best summarizes AC Milan’s victory in Genoa, because even though only a goal separated Milan and Genoa after 90 minutes, the game had one too many subplots.

 

Lasse Schöne opened the scoreline for the home side, scoring from a direct free-kick from distance – a strike Pepe Reina could have saved with ease – minutes before both teams headed into the dressing room. As a result, the pressure was on Milan, who had been distracted by the growing rumors of Marco Giampaolo’s sacking leading up to the game.

What a response they gave.

Just within 12 minutes of the second half whistle, I Rossoneri responded with two goals of their own. The second, scored by midfielder Franck Kessie from the penalty spot, put the visitors up 2-1 against a 9-men Genoa.

Late in the game, with the villain title already on his back, Reina caused more troubles for Milan, rewarding Genoa with the penalty of their own. The Spanish veteran, however, redeemed himself, stopping Genoa’s strike from the spot. The 37-year-old quickly went from villain to hero.

With some pressure off his shoulder Giampaolo and his men take a two-week break before hosting Lecce, while Genoa travel to Parma following the international break.

Elsewhere in Serie A

SPAL 1- 0 Parma

Verona 2- 0 Sampdoria

Serie A: Milan stunned; Roma draw in six-goal thriller (video)

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight.

Roma 3-3 Genoa

There were plenty of promising talking points in Roma’s season opening six-goal thriller against Genoa, but their draw certainly overwrote almost everything with red ink.

Edin Dzeko was one of the few highlights that remained in the clear. The 33-year-old – five seasons into his Roma spell -scored and assisted for I Giallorossi. Recent arrival, Davide Zappacosta, made his debut in the 78th minute.

Genoa, not necessarily impressive throughout the match, figured out a way to crack Roma’s defense. When they conceded, they’d respond. Stadio Olimpico saw six lead changes, with Christian Kouame’s diving header in the 70th minute splitting the points.

For a Roma that missed out on qualifying for the Champions League last season, the result is a low-blow right off the bat. For Genoa, who remained in Serie A by a miraculous goal, a six-goal thriller in Roma is music to their ears.

Udinese 1-0 AC Milan

Another Italian giant had a slow, first day at the office.

AC Milan, boasting a plethora of firepower, were outclassed by a well-prepared and structured Udinese.

Rodrigo Becão’s debut goal was the only difference between both sides. Milan, who are already three points behind favorites such as Juventus and Napoli, have plenty of questions to answer. The reported possible arrival of Angel Correa may certainly help on the attacking side of things, but Marco Giampaolo still has plenty of work laid out in front of him.

Banned from Europa League for overspending by Financial Play Fair Rules, Milan are expected to fully focus on the Serie A campaign, which they have yet to win since the 2010/11 campaign.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Sampdoria 0-3 Lazio 

Cagliari 0-1 Brescia

Verona 1-1 Bologna 

SPAL 2-3 Atalanta 

Torino 2-1 Sassuolo 

Atalanta up to third in Serie A after beating Genoa

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MILAN (AP) Atalanta kept alive its dream of qualifying for the Champions League for the first time by beating relegation-threatened Genoa 2-1 in Serie A on Saturday.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

Halftime substitute Musa Barrow scored seconds after the interval and Timothy Castagne doubled Atalanta’s lead in the 53rd minute as the team stretched its unbeaten streak to 11 matches and moved to third in Serie A.

Goran Pandev netted a consolation for Genoa a minute from time.

Atalanta moved two points above fourth-placed Inter Milan, which hosts already-relegated Chievo Verona on Monday.

The top four from Serie A qualify for the Champions League. AC Milan and Roma are four points below Inter.

Milan visits Fiorentina later, while Roma hosts Italian champion Juventus on Sunday. There are two rounds remaining after this weekend.

Genoa remained four points above the relegation zone.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Serie A: Juventus falls, Napoli and Lazio win

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Juventus has fallen.

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, and the Old Lady lost a match for the first time in Serie A play all season, stunned 2-0 at Genoa on a pair of goals in the last 20 minutes by Stefano Sturaro and Goran Pandev.

Juventus was toothless for much of the match, held without a shot on target the entire 90 minutes in just six total efforts. On the other side, Genoa collected 18 total shots, putting five of them on net despite just 40% possession.

The hosts nearly had the opener in the first 30 minutes but a penalty given for a handball on Joao Cancelo in the area, but it was cancelled after a check by VAR. They would remain dangerous throughout, and finally grab the lead in the 72nd minute through a most unlikely source.

Stefano Sturaro, off the bench just two minutes earlier for his first Genoa appearance since joining in January from Juventus on loan, scored with a bouncer from the top of the box. Nobody closed him down, and he took a feed from fellow substitute Pandev and slotted it past a diving Mattia Perin. Pandev then finished himself in the same corner with the left foot, taking a wonderful cut pass from Cristian Kouame and slotting it through to secure the win.

The Scudetto is in no danger, still 18 points clear of Napoli, but the loss is notable as Juventus was chasing an unbeaten season. Genoa moves into 12th with the win, a full nine points above the drop.

Elsewhere, Lazio and Napoli each scored four goals in wins. Amin Younes and Jose Callejon both scored inside the opening half-hour, while Arkadiusz Milik and Dries Mertens finished off the 4-2 win over Udinese in the second half. Kevin Lasagna  and Seko Fofana both scored before the break for Udinese to level things up, but Napoli was too hot to handle holding 66% of the possession and putting five shots on target, with four finding the back of the net.

Lazio, meanwhile, hammered Parma 4-1 with all four goals coming in a dominant first half. Luis Alberto bagged a brace, including one from the penalty spot, while Senad Lulic and Adam Marusic sandwiched that with strikes of their own. The penalty for Alberto was significant not just for him, but also for Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe who saw it go right under his outstretched arm for his 24th straight penalty without a single save.

Empoli picked up an enormous win in the relegation battle, topping fellow battlers Frosinone at home 2-1 to rise out of the drop zone. Francesco Caputo and Marko Pajac picked up the winners, cancelling out a late consolation by Luca Valzania in the 70th minute. The three points moves Empoli to 25 points on the year, one above Bologna to put them in 17th. Frosinone, meanwhile, remains in 19th on 17 points.

Finally, Atalanta and Chievo Verona drew 1-1, a brutal blow for Atalanta in the chase for a Champions League place, leaving them in seventh with 45 points, five back of Inter in the final spot.

Juve’s unbeaten season ends at hands of former player Sturaro

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Juventus is going to cruise to the Serie A title — a couple more wins will do the trick — but it will not do so without suffering a loss.

Second-half goals from former Juve player Stefano Sturaro and Macedonian legend Goran Pandev led 12th place Genoa past Juventus 2-0 on Sunday at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

[ MORE: Klopp dismisses Bayern talk ]

Pandev, a longtime Juve nemesis himself, scored nine minutes after Sturaro’s opener, with both players coming off the bench to bag their goals.

Remarkably, Sturaro scored three goals in 90 matches for Juve and was making his debut for Genoa. He had subbed into the match two minutes earlier!

Juventus was without Cristiano Ronaldo and kept Georgio Chiellini, Wojciech Szczesny, and Federico Bernadeschi on the bench following its memorable midweek UEFA Champions League comeback win over Atletico Madrid.

Juve holds an 18-point lead on second-place Napoli. The Old Lady has 10 matches left, while Napoli has 11 on the docket beginning with a 1 p.m. ET visit from Udinese.