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Serie A roundup: Roma’s Mkhitaryan scores on debut, Milan edges Verona

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Roma’s first win of the season headlines Sunday’s Serie A action.

Roma 4-2 Sassuolo

Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s stint with Roma is off to a brilliant start.

The former Arsenal attacker, scored a blistering goal in his debut with the Italian giants, who won their first game of the season in the 4-2 thumping of Sassuolo.

The Armenian’s goal was only one of the four that Roma put together in the first 45 minutes of the game. With a headed goal off of a corner kick, Bryan Cristante gave the home side an early lead. Seven minutes later, Edin Dzeko tallied his second goal of a young season.

By the 33rd minute, Justin Kluivert’s calm finish inside the box had Roma up by four goals. I Giallorossi kept pushing, dismantling the visiting with their frenetic pace down the wings, but came up short, striking the bar post in three different occasions.

Despite being outclassed in the first half, Sassuolo’s silver lining showed up in the final 45 minutes: Domenico Berardi. A wonder free-kick opened the scoring for the 24-year-old, who eventually sealed his brace in 72nd minute. The captain has scored five goals in two league matches this season.

With confidence under their belt, Roma travel to Bologna next, while Sassuolo host SPAL.

Verona 0-1 AC Milan

Milan aren’t doing it in convincing fashion, but they’re winning.

A game that saw both teams end up with 10 players, also saw Milan walk away with a 1-0 victory in Verona. The win has Marco Giampaolo’s side sixth in the table only three points behind leaders and rivals Inter Milan.
Despite playing a player down early on, Verona had a pair of chances in the first half. A half-effort bicycle was no match for a well-positioned Roma defense and Gianluigi Donnarumma. The clearest chance of them all came right before the first 45 minutes came to a close, however. In motion, with his back turned on the ball, Valerio Verre’s first touch and subsequent strike would just go inches high of the bar.
As the second half went on, Milan proved to be too much for the home side, controlling the ball and taking a plethora of shots on goal. Eventually, it took a tool on I Gialloblu. In the 68th minute, Hakan Çalhanoğlu shot struck Verona’s Koray Gunter hand, resulting in a penalty that Krzysztof Piątek put away.

Now in sixth place, Milan face rivals Inter Milan next. On the hand, Verona travel to Turin to take on a mighty Juventus.

Elsewhere in Serie A

SPAL 2- 1 Lazio

Brescia 3-4 Bologna

Parma 1-3 Cagliari

Prince-Boateng seals surprise loan move to Barcelona

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Kevin Prince-Boateng is moving from Sassuolo to Barcelona on loan with an option to buy for the Catalan giants.

The move is a big surprise, bringing the well-traveled 31-year-old midfielder to his 10th club.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Prince-Boateng has four goals and two assists in 13 Serie A appearances for Sassuolo, and has 15 caps for Ghana (though he has not represented the Black Stars since their scandalous 2014 World Cup).

He’ll have plenty of chances to impress Ernesto Valverde in the next few weeks, with Luis Suarez the only other true center forward on the roster. Valverde has used Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, or Munir El Haddadi in that role when Suarez has been unavailable.

He has spent two stints at AC Milan, as well as time with Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, and Hertha Berlin.

Former Sunderland midfielder Giaccherini scores embarrassing own-goal

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Ah it’s that time again. The time where we can chuckle at one of the more fluky own-goals of the year. Unless you’re a Chievo Verona fan, then you’re not laughing.

Emanuele Giaccherini, a former Premier League player with Sunderland, was on the wrong end of the clincher for Sassuolo in a 2-0 Serie A win over Chievo Verona in the 94th minute. Goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino made a fabulous one-on-one save on Domenico Berardi right on the doorstep, and when the rebound fell to Giaccherini at the far post all by himself, instead of marshalling the ball to safety away from net, he attempted to chest it back to the goalkeeper for collection.

Unfortunately, Sorrentino was sprawled out on the ground, and the chested ball was just out of reach. Disaster.

Whoops.

Fortunately, it’s not like the goal was a backbreaker. Chievo was hoping to equalize, but with just two minutes left in added time and Chievo a man down, it was probably unlikely anyways.

Juventus’ Costa spits in the face of Sassuolo player (video)

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Disrespectful.

Sometimes we use it to praise a player’s torching of an opponent, and Douglas Costa has done that plenty of times (including in Brazil’s recent friendly win over the USMNT).

[ MORE: West Ham beats Everton ]

But the Juventus winger turned the adjective in a ghastly direction on Sunday, spitting directly in the face of Sassuolo’s Federico Di Francesco (the son of Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco).

Our guess? Teammate Giorgio Chiellini is going to have a word with him.

VAR caught the disgusting act, and Costa is going to get a significant punishment for it. Juventus won the match 2-1, keeping Sassuolo at bay on the table behind a pair from Cristiano Ronaldo.

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