2019/20 Serie A: Matchday 1 Review

Serie A football returned after exactly 90 days with a full round of action up and down the peninsula. If the opening round is anything to go by, we are in for a real treat this 2019/20 campaign.

Parma 0-1 Juventus: a routine win for the defending champions…

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Both Juve – through Cristiano Ronaldo – and Parma – with Roberto Inglese – had good chances in the first 15 minutes of the clash. However, it was the away side’s captain, Giorgio Chiellini, that got the only goal. From a corner, Alex Sandro’s miscued shot was guided home by the veteran defender from just eight yards out. In addition, Ronaldo had a goal ruled out for offside, just after the half an hour mark, with the use of the VAR. The Crociati created nothing of note and the match petted out. La Vecchia Signora picked up where they left off last year, while Parma’s new play will take some time to progress.

Fiorentina 3-4 Napoli: Saturday night action could not have gone any better than this encounter…

Before 10 minutes had even elapsed, new Viola signing Erick Pulgar gave the home side the lead with a penalty with the use of the VAR. However, two goals just before the interval from Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne gave the Partenopei the lead going into the break. The Belgian with a superb curling effort and the Italian international with a spot-kick. There was then a 15 minute period of absolute madness, as there were four goals at the Artemio Franchi. Nikola Milenkovic with a header tied the game, Jose Callejon gave the away side the advantage again with a first time finish, Kevin-Prince Boateng emulated Pulgar by marking his debut with a goal (and a sort of gymnastic celebration) and then Insigne with a rear headed goal gave the Campanian side the lead to make it 4-3. Whew… There would be no further strikes, but this is already a candidate for the “Match of the Season.”

Udinese 1-0 Milan: a poor outing from Marco Giampaolo’s side…
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The opening half of this match did not have much excitement, as the best chance fell to Rossoneri captain Alessio Romagnoli, but he missed from six yards out. The only goal came in the 72nd minute, as Rodrigo Becao rose above everyone else from a corner to head home at the near post. Kevin Lasagna also forced Gigio Donnarumma into a fantastic save after that, while the away side had a shout for a penalty that was waved away by the referee.

Cagliari 0-1 Brescia: a victory upon their return to the top flight…
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Both sides had excellent chances to open the scoring in the first half, as Joao Pedro for the Sardinians had a shot that went just past the goal and Alfredo Donnarumma for the Leonessa had his shot saved from just inside the 18-yard box. However, in the 54th minute, the away side was awarded a penalty with the use of VAR after a handball was spotted in the box and Donnarumma made no mistake from the spot. The home team peppered the Lombardian’s goal, but Jesse Joronen was fantastic, making a couple of brilliant saves.

Roma 3-3 Genoa: a highly entertaining encounter at the Stadio Olimpico…

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In just the sixth minute, Cengiz Under was sent through by Edin Dzeko and the Turk did the rest, skipping through a couple of defenders to power a left-footed effort into the goal. However, the Grifone were back level 10 minutes later as Andrea Pinamonti fired home from inside the box. Then Bosnian bomber Dzeko, who recently extended his contract with the Giallorossi, scored a fantastic solo effort as he used his brute strength to go past the defenders to score while falling on the turf. Yet again, the away side was level and it was through captain Domenico Criscito from a penalty and the teams headed to the break on level terms. Just after the break, the Lupi took the lead for a third time as Aleksandar Kolarov scored a fabulous free-kick from 30 yards out. For the third time, the Ligurians leveled with a diving header from Christian Kouame to take a share of the spoils in the Eternal City.

Sampdoria 0-3 Lazio: a fantastic opening day away win for the Biancocelesti…
Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa, Source- Official S.S.Lazio

Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa, Source- Official S.S.Lazio

The away side dominated the match and took a deserved lead when a quickly taken free-kick was finished off with a lovely chip by Ciro Immobile for his 100th strike in Serie A. The home team’s best chance was a left-footed effort by Rolando Viera, that was expertly saved by Thomas Strakosha. The capital team doubled their lead in the second half as Luis Alberto stole the ball, powered forward and passed off to Joaquin Correa who finished off against his former club. Lazio added one more to complete the rout as Immobile completed his brace at the hour mark.

Spal 2-3 Atalanta: a comeback win for La Dea in Ferrara…

The home side raced into a 2-0 lead as Federico Di Francesco with a finish past the goalkeeper on a one on one situation followed by Andrea Petagna (who continued his record against his former side from Bergamo), with a first-time finish after being set up by Igor at the half-hour mark. The away team then pulled one back after Robin Gosens had a bullet header from a Hans Hateboer cross. Following this, it was then the Luis Muriel show, as the Colombian proved his transfer was money well spent. Firstly, with a long-range daisy-cutter he tied the game up and five minutes later after the ball fell at his feet from a cross, the 28-year old guided the ball past a hapless Etrit Berisha in the Spal goal.

Torino 2-1 Sassuolo: a winning start for Walter Mazzarri’s side…

At the 15th minute mark, Simone Zaza rose high to head home the ball from a Cristian Ansaldi cross. Then Torino’s keeper Salvatore Sirigu pulled off some brilliant saves to keep the lead for the Piedmont club. Andrea Belotti had a shot deflected off Zaza into the goal that doubled the Granata’s lead. New Neroverdi signing Francesco Caputo gave the away side some hope by guiding home the ball into the net after one of his teammates had hit the post. There would be no comeback though, as Torino started their season on a high note.

Verona 1-1 Bologna: a share of the spoils in Veneto…

This match was about the return of the Rossoblu’s manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer in recent weeks. It was the Serbian’s team that took the lead through Nicola Sansone with a spot-kick, after Riccardo Orsolini was fouled in the box by Pawel Dawidowicz (who was consequently shown a red card). However, the home side tied the game up through a sumptuous free-kick from skipper Miguel Veloso. Following this, the Emilia-Romagna side was much more proactive in searching for an equalizer, but none was forthcoming.

Inter 4-0 Lecce: a dominant win for the Nerazzurri at home…

It was Marcelo Brozovic that gave Inter the lead with a brilliant curling effort from just outside the box into the top right-hand corner. Then, just three minutes later, it was 2-0 as Stefano Sensi opened his account for his new club. He picked up the ball from outside the box and ghosted past a couple of Lecce defenders to hit a low drive into the far corner of the net. It was another new boy who added the third, as Romelu Lukaku scored after the away side’s goalkeeper parried a shot into his path. Then arguably, the best was saved for last, as Antonio Candreva rolled back the years with a 35-yard screamer to wrap up the points for the Biscione.

So there we have it. The first round of the new Serie A season is in the books and all I can say is, “Welcome back calcio!”

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