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SPAL tops Atalanta 2-0, now 2nd in Serie A table

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SPAL finished 17th last season, just three points above the drop, but Serie A minnows SPAL may have turned things around.

23-year-old AC Milan youth product Andrea Petagna scored a pair within six minutes of each other soon after halftime, and that was all SPAL needed as they topped Atalanta 2-0 at Stadio Paolo Mazza. Atalanta held 57% possession, but couldn’t find a way through, only able to put one of its 13 shots on frame.

The win moved SPAL to second in the Serie A table, level with Napoli on points but ahead by three goals on differential, with Napoli on a 0 goal differential thanks to its baffling 3-0 loss at Sampdoria two weekends ago. Through four matches, SPAL has conceded just a single goal, coming in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Torino, their only blemish so far this season.

The victory marked SPAL’s first match back in its home ground, which had been renovated to increase capacity to 16,000 which was the minimum to host Serie A matches. They had been playing home matches at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in nearby Bologna, the usual home site for fellow Serie A side Bologna FC. Last season’s 17th placed finish was the club’s first campaign in the top flight since 1968.

SPAL and Napoli still sit three points back of eight-time defending champions Juventus, who are on a perfect 12 points through four matches. SPAL visits Fiorentina next weekend.

Parma shock Inter for 1st win back in Serie A; Napoli bounce back

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MILAN (AP) Just three years after going bankrupt, Parma upset Inter Milan 1-0 at San Siro in Serie A on Saturday.

And it was a player on loan from Inter, Federico Dimarco, who scored a spectacular long-range goal to hand Parma its first win in the topflight after a fairytale rise through the divisions.

It was also Parma’s first win at Inter since 1999.

For Inter, it was a disappointing way to warm up for its return to the Champions League.

The Nerazzurri host Tottenham on Tuesday in their first match in Europe’s elite club competition in more than six years.

With that game in mind, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rested Mauro Icardi, Matteo Politano, Kwadwo Asamoah – although all three came on in the second half.

Inter had the better chances for much of the match.

Dimarco was sent on by Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa at the start of the second half and was almost the villain of the match as he appeared to handle the ball when clearing off the line against Ivan Perisic, but the referee waved play on.

The 20-year-old left back proved to be the hero 11 minutes from time with a stunning shot from 30 yards into the top right corner. It was Dimarco’s first Serie A goal and he celebrated wildly against his former team.

Sampdoria visited Frosinone late.

Napoli exorcised some of the ghosts of last season by beating Fiorentina 1-0.

When the two sides last met, Napoli lost 3-0 – a week after beating Juventus in Turin – and effectively handed the title to the Bianconeri.

Napoli also needed to recover from another 3-0 defeat, after losing by that scoreline to Sampdoria before the international break.

Lorenzo Insigne broke the deadlock 11 minutes from time. Arkadiusz Milik sent a deft chip over the defense and Insigne side-footed it across into the bottom left corner.

Fiorentina won its two previous matches.

It was a first clean sheet in four matches for Napoli, which let in every shot on target in its three previous matches.

Serie A: Napoli hammered by Sampdoria; Sassuolo win, go 2nd

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ROME (AP) Fabio Quagliarella’s airborne back-heel volley against Napoli is already in the running for Serie A goal of the season.

[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo still scoreless, but Juventus still perfect ]

The former Italy striker athletically flicked the ball into the far corner to complete Sampdoria’s 3-0 win over visiting Napoli on Sunday.

In the Genoa club’s first home match since 43 people were killed in the Morandi Bridge collapse in the port city last month, Quagliarella’s goal prompted celebrations inside the Luigi Ferraris stadium.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli, meanwhile, will need to figure out a better approach after falling behind early for the third consecutive match – even though it came back to win its first two.

Gregoire Defrel scored twice for Sampdoria in the first half, with Quagliarella playing a part in both goals.

A minute’s silence was observed before kickoff to honor the victims of the Aug. 14 bridge collapse, which occurred during a fierce storm.

Napoli dropped three points behind perfect Juventus.

Marco Benassi scored his third goal in two matches as Fiorentina beat Udinese 1-0 to remain perfect through two matches – with its postponed opener at Sampdoria to be made up later this month.

Kevin-Prince Boateng scored the opener as Sassuolo topped Genoa 5-3 to go second in the league table.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Lazio 1-0 Frosinone
Torino 1-0 SPAL
Atalanta 0-1 Cagliari
Chievo 0-0 Empoli

Klopp looking forward to PSG, Napoli tests in UCL

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Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool drew close to the toughest batch of opponents possible for this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage, but he’s taking it in stride.

[ MORE: Full UCL draw ]

“‘It is how it is’ is the best way to describe it,” Klopp said. “Don’t think too much about it. If you think about the group, you are already out. If you think it is too difficult, you are already out. We don’t think either. We will play the games, we will be competitive – that’s what we have to make sure – and that is all.”

Liverpool will meet Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade home and away in the group stage, with the top two teams advancing to the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Klopp said he had watched Red Star as recently as Wednesday, and laid out his thoughts on Pot 1 side PSG and star attacker Neymar.

“I am looking forward to watching PSG a bit more often, which is a very interesting project for sure over in France with Thomas Tuchel. Facing Neymar will be, for our Brazilian guys, like meeting a friend again and all that stuff. It’s a big challenge, but for all the others it is a big challenge to face us.”

Red Star took Arsenal to the limit in the Europa League last season, so there’s no walkover on Liverpool’s path toward a second-successive Champions League Final. But Klopp fears no team, and the Reds will be angling for glory.

La Liga & Serie A: Dembele rescues Barca, Napoli tops Milan

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

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele came up clutch in the second half to give Barca a 1-0 win on the road, despite missing several big chances throughout the match. The Blaugrana held the majority share of the opportunities, however, Lionel Messi and Co. could not capitalize against a strong Valladolid defensive effort.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano

Antoine Griezmann came up clutch on Saturday for Atleti, as the France international scored his first goal since the 2018 World Cup. The veteran striker finished just beyond the hour mark when Stefan Savic provided the cross to give Atleti its first victory of the 2018/19 season.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 0-0 Real Betis

Juventus 2-0 Lazio

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t scored for his reigning Serie A champions yet, but it doesn’t seem to matter for the team’s success. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic found the back of the net to keep Juve at the top of Serie A through two rounds of play, after boasting a flurry of quality chances against a strong Lazio.

Napoli 3-2 AC Milan

The visitors looked in control for the first 50 minutes, but a tremendous home comeback from Napoli derailed Milan’s plans on the day. A brace from Piotr Zielinski and late strike from Dries Mertens helped guide Napoli to the comeback, after a poor showing in the opening 45.

Giacomo Bonaventura and Davide Calabria had given Milan the 2-0 lead heading into the 49th minute, before Carlo Ancelotti’s side stormed back and finished the job.