The start of a new Serie A season is always supposed to be a glorious time. But after the bridge tragedy in Genoa last week, football takes a back seat. With both games for Genoa and Sampdoria being postponed, the moment of silence before each match was the necessary reminder. Football will always be a distraction in tough times, but this is a prideful city and we will all be witness next week.
Serie A Week 1 Round-Up: Ronaldo, Napoli, and Inter’s mess
But on the field, the rest of Italy picked up in the Genovan absence. It started on Saturday afternoon, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut against Chievo. Ronaldo and Juventus went behind 2-1 but were able to come back and defeat the Verona side 3-2. While CR7 failed to get on the scoresheet, a well-placed finish by Federico Bernardeschi gave Juve the three points.
Later on Saturday, Napoli took on Lazio in Carlo Ancelotti’s first match in charge of Napoli, and his first Serie A match in ten years. Last season, the second-place finishers went down thanks to a lovely goal from Ciro Immobile. He sat down three Napoli defenders and finished with his left into the side netting.
Napoli came out for the second half and blitzed Lazio, scoring first through Arkadiusz Milik and then Lorenzo Insigne. Insigne picked up right where he left off last season with another beautiful curler. As for Lazio, their next game is at Juventus for CR7’s home debut; no time to relax for them.
Roma ground against Torino until Edin Dzeko pulled a beautiful volley out of his bag of tricks. The goal came from a 30+ yard run from substitute Justin Kluivert, followed by an outstanding cross to Dzeko’s left boot. Elsewhere, Parma and Udinese played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, Empoli took it to Cagliari, winning 2-0 and SPAL managed to eek out an important 1-0 win over Bologna for their future relegation competition.
Star of the Weekend
The star of this Serie A Week One has to be Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino. The39-year-old made eight saves against seven-time defending champions. Those included an outstanding left hand diving to his left on a shot from Ronaldo. He was even forced off in the 90th minute after clattering into Ronaldo, suffering a broken nose and severe whiplash. Hopefully, this Star of the Weekend will help ease the pain.
Surprise of the Weekend
The surprise of the weekend has to be Sassuolo beating Inter Milan 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Domenico Berardi. Icardi and Inter looked flat, out of sorts and failed to generate the type of chance you would expect.
Spalletti played a surprisingly defensive line-up to start but brought on Ivan Perisic at half-time, but that helped nothing. Inter will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong today.
Still to Come
Atalanta will play host to newly-promoted Frosinone on Monday night. It is important for Atalanta to establish strong their replacements for all the losses they had over the summer. Papu Gomez and co. will hope they’ve made the right investments to keep this team at its best.
Saturday will be an absolute beast of a day for Serie A. It starts off with Juventus v Lazio; Cristiano Ronaldo’s home debut against Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should be fantastic.
That game is followed by another heavyweight fight when Napoli play host to AC Milan. Gonzalo Higuain returning to the hostile ground of Naples is always top class entertainment. It will be a very strong test for a Milan team that still doesn’t seem to have much cohesion.